OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

UK regulators Ofcom and the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) have been asked to examine the takeover bid of Sky by 21st Century Fox, as urged by the UK government’s Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley. The two bodies have until May 16th to prepare their reports for Rupert Murdoch’s proposed £11.7 billion ($14.35 billion) acquisition of the remaining 61% stake in Sky.

Ateme has teamed up with Portuguese broadcast graphics software developer wTVision to demonstrate a fully hosted cloud playout system called ChannelMaker-in-the-cloud, based on AWS architecture. Ateme’s Kyrion CM5000 encodes and streams content and ChannelMaker sequences and plays out clips uploaded to Amazon Simple Storage Service, which are mixed with 3D graphics overlays. The Kyrion DR5000 handles decoding, which it says can receive feeds from two IP sources, allowing the system to automatically switch to the backup in the event of a data transmission failure.

Open networking systems provider Adtran has announced it has reached a milestone of 10 million vectoring port shipments. It claims it has shipped more DSL and VDSL2 vectoring points in North America than all other vendors combined, driven by the need for operators to deliver 100 Mbps broadband speeds at scale over existing infrastructure, to meet increasingly stringent bandwidth guidelines.

A new standards operational practice for the interoperability between MoCA 2.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 has been revealed by the SCTE (Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers), ISBE (International Society of Broadband Experts), and MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance), based on a technical study by CableLabs and MoCA. The SCTE 235 says it aims to address the need to prevent degradation or failure of signals due to a shared frequency range above 1 GHz – specifying the “proper use” of frequencies and filters that industry professionals can use in MoCA 2.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 environments.

Fox Networks has rolled out an upgrade of its Fox Now video app for Apple TV which includes a completely new UI. Fox Now users can view content from the Fox broadcast network, FX and National Geographic Channel, and the US cable network says it will add Fox Sports programming in a few months.

Hearst Television has denied that it refused to enter negotiations with Dish Network regarding the retransmission deal for Hearst’s 33 stations. The New York-based broadcaster claims Dish is responsible for the failure to agree terms on a new deal to bring its programming back to Dish customers. A statement from Hearst Television reads: “Dish’s lack of engagement and unwillingness to present a fair proposal suggests that Dish intends to employ its age-old strategy of a long-term impasse. We remain ready and willing to conclude a deal promptly.”

Intel has made its intentions for self-driving vehicle technologies abundantly clear with the news that it is acquiring connected car player Mobileye for $15.3 billion, some 37 times revenues. Mobileye manufactures machine vision sensors, and claims the market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles will be worth up to $70 billion by 2030.

ZoneTV, a provider of digital content and brands for pay TV, has signed a deal with Studio71, majority owned by ProSiebenSat.1 in Germany, to license 20,000 videos, which will be included in multiple new channels for affiliates of ZoneTV in the US and Canada.

AT&T is extending its Hello Lab project for a second year and will include content on its DirecTV Now streaming service. Hello Lab is a collection of original entertainment created by Millennial and Gen Z audiences on social media, which the operator says had 117 million views, 832 million impressions and 30 million fan engagements last year.

Qatar-based telco Ooredoo is launching what it claims are the first 4K TV channels in the Middle East, using Harmonic’s Electra video compression system for IP environments. The multiscreen channels FunBox UHD and C4K360 are available live or on-demand.

The European Commission (EC) has given its seal of approval for AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner for its operations away from home soil. The merger still requires the approval of the US Department of Justice, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has made it clear that the FCC will not be reviewing the deal.

Samsung Electronics America has launched a new lifestyle TV called The Frame and also announced availability of its premium flagship QLED TV sets. By activating Art Mode, The Frame TV is designed to blend into its environment by displaying a work of art of the user’s choice, instead of a black screen when switched off. It also includes Samsung’s new Invisible Connection, for hiding unsightly cables, and No Gap Wall-mount. Its QLED TVs feature new metal Quantum dots for addressing aspects of picture quality including viewing angle, color volume, brightness and bold contrast.

Charter Communications wants to have the lawsuit filed against it for failing to deliver promised internet speeds shifted to a federal court, after The Hollywood Reporter obtained a filing from Charter which argued the complaints are under the FCC’s jurisdiction, not the state of New York. The state’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also accused Charter of throttling Netflix.

The number of US homes with a broadband subscription, but no pay TV service has more than doubled in the last five years to 9% of the 85 million broadband homes in the US, according to research from The Diffusion Group.

Spanish digital TV technology forum AEDETI (The Asociación Española de Televisión Digital Interactiva) and the HbbTV Association have announced the adoption of the new standard HbbTV 2.0 version 2.0.1 in its specification for DTT receivers in the Spanish market.

Verizon and CBS have come to a retransmission agreement for CBS TV stations and distribution of Showtime on Verizon FiOS TV. Verizon is also expected to offer live streaming on CBS’ website and app.

TiVo has added internet delivered programming from Palo Alto-based TV network Wurl TV to its cable TV set tops. The deal includes new channels such as IGN TV, Newsy, Baeble Music TV, the ALT Channel, and FNL Fashion.

Private content delivery networks (CDNs) become cost-competitive at a tipping point of 100,000 subscribers in a close area, according to a research paper from Frost & Sullivan and CDN technology firm Edgeware. It claims that building an in-house CDN can improve QoS and reduce costs, compared to a traditional pay as you go CDN. The study notes that a private CDN is becoming more appealing for smaller content distributors, not just for tier 1 operators.