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29 August 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

After going straight for the jugular of Google and Facebook through its aggressive privacy-focused marketing campaigns this year, Apple has ironically been forced to apologize to Siri users after the company was found grading – the practice of employing staff to listen in on voice recordings. Grading aims to improve speech recognition, but public outcry forced Apple, Google and Microsoft to fire staff, although Apple said it will continue to use grading for Siri users who opt in.

Top Hollywood studios have joined hands with the UHD Alliance to release a new viewing format called Filmmaker Mode, hoping to give consumers a glimpse into the vision of filmmakers and provide more cinematic experiences on UHD TVs. Filmmaker Mode will disable all post-processing functions like motion smoothing, meaning the title will be shown as the filmmaker intended without any hardware intervention – preserving colors, frame rates and aspect ratios.

Three quarters of US households now subscribe to at least one SVoD household, rising from 64% two years ago, according to a survey of 1,116 US households conducted by Leichtman Research Group. Interestingly, 27% admitted to sharing their Netflix subscription with someone outside their household.

 

US-Israeli computer networking supplier Mellanox Technologies has licensed Verimatrix Silicon IP security technology for its high-end enterprise SoC offerings, extending the existing customer relationship. Using Verimatrix’s (formerly Inside Secure) Silicon IP and Bluefield multicore technology across its chipset and network processors, Mellanox can increase economies of scale and accelerate cryptographic operation while meeting performance and power requirements.

French broadcast vendor Dalet will demonstrate its new media management product line at IBC 2019, including assets from the recently acquired Ooyala Flex Media Platform business. New features include the ability to publish to multiple online video platforms like Kaltura, JWPlayer and Brightcove. Dalet will also be running something called AI-augmented workflows to show the first synergies between Ooyala Flex and the wider Dalet product portfolio.

More activity from France in the run up to Amsterdam as Viaccess-Orca added Dutch video service implementer Divitel to its new system integration partnership program. VO’s program of systems integrators aims to bring strong OTT video technologies to operators and to increase its competitive advantage in project lifecycle management.

Video streaming vendor VisualOn has unveiled its MultiStream Sync feature claiming to outperform alternative techniques under unpredictable network and bandwidth conditions. VisualOn says its patent-pending MultiStream Sync harmonizes the internal clocks on set tops and mobiles to display multiple HD streams on a single screen. The VisualOn Media Platform boasts delivery of low latency video through buffering techniques and proprietary bitrate adaptation algorithms that can reduce latency down to 3.5 seconds in real-world conditions.

OTT video platforms are the preferred source of movies and TV shows for 55% of Indian viewers, while the dominant DTH now lags behind with 41%, according to a survey from the MoMagic survey of 7,500 consumers. In addition, 85% of those surveyed have viewed content at least once on Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Voot, SonyLIV or Zee5 in the past six months.

Pay TV operator SFR, owned by Altice, has become the first in France to integrate Amazon Prime Video into its set top, making the OTT platform available to customers of LaBox SFR Fibre, SFR Box Plus and SFR Box 8 set top packages. The latter device includes full Alexa integration.

Comcast has rolled out a new TV remote app for X1 business customers, allowing staff to control up to 16 TVs simultaneously including voice functionality.

OTT software supplier Vewd is pre-integrating its smart TV modules with Android TV chipsets from fabless semiconductor maker Realtek. The move includes the Vewd Core HTML5 SDK for connected TVs and Core modules, including the hybrid TV module, standalone media player and Freeview Play support module. Vewd notes that 80% of smart TV sets based on Android TV run its software.

Esports tournament platform Ready has raised $5 million in funding led by Bitkraft Esports Ventures.

Liberty Global has batted away assumptions it will alter the agreement to sell its Swiss UPC division to local telco Sunrise, after the latter’s largest shareholder Freenet opposed terms of the deal.

Sinclair Broadcast has completed the purchase of 21 regional sports networks from Disney’s Fox for $9.6 billion.

Audience monitoring firm Qligent has updated its Vision Analytics product to include an open platform based on data mining, machine learning and predictive data analytics – geared towards addressing user engagement, silent sufferers and audience churn.

UK-based broadcast electronics specialist InSync Technology is introducing its FrameFormer software standards conversion system at IBC, enabling live real-time conversion of SD, HD and 3D content using CPU-only processing with cross platform support. It says FrameFormer Live can run in any standard IT environment, on premises or in the cloud, and can be accessed as a standalone application or an integrated service.

Media monitoring firm Actus Digital has added AI capabilities to accelerate workflows by automating the processes of tagging, organizing and categorizing video recordings. This then allows companies to quickly retrieve relevant content to create clips.