Ziggo is taking a bold step forward by introducing a cloud based service model for interactivity. The philosophy behind it is that CE manufacturers are putting more and more technology in their home devices. It makes sense to take full advantage of the possibilities this offers.
The operator employs a retail model for the in-home consumer equipment, whereby customers buy their own set-top box, PVR or CI+ enabled integrated TV set. This policy had led to a relatively high number of digital customers: 75.8% of all connected homes receive digital. This compares with the 59.3% digital homes of UPC, who offers set-tops and PVRs as part of a rental model.
The advantage of having rental equipment in the customer’s home is that the operator can decide to upgrade the existing universe – of course, at huge costs. With a retail model, the operator can only influence equipment ownership with subsidies and incentives. Although PVRs are becoming more and more popular, most Ziggo subscribers have simple zapper boxes and are not able to access VOD and other interactive services.
By choosing a cloud-based model, Ziggo is now able to offer a much bigger part of the customer base interactive services. The currently running Ziggo Beta version also allows people to configure their own home network in the same UI and personalise their preferences.
In addition, because ActiveVideo network’s Cloud TV is based on standard html5, it is basically an open platform, on which any third-party developer can create its own apps. This can turn existing set-tops into fully fledged OTT devices – at least in theory.
Ziggo and ActiveVideo Networks are showcasing Cloud TV at the same time when Liberty Global is finally rolling out its Horizon platform, which is in a way the opposite because it has all the technology and software at the customer’s premises.
Horizon promises a lot of singing and dancing, but many of the promised features during the first announcement in January 2010 have since already been delivered by consumer electronics manufacturers.