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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Broadcom results were out this week and by the look of the company’s website, at first glance Broadcom seems to be out of set top and broadband markets. Its new segments under Avago are Wired Infrastructure which now makes up 50% of revenue, Wireless Communications (29% and shrinking), Enterprise Storage, and Industrial & Other. Wonder which segment has the once dominant market share for set tops and broadband? Wired Infrastructure includes set tops, broadband access, Ethernet, and embedded controllers but the press release mentions neither market. Revenue was just about the same as last quarter on $4.15 billion, but 133% up on this time last year before the merger.

Connected TV ad company BrightLine has selected Nielsen’s Data Management Platform (DMP) to assist marketers in delivering personalized TV ads on OTT streaming devices from Roku, Samsung, Apple, and Amazon, plus Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation games consoles. It has also taken Nielsen’s Marketing Cloud for what it calls “dynamically hypertargeting viewers.” The data-as-a-service cloud application has over 60,000 audience segments, allowing advertisers to custom build campaigns based on specific consumer interests and behaviors.

Brooklyn-based consumer electronics company Wavery Labs has launched the prototype Pilot Translation Earpiece. Pilot can translate 15 languages when linked to the free Waverly iOS and Android app, using machine translation software to convert voice to text, or voice to a computerized voice. The system isn’t quite in real-time, as a CNet test revealed that “there was a few-second lag between speaking and me getting the text and audio, but it was quick enough that it didn’t feel awkward.” Pilot is currently available for pre-order at $249, available in red, black or white.

Vodafone Spain is following in the footsteps of its Portuguese equivalent by adding VoD content from Fox Networks’ Fox Play to Vodafone TV, bulking up an offering already including Netflix and HBO España.

US media giant Meredith Corporation has issued a directive to its digital content teams at local TV stations to stream news content on Facebook Live. Meredith has selected Telestream’s Wirecast Gear streaming product to support the effort, including a UI, multi-camera switching, logo graphics, and other production tools. Meredith says its 15 US stations reach 11% of US households – some 12 million people.

Television fan website TV Insider, part of US publisher NTVB Media, has selected a streaming platform from Swedish online video technology vendor Lemonwhale. The platform features a fast loading player with multiple pre-configured options to increase audience engagement, and a technology stack that claims to enable publishers to launch a video service in one day.

Comcast NBCUniversal is acquiring the remaining 49% stake in Osaka-based theme park Universal Studios Japan (USJ) that it did not already own, giving it 100% control. It is buying out partners including Goldman Sachs, MBK Partners and Owl Creek Asset Management, for $2.3 billion – valuing USJ at $7.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close at the end of April this year.

Roku has revealed that December last year was a record month for the company, with 13.4 million accounts streaming 1 billion hours of video and music on its platform, to total 9 billion hours for the whole of 2016. It also claims to have accounted for 48% of all streaming players in the US last year, according to data from Nielsen. The company recorded revenues of $400 million for the full year 2016.

John Malone’s mass media group Liberty Media increased revenue for its SiriusXM radio arm by 10% to $5 billion in 2016, with a subscriber growth of 1.75 million. Operating income from the Liberty SiriusXM Group hit $1.4 billion for the year, a rise of 26%, and $306 million for the fourth quarter, up 17%. Its financial growth can be partly attributable to SiriusXM’s price hikes last year.

Analogix Semiconductor has released new reference designs to provide DisplayPort over USB-C at 4K UHD resolution for smart devices, by paring MediaTek’s Helio X30 processor with its own ANX7625 SlimPort transmitter. It says the ANX7625 is a low power, single bridge chip which handles USB-C port switching and management simultaneously, supports HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) version 2.2/1.4 for secure playback on TV screens and VR headsets.

Troubled satellite operator Intelsat has announced revenue of $550.7 million for Q4 2016 and full year revenue of $2.18 billion. Its Network Services business saw revenue slip 10% for the quarter, to $221.9 million, and a 15% drop for the year. Its Media business increased revenue 4% for the quarter to $228.4 million, but with a full year decline of 2%. The company managed to reduce long-term debt to $14.2 billion from $14.6 billion.

VR platform provider Geekzonia has published research revealing that 17% of British people would prefer to live in virtual reality than the real world. It found that 22% of 1,000 survey respondents cited Brexit and Trump as reasons for wanting to leave reality behind, while 46% said visiting alternate dimensions such as Gotham City was a driver for this, and 33% want to meet their favorite fictional characters.

Home networking product provider Zyxel Communications has launched a new wireless extender incorporating HomePlug AV2 and 802.11ac technologies. It says the PLA5236 Powerline AC9000 Wireless Extender delivers wired speeds of 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) to Ethernet enabled devices such as set tops, smart TVs and games consoles, while wireless devices can receive speeds of up to 867 Mbps. The product retails at $84.99.

Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES says six additional US cable operators have signed up for trials of its UHD platform, which includes satellite distribution services, reception gear and a large portfolio of UHD content delivered via SES satellites. The operators to join the trails are Aureon in Iowa, GVTC Communications in Texas, Highlands Cable Group in North Carolina, KPU Telecommunications in Alaska, Service Electric in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and Shrewsbury Community Cable in Massachusetts.

Chinese conditional access firm China Digital TV Holding has published fourth quarter results showing net revenues plummeting 34.8% to $0.8 million from $1.2 million. The company blames this on the decline in revenues from system development in the quarter. Despite this, full year 2016 revenues increased by 120.2% to $4.2 million, with a profit growth of 402% to $2.7 million.

North American cricket broadcaster Willow TV, part of Indian digital group Times Internet, has purchased exclusive rights to show the Vivo IPL (Indian Premier League) 2017 Twenty20 tournament in the US. Willow TV is distributed via OTT, IPTV, cable and satellite platforms.

US consumers consider video quality as the most important criteria for purchasing a new TV set over price, according to research from Strategy Analytics. It also found a growing consumer desire for TVs that include next generation features such as controlling and monitoring smart home appliances.

TCL says it has reached a milestone to become the first Chinese TV maker to ship 20 million units in a year, a feat it claims to have reached last year, based on findings from data analysis firm Beijing All View Cloud. It says Chinese TV brands now make up 30% of global shipments, stealing away market share from South Korean manufacturers.

Verizon Digital Media Services has been tapped by Mexican online movie site Cinépolis KLIC Live to supply its Live Streaming Solution to support streaming of live Club Deportivo Guadalajara soccer matches on mobile and connected devices. VDMS technology includes features from the Uplynk Video Streaming service, with a cloud-based workflow, plus a cloud-based dashboard.

Streaming platform vendor Wowza Media Systems has released a new set of developer tools, including a new plug in for software from games engine developer Unity, for connection to the Wowza GoCoder, a mobile live streaming SDK. The plug-in lets gamers and developers use Unity’s in-game first-person-view camera to stream live video, including VR and AR experiences. Oxagile developed the tools as part of the Wowaza GoCoder SDK Development Challenge.

UK broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have won a dispute against live streaming site TVCatchup. The European Court of Justice ruled that it was irrelevant whether the content was initially broadcast on television channels subject to public service obligations. TVCatchup said in a statement: “Sadly ITV have managed to persuade the EU to now rule that the delivery of content via the internet does not equate to a cable service.”

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