OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

A data-driven video advertising unit will launch later this year within NCC Media, the cable media group owned by Comcast, Charter and Cox Communications. Comcast’s Media 360 advertising arm will combine resources with the partner firms to design, deploy and sell unified ad solutions across NCC’s footprint in the US, delivering targeted audiences across linear and VoD platforms – using “non-personally identifiable data and targeting capabilities.”

Satellite transmission technology provider NovelSat has extended its partnership with French encoding firm Ateme, integrating its PCIe-based NS10C Satellite Modulator cards and NS20C Satellite Demodulator cards into Ateme’s Titan software converged headend. The tie up is targeting broadcasters launching HD and UHD transmission, with the joint system including high efficiency satellite signal modulation within single unit video encoding, decoding, compression and acceleration. The new NovelSat cards support all satellite transmission standards, including DVB-S/S2/S2X, DVB-CID and NovelSat NS4, as well as the NovelSat DRM license.

Iliad’s French telco subsidiary Free has agreed a distribution deal with broadcaster M6 Group to add M6 channels and services to Free’s IPTV platform, via the Freebox ADSL set top and gateway. The move is controversial due to Free’s abrupt change of heart on broadcasters demanding higher carriage fees. M6 Group also has deals with Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and Canal+.

Vietnamese broadcaster VTC Digital Television is using the Studio Professional UX platform from the Accedo One product to power its new OTT video service VTC Now. Accedo, a Swedish app store supplier, launched its cloud-based One offering for building video experiences at IBC 2017, hosted on AWS. Guiding VTC Now to Android, iOS, WebOS, Android TV and Tizen devices also saw involvement from Ateme, Anevia, Brightcove, Akamai and Viettel. Accedo has also announced it will be debuting its Augmented Reality prototype for live, broadcast sports events at NAB.

Open standards body The HbbTV Association has announced the HbbTV Testing Group has released a new version of the HbbTV conformance test suite. V.2018-1 includes 151 new tests and 138 repaired and re-approved tests. The group will now release three versions each year.

US video transmission and networking technology provider Streambox will present its new ACT-L5 adaptive bitrate codec at NAB. The compression technology supports 4K, HD and 2K. Streambox says the ACT-L5 is ideal for live events, digital signage, broadcast and sports video contributions, supporting HDR and higher frame rate, encoding resolutions at between 2Mbps to 120Mbps in real time.

Israeli holding company IDB is on the cusp of buying communications satellite operator Spacecom, submitting a $45.7 million bid. IDB has also pledged an $11.5 million cash injection to help pay off the $420 million owed to creditors. The country’s District Court must first approve the deal.

Sky has added Spanish pay TV channel AXN, owned by Sony Pictures Television, to its OTT service in Spain. Sky will show two live channels, AXN and AXN White, plus VoD content.

Twitter has renewed its deal with Major League Baseball, offering live streaming of out-of-market games as of next week. Financial terms are undisclosed.

CDN behemoth Akamai sent out a press release saying it will demonstrate its commitment to helping media businesses deliver and monetize high-quality and secure streaming experiences at NAB. The company will demo the latest developments to its Media Services Live featuring liveOrigin functionality, a simulation of its real-time monitoring and issue detection service, plus security designed to help ensure service and content availability.

Video testing and diagnostics firm Tektronix has added support for 4K UHD, HDR and Wide Color Gamut across its WFM/WVR 8000 Series and PRISM IP/SDI waveform monitoring and analysis platforms. Tektronix says camera setup, for example, is more crucial than in the past given the risk of creating issues, such as noise in dark areas, which cannot be fixed in post-production. New techniques are also required to monitor the various camera log formats and conversion to PQ (perceptual quantizer) or HLG (hybrid-log gamma).

Google’s chief of artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, has been pinched by Apple to get Siri back on track as a serious voice-powered AI assistant. Scotsman Giannandrea was involved in rebuilding search, translation and voice recognition technologies in Google’s central AI research team Google Brain.

Open caching technology expert Qwilt has launched its enhanced Open Edge Service Provider CDN application, housed within its line of Open Edge Cloud products. The cloud-based Open Edge CDN comes with an augmented suite of APIs, built on the Apache Traffic Control open source project. Qwilt claims the two key benefits are web-scale architecture plus low latency, high quality content delivery from the network edge.

Japanese TV brand Sanyo, part of consumer electronics company Funai, has joined the Roku TV licensing program, with the Roku OS initially shipping on Funai smart TVs in Canada this quarter.

Amazon Web Services claims active users of AWS machine learning services has grown more than 250% in the last year, spurred by the adoption of its fully managed service SageMaker, which removes the heavy lifting, complexity and guesswork from each step of the machine learning process.

Starz Entertainment has signed a long-term intellectual property license deal with TiVo, accessing patent portfolios and OTT assets via TiVo’s partnership with patent powerhouse Intellectual Ventures.

Portal and app technology company Synacor has added a new Forever Login feature to its Cloud ID authentication platform, allowing operators to balance easy subscriber access to TV Everywhere content, with control over the maximum number of concurrent devices allowed, and the length of time before viewers need to log in again. The idea here is to curb the pay TV password sharing challenges, which Parks Associates projects to be a $10 billion problem.

UK quality assurance tester Eurofins Digital Testing has acquired Edge Testing Solutions, extending its software testing capabilities including managed, functional, performance and automated testing.

TV app developer 24i Media is powering Sinclair Broadcast Group’s new Tennis Channel app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku devices. 24i Media supplied Sinclair with its SmartTemplate and proprietary App Core technology platform, for customization and repurposing of the UI.

Kudelski Group’s Nagra unit will be showcasing its anti-piracy services and NexGuard watermarking products at NAB, alongside the debut demo of media asset management from DVNor, the Oslo-based company acquired by Kudelski Group last year and integrated with conditional access company Conax.