OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Conditional access firm Conax, part of the Kudelski Group, is launching a new modular multiscreen product for TV providers, called Conax Arena, which it says can be deployed in the cloud or on premise. However, we will have to wait until the IBC trade show in a few weeks before the company reveals any details on the new product, where it will also be featuring an IPTV customer case with Conax Connected Access on an Amino set top.

Canadian cable operator Videotron has licensed the Comcast X1 video platform, following in the footsteps of rival operators Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications. Videotron will be building its own IPTV service based on X1 technology, hoping it can achieve the same customer growth seen by Shaw after implementing the white-label platform, adding 13,000 cable subscribers in its latest quarterly results, its first cable TV growth since 2010.

US MSO Mediacom has rolled out its DOCSIS 3.1 Gigapower service in Florida and South Alabama, covering 55 Gulf Coast communities. Mediacom is aiming to be the first US operator in the US to deploy the technology across its whole footprint, as part of a three-year $1 billion capex plan announced last year.

IBM has launched Watson Media at the US Open tennis tournament, a new suite of technologies added to the super computer for analyzing video, images, language, sentiment and tone. Watson Media allows content owners and distributors to understand the unstructured data behind content on an “unprecedented level” – giving advanced video insights for decision making. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is employing the technology to automatically select and produce match highlights.

Toshiba cannot reach a decision on who to sell its memory chip business to, after the board was expected to reach an agreement this week. A statement has confirmed that Toshiba is in discussions with Network Corp of Japan, Bain Capital and Development Bank of Japan. Why don’t they all go into business together, it’s a huge market.

Nokia is selling off thousands of patents relating to technologies including 4G, 5G, SDN and VR, which emerged after legal news service Law360 spotted a listing from transaction company Aqua Licensing. The 6,069 patents, plus 734 pending patents, cover Wireless; Services; IP and Networks; Access, Fixed, and Optical Networks; Hardware and Components; and User Experience, Mechanics, and Materials, but Nokia is yet to issue an official statement.

Subscriptions to Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connections based on 5G are expected to account for $1 billion in service revenues by the end of 2019, growing at a CAGR of approximately 84%, according to SNS Research. By 2040, the report projects that these subscriptions will account for over $40 billion, largely driven by early commercial deployments from Verizon and AT&T.

Streaming service Hulu has signed a carriage deal with Time Warner and CBS owned broadcast TV network CW Network, giving subscribers access to live feeds and on-demand content – which rivals including DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV and Vue don’t currently show. Hulu has not yet announced which markets live CW channels will be available in.

The Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones has shocked no one by breaking another viewing record for HBO, with 16.5 million viewers tuning in – a 36% jump from the previous season’s final episode.

Sound and display technology firm Dolby Laboratories has partnered with Taiwanese chip company MStar Semiconductor to deliver Dolby Atmos experiences to TV sets. MStar is making the Dolby Multistream Decoder MS12 available to its customers, which allows TV manufacturers to decode premium audio content worldwide, whether it be from OTT services, pay TV operators, broadcast TV, or is file-based.

Amazon’s intelligent assistant Alexa will be able to chat to its Microsoft equivalent Cortana later this year, to allow owners of both Echo and Windows 10 devices to access each service’s unique features. For example, you will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa.” This looks like Amazon and Microsoft ganging up on Apple and Siri – customers will only need to have one device to speak to, and can control either group of voice services with it.

Digital video technology and DRM provider castLabs has integrated its PrestoPlay video player SDKs and DRMtoday license delivery network with French CDN provider Broadpeak. The partners say the joint product will benefit streaming providers by providing analytics, packaging and encryption technologies on a range of devices – highlighting performance issues. Portuguese telco Nowo is the first customer to be announced.

Billing services provider Paywizard has teamed with multiscreen video platform Massive Interactive, to give operators data insights and predictive analytics for targeting subscribers and to tailor user interfaces at what they call the 8 key “decision moments.” These are Find, Join, Consume, Upgrade, Downgrade, Bill, Leave and Win Back.

Verizon’s streaming technology arm Verizon Digital Media Services has won a deployment for its Uplynk Video Streaming product at Canadian sports technology company Stadium Digital, for its All Access fan engagement service. All Access offers contests, exclusive content, fantasy, sponsor offers and game day redemptions experiences. Stadium Digital powers loyalty and engagement platforms for sports bodies including the Canadian Hockey League and teams in the Canadian Football League. Verizon acquired the cloud encoding firm Uplynk in 2013, and the technology will be used to stream Ticats TV Live coverage on September 4.

US encoding firm Haivision has signed up 14 new companies to the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) Alliance to accelerate the adoption of its low latency video streaming product, after recently open-sourcing SRT and making it available in over 35 countries. New members include sports and news content distributor Eurovision, graphics company Matrox and media firm Telvue.

Video imaging SoC provider Socionext is developing a dense transcode server for data center video processing through a new partnership with Silicon Valley server technology start up SoftIron. The Hypercast server has been integrated with a “sea of transcoders” to accelerate video processing. The system is capable of real-time transcoding up to 256 bundles of AVC / HEVC ABR streams in a dense 1RU unit (for 1080i60 input).

Socionext has also inked a deal with video acceleration company Advantech to provide live hardware transcoding systems to the data center supporting MPEG2, AVC, and HEVC. Advantech says up to four VEGA-3318 accelerators can be integrated into a 1U server to deliver up to 32 x 4Kp60 live HEVC profiles per rack unit – claiming to be the highest density available in the market.