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12 September 2019

Mystery Android TV win for Technicolor-3SS – probably Nordics

Technicolor and 3SS have taken to Android TV like ducks to water, forming a formidable partnership since the two vendors first teamed up a year ago, from which the most recent success is a mysterious deployment at an operator in Northern Europe.

German multiscreen software specialist 3SS is supplying its 3Ready Control Center as well as a fully branded customer launcher to the unnamed entity, developing a new UI to serve some 100 TV channels via terrestrial, cable, IPTV and OTT. This is done via a single unified back-end, running on a Technicolor Pearl set top and middleware – in a hybrid deployment which looks most similar to the work Technicolor and 3SS have done at Telenor-owned Canal Digital in Norway.

Although vague, we presume the clandestine customer is based somewhere in the Nordics. In Sweden, Com Hem was one of the early embracers of the operator tier version of Android TV, launching the TV Hub in April 2018. Com Hem says it developed the TV Hub hardware UI and software itself, with help from 3SS and Technicolor, powered by a Broadcom BCM7271 SoC with a Broadcom VideoCore V HW GPU and quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU.

Elsewhere in Sweden, satellite TV operator Viasat jumped into OTT video back in 2012 and looks less likely to launch an Android TV operator tier offering compared to some Scandinavian counterparts like telco Telia, which has 2.4 million pay TV subscribers across its six-country footprint and has been busy establishing its broadcast assets into OTT jewels recently.

While in Norway, Telenor’s Canal Digital recently rolled out an Android TV upgrade via the adoption of Scale Agile Framework (SAFe) software from 3SS, a long-term supplier to Canal Digital. SAFe is described as a practical experience-based software development framework designed to accelerate and optimize system deployments. Norwegian cable operator Get doesn’t have an Android TV offering as far as we can see.

In neighboring Denmark, TDC has made a big push into OTT video, now putting out all YouSee content OTT, while its cable subsidiary would do well to complement the SVoD offerings on show with an Android TV upgrade to stem the continued flow of cord cutters from its base of about 1.2 million TV subs.

There is another prime suspect in Finland with DNA Oy, which launched its Android-based DNA TV-hubi device in August 2017, combining terrestrial, cable and IPTV with streaming apps. The Finnish cable operator is therefore probably due an upgrade which 3SS and Technicolor may well have spearheaded.

Countries like Estonia could also be taken into the fold of Northern Europe, where we know Telia added an Android TV operator tier installation in 2018.

Interestingly, Com Hem has used quality assurance firm Eurofins Digital Testing to test and validate the TV Hub, with its cloud-based TestWizard system automating testing and providing performance monitoring across the two services Com Hem Play and Boxer. We say this because the 3Ready Control Center UX management tool from 3SS allows operator to easily A/B test, meaning customers can tweak products based on subscriber feedback, suggesting some potential overlap here with Eurofins.

Conclusively though, we suspect the real identity of the customer to be a smaller tier 2 operator, but the point of outlining all of the above is to highlight the remaining tier 1 Android TV opportunities scattered throughout the Nordics. Significantly, as our coverage underscored last week, Android TV is beginning to stake a claim in the US.