OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Apple’s announcement a month ago that it was switching support from the H.264 codec to to HEVC in iOS 11 and macOS is a notable progression for the streaming industry. This week, French-Israeli OTT technology outfit Viaccess-Orca published in a blog post that it believes the move is going to free up a vast amount of bandwidth as projections see a 15 times increase in live internet video by 2021, by which time video will account for 78% of the world’s mobile data traffic. As an industry player, Viaccess-Orca naturally welcomes the move, and it adds that Apple could shave 1.87 exabytes off total monthly traffic, but this is just 4% of monthly traffic, meaning it will take a much wider effort for companies to rally together to relieve traffic worldwide.

China Telecom’s Research Institute has officially started deploying technology from the HomeGrid Forum to its customers, following the first public tender request for devices earlier this year. The two have been collaborating on developing technology for over three years.

Kudelski subsidiary Conax has inked a reseller agreement with Chinese manufacturer ZTE, to integrate its Connected Access IPTV security client with ZTE’s IPTV offering. Conax says its hybrid architecture provides a single security client for all content to a connected set top. The two claim that a joint operator deployment is currently under way.

UK telco Three has launched its own play on T-Mobile US’ Binge On service, called Go Binge. The service works in the same way, offering unlimited data to customers to watch certain streaming services on mobile devices. Three has only cited Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as available OTT services.

Swiss security group Kudelski has agreed another patent cross license with a major name, this week getting AT&T’s signature – giving the US operator worldwide access to Kudelski’s video distribution patent portfolio.

Sales of Roku devices have been banned in Mexico after it lost a legal battle with Mexican cable TV operator Cablevision. The Televisa subsidiary alleged that too many of Roku’s streaming devices were being hacked to allow users to view pirated content, and a judge has now halted importation of sales of Roku devices.

The transition to DVB-T2 HD in Germany has started on schedule, following one of the biggest broadcast equipment upgrades ever in the country, carried out by German public broadcaster ZDF, electronics firm Rohde & Schwarz, and research group Fraunhofer. ZDF selected the R&S AVHE100 encoding and multiplexing system, with HEVC technology from Fraunhofer for its headend implementation.

Comcast spent more money on advertising last year than any other company in the US, according to Advertising Age. The operator outspent Procter & Gamble to promote its cable TV products, film studio and theme parks at a cost of $5.6 billion. AT&T came in fourth spending $3.6 billion and Verizon was at number 6 with a $2.7 billion ad bill.

BT Sport has secured rights to broadcast all matches of the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup in the UK and Ireland for the 2018/19 season until at least 2021/22. The deal covers up to 134 matches.

Production of LG’s LCD displays have been halted at the company’s Paju, South Korea factory, following the death of a worker in an industrial accident at the plant last week. LG produces around 715,000 square meters of LCD panels every month, some 6% of global demand.

The top 100 TV services added 3.46 million subscribers in total in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 0.79%, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index. However, growth is down from 1.68% in the same period last year, adding 6.9 million in the 2016 quarter. Asia Pacific saw the most gains with 2.39 million, while the top 10 services in the US lost 559,000 subscribers.

Sky has injected a $2 million equity investment into connected device company Circle Media Labs, to help it gain “additional insights in the field” – suggesting Sky is planning to launch new smart home offerings or services. The Portland-based start-up company produces a system for families to manage all connected devices within the home on one app, to manage children’s internet usage.

Huawei has deployed a network in the Middle East with Oman operator Omantel, claiming to be the first deployment in the region. Omantel plans to reach 90% of its homes by 2020 in capital city Muscat, and expects to roll out speeds of between 200 Mbps and 1 Gbps to MDUs. Huawei is supplying its E2E system, which employs optical line terminal (OLT), distribution point unit (DPU), and CPE.

Chilean operator GTD has deployed virtual set top software from UK cloud player Amino. GTD recently switched to an all IP network and says it had to adapt its middleware and set top platforms to take advantage of these new network capabilities, while extending the life of its legacy hardware deployments. Amino’s Enable platform upgraded its set tops with a unified UI across its customer base.

Semiconductor maker MaxLinear announced that Comtrend has selected its powerline Wave-2 networking chipset for its new PG-9083 powerline adapter – designed to provide data rates up to 2 Gbps. The adapter is based on MaxLinear’s 88LX5152 and 88LX2720 chipsets, with a TDMA-based MAC for low-latency applications like gaming VoIP and IPTV.

Cloud-based live video management provider Make.TV has secured an initial funding round of $8.5 million, led by Voyager Capital. Microsoft Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Arnold Ventures also took part.

OTT video revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa will only reach $640 million by 2022, across 35 countries, according to Digital TV Research. It forecasts 10.2 million SVoD subscribers in the region by 2022, rising from 525,000 at the end of 2016. SVoD will account for 74% of revenues by 2022, rising from 40% last year.

AT&T’s DirecTV Now is adding 35 new local stations from ABC, NBC and Fox as of next week – saying this will double its broadcast footprint since launch. CBS is still a notable absentee. The additions include ABC affiliates in more than 30 new markets, including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Boston, plus NBC stations in Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach.

Traditional multichannel subscriptions are forecast to decline by 10.8 million over the next five years to 82.3 million, according to market intelligence from Kagan. It projects households relying solely on OTT delivery to reach 14% by 2021.

China Digital TV Holding has appealed the decision by the New York Stock Exchange to commence proceedings to delist its American Depositary Shares (ADS). The Chinese cloud platform provider will submit its review petition in the coming weeks and the NYSE is scheduled to hold an appeal hearing in October.

The volume of M&A activity in the broadcast station space in the US reached $4.47 billion in the second quarter of this year, according to Kagan, thanks largely to the $3.82 billion takeover of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group.