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27 October 2022

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Faultline was attending Broadband World Forum in Berlin (now going as Network X), where mesh WiFi was flavor of the month. New chipsets from the two Qs – Qualcomm and Quantenna – were vying for a slice of the mesh market, some five years after Airties and Celeno burst onto the scene to help steer video streams around the home. Qualcomm was taking a multi-vendor approach to accelerate mesh deployments, in the wake of the knowledge that Plume had just cornered a portion of the Comcast contract, a long-term Qualcomm customer. Quantenna, acquired by ON Semiconductor in early 2019, was showing operators they could eliminate the need for wired backhaul with its QSR10R-AX for mesh repeaters.

Comcast shed 561,000 video subscribers in Q3 2022, bringing its total video base down to 16.6 million. That brings Comcast’s year to date video subscriber losses to almost 2 million. The OTT video service Peacock passed 15 million subscribers, although this 70% year to date increase in eyeballs could not prevent EBITDA losses related to Peacock mounting to $614 million.

Another week, another report weighing in on Netflix’s entrance into ad-supported streaming. Somewhat stating the obvious, consumer research outfit Attest finds that 20% of current Netflix subscribers in the US want the Basic with Ads tier for free, while 17.3% don’t plan to switch. Only 11.2% are willing to pay a monthly fee of $7 to $8, while 15.5% would pay $5 to $6 a month. Bizarrely, or stupidly, the survey does not provide the option of $6 to $7 – an afterthought given Netflix’s Basic with Ads tier is priced at $6.99 a month.

YouTube experienced its first ever quarterly revenue decline, down 1.9% to $7.07 billion for Q3 2022. This compares to a 43% increase in the same quarter last year.

The deployment of traffic management technology for dynamic optimization of video streaming could save the average MNO around $10 million a year, reducing energy consumption by over 10%, according to telecom software firm Enea. Of course, it comes as Enea has just unveiled a new traffic management system that optimizes video data transfer without impacting QoE.

TV manufacturer Vizio has added the My Watchlist feature to its SmartCast line of TVs, developed to aggregate content from multiple streaming services into a single portal, in a personalized manner.

ZTE has unveiled a new Android TV streaming stick. It comes with 4K compatibility, powered by the latest Amlogic SoC, with AV1 and VP9 decoding support.

Disney-owned ESPN has sold its extreme sports franchise, X Games, to private equity firm MSP Sports Capital for an undisclosed sum.

Spotify is on the cusp of 200 million subscribers, passing 195 million streamers after adding 7 million over the last quarter.

Akamai’s new DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection platform, Prolexic, has undergone a “significant evolution” with rollout of new scrubbing centers designed to extend defense capacity to 20 Tbps. These fully software-defined centers analyze incoming traffic and remove malicious threats to prevent downtime.

Apple has hiked the subscription price for its OTT video platform Apple TV+ by $2 a month, bringing the one and only family tier to $6.99 a month – the same as Netflix’s new ad-supported option.

FIFA has selected Globant to provide IT services to support the new Fifa+ D2C offering. The Brazilian integrator is also sponsoring the upcoming soccer world cup, and follows a recent deal with Spain’s La Liga that sees the pair work on new technologies for the sports industry. Disney, EA, and Google are namechecked Globant customers.

Comcast has shuttered its G4 gaming and esports network, for the second and presumably final time in its existence. The initial run spanned from 2002 to 2013, but was renewed in 2020. Against the backdrop of NBCU turning off a number of linear channels, G4’s fate seemed inevitable.

MaxLinear has announced its seventh generation of WiFi SoCs for CPE devices. The WiFi 7 capabilities are claimed to have 70% more throughput than WiFi 6. The IEEE 802.11be spec on this platform has a claimed 11.5 Gbps top speed.

Netflix has publicly confirmed its much-expected cloud gaming ambitions. Details are scant, but TV remotes will not be the main controllers, so it sounds like a new design is inbound.

Verizon has confirmed that Walmart will be the exclusive home of its Straight Talk Home Internet offering. This builds on the foundation it acquired last year, in the $6 billion Tracfone Wireless deal. Straight Talk was a sub-brand of Tracfone, and had around 9.5 million of the total 20 million subscribers.

UFC might be a savior for Meta’s Horizon Worlds metaverse-y platform. The pair have announced that a 180-degree VR feed for upcoming events will be available through the UFC Fight Pass D2C app. YBVR appears to be the technology vendor behind the project, which has previously worked with Euroleague for basketball coverage. Meta has been widely panned for creating a virtual world that is emphatically empty.

Tejas Networks has announced that its Saankhya Labs subsidiary has secured a contract for its SL3000 ATSC 3.0 demodulator chipset. ADTH will be using the design to provide ODMs and OEMs with USB dongles, HDMI dongles, and a WiFi streamer box that houses an app from that promises whole-home coverage.

SpaceX has launched its Starlink Aviation package, targeting the in-flight WiFi market. Initial setup costs are $150,000, with a monthly fee of up to $25,000 for 350 Mbps. In-flight WiFi is attracting regulatory scrutiny, via Eutelsat and Viasat acquisitions of OneWeb and Inmarsat, respectively.