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25 May 2017

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

It appears that Comcast is prepping for the 4K era finally on its pay TV network and is now listing something called the XB4 DVR on product support pages for X1. This is likely to be the Arris supplied XG1v4, a six-tuner 4K DVR, says Light Reading. Comcast has never been keen to arrive early at 4K due to the strain it may place on its cable network for little benefit but it may now be ready to launch its first 4K-capable DVR. Comcast has made limited number of on-demand titles available in 4K for X1 users using Samsung TVs. Comcast has always said that its 4K push, when it came, would include High Dynamic Range, so expect that too.


Deutsche Telekom’s T-Hravtski Telekom in Croatia has revealed its next generation MAXtv IPTV service, which it says includes more interactive functionality across screens and a new personalized TV interface. The next gen version will integrate its main pay TV offering with the mobile MAXtv service, allowing users to switch between screens and cast content from mobile devices to the big screen. This is part of Deutsche Telekom’s strategy to breathe new life into legacy set top hardware by providing a cloud-based UI.

Global pay TV revenues for the major companies are set to remain flat at around $185 billion between 2016 and 2022, despite projected subscriber uptake of 120 million in the period, according to Digital TV Research. The Global Pay TV Operator Forecast monitors the world’s top 522 firms in pay TV, which will grow to a total of 963 million subscribers by 2022, up from 839 million today – with the 522 operators accounting for 88% of the market.

HBO Asia and China Movie Channel (CMC) are extending their ongoing partnership by co-producing two new Chinese-language martial arts movies for TV distribution. Their previously produced martial arts movies were aired on HBO and HBO’s Red, reaching 23 Asian territories, as well as CMC’s channels in mainland China, serving an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.

German broadcast specialist Rohde & Schwarz’s subsidiary GMIT has acquired IP-based media processing product provider Motama Technology, to expand its product portfolio for the interruption-free transmission of video and audio content in IP networks. It says the Motama RelayCaster protocol minimizes packet losses in IPTV streams, as a replacement for expensive satellite links or CDNs, available as a 19-inch rack-mountable server appliance or as software-only.

Altice USA’s CEO, Dexter Goei, has confirmed that the company is in discussions about a possible MVNO venture, but denied that Altice USA will join forces with Comcast and Charter. Goei said at a press event, “We are having discussions on lots of different types of alternatives out there. We’re clearly not the types of people to sit back and watch, but I don’t think there is a necessity for us to join anything today.”

CDN provider Limelight Networks has revealed that its services are being used by network and managed IT services firm Cogeco Peer 1. Cogeco’s in-house CDN in North America and Europe was apparently limited in providing worldwide coverage due to increasing demand, and Limelight claims that Cogeco Peer 1 has seen a significant improvement in delivery speed and a marked increase in customer traffic since using its CDN.

Pay TV channel FightBox HD, owned by SPI International Filmbox, is launching with South African digital media company Discover Digital. FightBox HD, which airs combat sports, will be shown on Discover Digital’s IPTV service which debuted in South Africa earlier this month.

The IPO for US cable operator Wide Open West (WOW) has been priced at an initial $17 per share, less than the indicated range of between $20 and $22 – bringing the company proceeds of $310 million before costs. Trading of WOW shares on the NYSE are expected to begin on 25 May.

Slovenian communications vendor Iskratel has struck contracts with two broadband specialists, HFC Technics and Tantec Digital, for its Partner Program. The program aims to help companies grow by reselling Iskratel products and offering e-learning and on-site training services. Iskratel says it has signed up a number of companies across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. HFC Technics will offer Iskratel’s broadband access systems to operators in Hungary, and Tantec Digital will do the same in Norway.

Chinese PC Maker Lenovo has published full year 2016 revenues of $43 billion, a 4.2% drop from the previous year. Revenue for the fourth quarter increased 4.9% to $9.6 billion, which Lenovo partly attributes to a good performance in its PC, smart devices and mobile businesses. Gaming shipments rose 20.5% and Chromebook shipments climbed 38.2%, while mobile shipments increased 17.4% to 11.3 million units outside of China. Profit for the year slipped 7.8% to $6.1 billion.

Samsung unveiled its latest process technologies at its Foundry Forum, its business for supporting fabless and integrated device manufacturer semiconductor companies. The technologies span Low Power Plus (LLP) scaling solutions of between 4nm and 8nm. The 4LPP will be the first implementation of next generation device architecture, using Multi Bridge Channel Field Effect Transistor structure and a Nanosheet device to overcome the physical scaling and performance limitations of the 3D FinFET transistor architecture. Jong Shik Yoon, EVP of the Foundry Business at Samsung Electronics, said, “the inclusion of the process technologies will enable an explosion of new devices that will connect consumers in ways never seen before.”

Canadian IPTV software house Espial has advised shareholders that private equity group Vantage Asset Management has revised its proposed slate of nominees for election to the board, despite Espial’s proposal of experienced director nominees, including the EVP and CTO of CenturyLink, Aamir Hussain. Espial has urged shareholders to submit their proxy in favor of its nominees.

Samsung Electronics America has priced its new Samsung Gear 360 VR headset at $229, which is a reasonable price point when compared with the $600 Oculus Rift, $800 HTC Vive, and $630 Sony PlayStation VR – although these are dedicated VR headsets, not smartphone-controlled. The previous model of the Gear headset was cheaper at just $95, while Samsung says the new model is more lightweight and compact, and enables video recording up to 4K resolution, plus 15 megapixel images.

US media company Starz has launched the availability of its app on Samsung Smart TVs, giving users access to original series such as American Gods. A Starz subscription costs $8.99 a month, and the app is also available on Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, Apple TV, iOS and Android, and Roku.

Altice is embarking on a new global branding strategy to mark its transformation from a French holding company to a global telco with over 50 million subscribers. It is unifying its various groups under the single Altice brand name, which the company says will strengthen its industrial and operational platform.

Hulu has launched a legal action against Tivo in a Californian federal court claiming it doesn’t need to renew an expired licensing agreement since some of the patents will expire over the period of the agreement. The patents involved are mostly old Rovi patents, two from Gemstar on EPG and video search, which both have years to run (we checked), plus one that TiVo (old TiVo) acquired from IBM to do with supporting multiple video types. Hulu also claims that its rivals do not pay TiVo for a license. Chances are Hulu is playing a busted flush, and will settle.

Nokia says that it will deploy its broadband technology across Connecticut at Frontier Communications and talks about fiber-like speeds for customers living in MDUs with existing cabling – using twisted pair, and the system built using Software Defined Network (SDN) technology.