OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Smart home standard consortium the Z-Wave Alliance has announced Chinese equipment vendor Huawei as its latest member company. As a principal member, the Alliance says Huawei will take on a greater role in leading it and help guide future initiatives, as well as promoting partnerships among member bodies. Huawei joins principal members ADT,, Fibaro, Ingersoll-Rand, Jasco Products, Leedarson, LG Uplus, Nortek Security & Control, SmartThings, and Sigma Designs.

21st Century Fox this week expressed disappointment at the UK government’s decision to refer its bid for Sky, to the Competition and Markets Authority. Regulator Ofcom has consistently said that there is no basis for the referral, and the responsible Minister ignored its advice. UK MPs are obsessed with the power Rupert Murdoch’s empire has over public opinion in the UK, and its role in the phone hacking scandal. But it has to be remembered that the same government ignored its own Leveson Report, which suggested remedies for the phone hacking. The CMA is unlikely to reach any other conclusion than the one Ofcom reached.

French communications company Sagemcom has revealed it is behind the new Android TV service DNA TV-hubi from Finnish operator DNA Oy, which launched last month. It comprises of a 4K UHD set top running a Broadcom BCM7252S SoC chip, with access to thousands of apps, as well as all terrestrial channels and DNA’s own cable channels – which it says can be accessed outside of the DNA footprint as pay TV channels are received via a broadband connection. It also includes a cardless DRM system.

Sagemcom also announced that it has sold a similar device to Telecable in Spain, part of Euskaltel, a new Android TV 4K tedi set-top box, allows seamless browsing of TV programs, network PVR, 7-day catch-up TV, time-shifting, advanced search, access to a VoD catalogue, Google Play and YouTube. It also offers support for Google Cast.

VR streaming company Tiledmedia and FPGA-based video codec developer NGCodec have integrated their technologies to provide a cloud-based encoding service for 360-degree and VR content. Tiledmedia uses a tile-based direction VR streaming method, which has been made faster, more affordable and provides higher quality content by using NGCodec’s hardware-accelerated HEVC encoder on an Amazon EC2 F1 instance.

Swedish app developer Accedo has launched its Operator Tier Android TV Launcher as a platform within the Accedo Studio Pay TV edition product. This gives operators the option to extend their set top services to Android TV, while remaining in control of assets, including the ability to prioritize their own content over third-party titles. Accedo says it can easily handle integration with an operator’s CMS, video infrastructure and other back office components.

CDN company Limelight Networks has taken a leaf out of the Akamai book by publishing its own State of Online Video report –  showing a 34% rise in global online viewing in the past year. Limelight reports that viewers in India spend the most time watching online videos at just over 7 hours a week, followed by Singapore at 6 hours and 37 minutes a week, and the US at 6 hours and 35 minutes a week. Europe watches the least online content, with Germany at the bottom of the pile at 4 hours and 14 minutes week.

Analytics firm Conviva has released its Video AI Alerts platform, which automatically detects and diagnoses service delivery issues for publishers. Alerts is powered by Conviva’s Video AI platform and Video Graph, claiming to be generated through the analysis of billions of video streams by over 2.5 billion unique sensors embedded within video players across its publisher network.

French TV set sales declined by 46% annually in the first half of this year, down from 3.9 million units to 2 million, according to GfK research. It forecasts a better second half performance with 2.9 million TV sales, which would represent a total year on year decline of 150,000 units.

Nagra has rolled out a Signature Edition of its Open TV software, calling it a new cloud-based and multi-tenant system for pay TV operators. It covers all OpenTV features including the OS, platform, player, but includes a new Ion UI. It comes with a 4K set top from SmarDTV and an “editorialized selection” of third-party content services.

Billing services company Paywizard has teamed up with UK VoD software specialist Ostmodern to launch a new pay-per-view (PPV) system called Venue – designed to help rights holders, sports clubs and broadcasters enter the PPV market. It combines Paywizard’s Decision Moments framework with Ostmodern’s CMS. In a separate deal, Paywizard announced a partnership with another UK software group Massive Interactive, to provide operators with data and predictive analytics for targeting subscribers and tailoring UIs.

Clown thriller movie IT has broken box office records with an estimated $189.4 million in takings worldwide on its opening weekend. The New Line Cinema movie, part of Warner Brothers, has become the highest horror preview, the largest R-rated preview, and the top September preview ever.

Cloud infrastructure provider Kontron has launched two new commercial hardware platforms called Skymkloud, which it says completes its portfolio of converged video platforms for small, medium and large video delivery infrastructure. This allows its partner companies to match the integration of OTT software delivery systems for their service provider customers.

Sky News has extended its deal with satellite services provider SES to distribute content using capacity on Astra 1N and related uplink services at 19.2 degrees East.

beIN Sports France has selected French content editing company Wildmoka to launch a new near-live mobile video experience for soccer fans – powered by Wildmoka’s automation technology. beIN’s editorial team can directly clip and publish key moments from live soccer matches within seconds to subscribers, with personalized updates and summaries.

Comcast and Google have launched YouTube on the Xfinity X1 nationwide. YouTube content can also be accessed using the X1 voice remote and YouTube content will be featured throughout Xfinity On Demand.

US telco CenturyLink has delayed its pending acquisition of ISP Level 3 Communications until the end of October, saying that regulators need more time to complete their reviews. The deal requires approval from the FCC, DoJ and State of California.

Nokia has launched the Virtualized User Experience Platform (UXP) as part of its Velocix portolio, available as a SaaS offering or privately hosted platform for creating entertainment experiences on any device. UXP is based on HTML5 and CSS templates, allowing operators to create and deliver live, on-demand and time-shifted content services in the cloud.

Arris is showcasing its new range of UHD HDR set tops at the IBC trade show this week, based on Android TV Operator Tier with WiFi connectivity and DVR options, plus DVB support, conditional access and DRM security.

UK OTT and broadcast software firm Inview Technology has been chosen by set top makers Tana and Hi-Tech, and endorsed by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) to be the sole middleware provider for the country’s DTT switchover. The EBA plans to manufacture and distribute 5 million set tops across Ethiopia, with Inview’s technology integrated into all DVB-T2 devices, including a new UI and EPG, with push VoD and advertising.

WiFi chip vendor Quantenna Communications has unveiled its Zero Memory family of client products for OTT set top applications, providing three new chipsets for service providers. Building on its 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, its new suite consists of the QV920CX-K 2×4 5GHz only solution, the QV922CX-K 2×4 2.4GHz or 5GHz switchable solution, and the QV952CX-K 2×2 2.4GHz or 5GHz switchable solution.

The European Parliament has approved the €120 million WiFi4EU project, hoping to offer free WiFi at around 6,000 locations across the EU. It was a project that we lambasted as unlikely to affect anything. We’ll see.

Dish Media Sales has launched its first cross-platform addressable ad campaign, which it says enabled Volvo Cars to target TV viewers across Dish Network and Sling TV platforms with a single buy. It uses anonymized data to deliver ads accurately across any device.

Samsung Electronics America and Charter Communications are collaborating on 5G and 4G LTE wireless networks in lab and field trails, which began this summer and will run to the end of this year. The 5G trial is evaluating fixed use cases using Samsung’s pre-commercial 28 GHz (mmWave) system and devices. The 4G trials are performed at 3.5 GHz (CBRS), using Samsung’s combined 4G LTE small cell technology in an outdoor environment to evaluate mobile use cases.

Video distribution platform provider Piksel plans to integrate technologies from networking services firm DLVR into its digital media offerings. DLVR provides internet video publishers with a new way to take advantage of multiple CDNs, routing traffic to the best network based on its real-time, individual stream optimization rules.

TiVo has just released findings from its 2017 survey of pay TV and OTT service subscribers in the US, Europe and Latin America. The study reveals we watch an astonishing 4.4 hours of video content each day globally. It finds that customer who have had pay TV services less than 12 months are far more likely to cut the cord in the next six months, 55% of subscribers in the US and 42% in Western Europe have had service with their current provider for four years or more. In Europe 43% of those who had had pay TV for 4 years also subscribe to an OTT service. This compares to 49% in the U.S. and 67 percent in Latin America. Some 38% shut down their service if they cannot find anything to watch, a discovery that plays to TiVo’s personalization software. When asked about voice control software 60% of respondents who own a voice remote use it every day