OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Arris and Cisco said this week they are jointly demonstrating interoperability between their Remote PHY products at the annual SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this week. Given that they are widely used in the US as second sources to one another, it was in everyone’s interests that they did this as soon as possible. See coverage elsewhere in this issue on Remote PHY implementations.

Mixed signal RF CMOS chip designer MaxLinear said this week that Taiwanese cable supplier Hitron Technologies, has picked MaxLinear’s full spectrum capture front end receivers to demonstrate a Full Duplex version of its CODA DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems. The demonstration will also use an Intel PUMA 7 SoC. The CableLabs Full Duplex standard has just been passed and allows for a maximum of 10 Gbps in both directions, up and down, in a DOCSIS 3.1 network. The CODA-47 models will be shown using just 204MHz of spectrum enabling upstream speeds of 1Gbps.

US satellite TV player Dish Network will ask the Supreme Court to overrule a lower court decision whereby satellite TV companies get taxed at a higher rate than US cable companies. The test case focuses on Florida where cable operators are charged a state tax of 4.92% of revenue, whereas satellite providers get taxed at 9.07%. So far Dish has lost every round of this fight.

Polish media firm SPI International has launched a new interactive eSports channel Gametoon with Bulgaria’s Bulsatcom. It is designed as a TV channel for millennials revolving around gaming and eSports and gives viewers a chance to play games on their mobile devices and share scores along with having avatars on air. Bulsatcom already carries several movie and themed channels from SPI.

Arris this week filed a securities statement which said simply that the Brocade Broadcom merger which would push Ruckus into its hands, has been held up by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, after it had to refile a joint application with Broadcom. It will have to go through a new 45 day investigation period.

Variety has said that Snap and NBCUniversal will create a jointly owned studio dedicated to app-centric entertainment. The two will offer short-form scripted programming for mobile consumption.

US stream TV service Pluto TV, which relies entirely on advertising for monetization, has raised $5 million in investment, from Samsung Venture Investment, the VC arm of the Samsung Group. The total round was $8.3 million, after a $30 million Series B investment round. Sounds like a rescue round.

The crazy legal action between Rearden and major US studios about who owns CGI characters in major blockbuster movies, has come to a Californian court this week. Rearden says it Mova software was the first to mirror a person’s expression on an avatar. It says the technology was copied by a Chinese firm and was used by Disney, Fox and Paramount to create movies like a Night at the Museum and Deadpool. It raises some alarming issues about identity and whether they belongs to the actor or to the software, depending on which does most to create the character. Expect Rearden to lose, but expect Hollywood mayhem if it doesn’t.

Signal processing chip designer Ceva has announced a partnership with LG Electronics, for high-performance, smart 3D camera chips for consumer electronics and robotics. The camera module uses the Rockchip RK1608 coprocessor with multiple CEVA-XM4 imaging and vision DSPs, handle 3D sensing applications. These include biometric face authentication, 3D reconstruction, gesture/posture tracking, obstacle detection, AR and VR.

Canadian middleware provider Espial has two major design wins this week for its Elevate Software as a Service TV platform, one with MCTV in Ohio, and another with Optic Communications in Kansas and Missouri. Both announcements emphasized speed to market with OTT TV systems launched in under 90 days.

Technical workers in New York at the old Time Warner Cable operation, who have been on strike now for 7 months, managed to disrupt Charter CEO Tom Rutledge as he gave a keynote at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this week. Flyers were shown pointing out Rutledge’s salary and complaining about poor customer service.

Charter and Viacom patched up their dispute, at least partially this week, and announced a renewal of their program licensing agreement, avoiding a blackout of the Viacom content. They have reached an agreement in principle and will carry on the service while it’s being put to paper.

Japanese trading company, Kanematsu Corporation, and Intertrust Technologies have agreed a partnership this week to deliver mobile app protection in Japan. It will center on offering Intertrust’s whitebox cryptography products which protect software only systems by obfuscating sensitive components. Kanematsu will use whiteCryption products to protect their own apps and also offer the technology to partners in its trading ecosystem.

Viewing figures for the US National Football League (NFL) are down 7.5% year-on-year, with over 1 million people less watching American Football. US stock analyst believe this will drive down stock prices of all the broadcasters which carry football, as it drives down advertising incomes. ESPN has managed a small increase in viewers to 11.2 million but its numbers fell off a cliff last year, so the comparison favors it.

Belgian video testing business Eurofins Digital Testing, has announced the acquisition of My Eye Media in the US to strengthen its ability to help serve multiplatform TV, including studios, programmers, broadcasters, OTT providers and operators around the globe. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The two companies have already begun collaborating on product integration.

US broadband equipment vendor Adtran has reported revenues for Q3 up 9.6% to $185.1 million and net income up 28% to $15.9 million. It has not held its analyst meeting yet, but this looks like the effect of deployments speeding up.