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22 September 2022

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Comcast was on the back foot against AT&T, rolling out its Xfinity Instant TV app out in beta mode across a few trial areas to combat the rise of DirecTV Now. Going down the millennials-only route pursued by Verizon’s Go90 would have been a mistake, so Xfinity TV offered three additional packages on top, resembling something more akin to Dish Network’s Sling TV or Sky’s Now TV. The basic package cost $18 a month, or a total of $53 when factoring in the minimum Xfinity broadband subscription fee.



MediaKind has backed up its hefty VVC (Versatile Video Codec) R&D investment commitments with a blogpost stating that its current VVC real-time software encoding implementation can achieve 15% average bitrate savings (up to 30%) for the same video quality, compared to its live UHD OTT HEVC encoder running in Azure. The compute cost overheads for the VVC encoding versus HEVC is about 36%, according to MediaKind.

Codec specialist MainConcept was another demonstrating VVC in action with 8K-optimized cloud encoding at IBC 2022, with its new SDK to become part of the Beta program.

Orange is still struggling to sell its movie channels unit, OCS, after two unfruitful years in the shop window. Despite its 3 million subscribers, accumulative losses for OCS are reportedly as high as €500 million ($493.6 million).


The latest ridiculous rumor out of Hollywood is that Comcast is plotting an acquisition move for Warner Bros Discovery, to help bail out the merged business’ $53 billion debt mountain. The Hollywood Reporter suggests a marriage between WBD and NBCUniversal would be a dream come true for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. We think not.

Broadcast trade group IABM has released an AI/ML adoption trends report, finding that adoption of technologies based on artificial intelligence and machine learning reached 32% in 2022. The majority of AI/ML use cases in CMS relate to automation of routine tasks such as metadata tagging, image recognition, audio/video recognition, and speech-to-text. Another finding is that talent scarcity is one of the main challenges, as the majority of media businesses prefer internal deployment of AI/ML technology, which requires recruiting talent with specific skills.

Following the collapse of the French media mega-merger between TF1 and M6, the latter has been put up for sale by owner Bertelsmann.

Video streaming and in-flight entertainment vendor IdeaNova has launched a new feature to increase the speed and efficiency of content upload for aircraft. Called Content Loader, the tool can transfer only a given portion of a content library, then retransmit the remaining portion whenever connectivity to the aircraft server becomes available. IdeaNova says the product is also intelligent enough to prioritize content based on assigned value.


Cinedigm, which touts itself as one of the world’s largest content powerhouses, has launched its streaming service, Cineverse. The strategy is to tap into diversity, by convincing viewers that the big SVoDs have been depriving them of thousands of content options from around the world. Cineverse also comes with FAST channels, powered by ad platform provider Amagi. Bigger is not always better in this game, however.

Comcast claims that slashing power consumed per terabyte in its network will double network efficiency by 2030. The US operator’s virtualized platform infrastructure will achieve these efficiency gains by increasing availability of centralized locations for headends and launching more efficient data centers – i.e. less hardware.

CommScope has launched HomeVista as an umbrella platform for both the vendor’s Android TV and RDK technologies. It appears to be designed to speed up deployments and cut through confusion, focusing on delivering service providers customizable TV experiences.

Conviva has integrated its QoE analytics data into the unified cross-platform ratings system from TV measurement outfit, to bring visibility into streaming app programming on top of broadcast and cable viewing.

Liberty Global has ticked off trials with UK-based broadband technology provider Technetix, using its Direction Neutral Network (DNN) access amplifier to upgrade DOCSIS 3.1 high-split services, with a runway to remote activation of DOCSIS 4.0 ultra-high-split services in the future.

OTT channel TravelXp has tapped video analytics vendor MediaMelon’s SmartSight platform, bringing real-time visibility into last-mile viewer session information – drilling down into details of specific streams, devices, and delivery issues.

US satellite ISP Hughes Network Systems, a subsidiary of EchoStar, is rolling out a low-latency broadband tier that blends GEO satellite delivery with terrestrial cellular network connectivity. Hughes’ vision is that hybrid networks, both multi-transport and multi-orbit, will become commonplace.

LG Ads is going global with its automatic content recognition (ACR) data, launching on smart TVs across 27 countries to provide advertisers with data on which households are viewing which ads.

Media experience cloud provider Cloudinary has combined its video management cloud with Mobius Labs to deliver AI-powered metadata services for improved search and discovery capabilities. Content owners will benefit from intelligent archive search using natural language, customizable tags, and even facial recognition based on expressions.


Google’s Project Loon’s technologies have been resurrected, inside a start-up called Aalyria Technologies, which has reportedly won a contract with the US Defense Innovation unit worth $8.7 million. Google holds a stake in the startup, according to CNBC, which is now licensing the Tightbeam optical laser communication technology, and a network orchestration platform for blending satellites and terrestrial networks – and just maybe balloons.

As Sky Italia begins selling the Sky Glass TV units in Italy, Russia’s MTS has pulled the same move, launching a 65-inch smart TV under its Kion brand. As a sign of the relative immaturity of the Russian market, there two budget versions, at 24-inch and 32-inch, which have a 1366×768 resolution. All are based on Android 11, running on ARM SoCs, priced between $140 and $733.

Meta is apparently redirecting Facebook’s New Product Experimentation division, ordering it to focus exclusively on short-form video innovation. This was the team founded in 2019, to develop an array of features, from games to business tools. In related news, an employee at a Northeastern University VR lab has been injured in a letter bomb, which contained a note attacking CEO Mark Zuckerberg.