ActiveVideo’s CloudTV software platform has been enlisted by Liberty Global to expand the reach of user experiences offered by Horizon TV, the platform, currently being deployed in Europe and Latin America.
“Consumers are seeking new enhanced experiences for their video entertainment all the time,” said Aamir Hussain, managing director and CTO, Liberty Global Europe.
“Liberty Global is constantly innovating and leading in delivering compelling and differentiated TV experiences leveraging cloud-based architectures. Liberty Global is using ActiveVideo’s CloudTV platform to complement its cloud UI strategy and expand Horizon-like experiences, including cloud DVR, VOD navigation and advanced applications, to STBs and connected devices.”
The news that Liberty Global would be using a cloud version of its Horizon product was broken last August during an investor call by the company’s CEO Mike Fries.
The announcement follows right behind the first deployment in Europe of CloudTV by an IPTV service provider, by Glashart Media, now part of KPN.
“CloudTV has been essential to Glashart Media’s ability to achieve key success metrics, including an annual doubling of subscribers and VOD take rates of three items per subscriber per month,” according to Niels Jonkman, business manager, Glashart Media.
“The performance enhancements of CloudTV H5 and the ability to work with the deep pool of HTML5 web developers are enabling us to accelerate innovation of new services, to drive increased customer penetration and to enter new market areas.”
In a related development, T-Labs, the R&I arm of Deutsche Telekom, successfully completed field trials for the virtualization of the set-top box, and delivery of Cloud UIs to HDMI dongles and other devices.
Dutch cable operator Ziggo, the first major European operator to deploy Cloud TV, will expand cloud-based VOD services to customers using CI+ 1.3 conditional access modules. At the moment, Ziggo has deployed Cloud TV to legacy set-top boxes. A few weeks ago, the operator announced that 150,000 homes had activated the service, a three-fold increase in three months’ time.
“CloudTV addresses the resource limitations and device fragmentation that are barriers to deploying or upgrading services,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of ActiveVideo, in a statement.
“European operators such as Liberty Global, Ziggo and Glashart Media and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Labs are taking a leading role in using the power of the cloud to remove the operational bottlenecks that historically have prevented them from delivering advanced user interface paradigms.”
Talking to Broadband TV News, Sachin Sathaye, VP, strategy and product marketing, said that ActiveVideo is now working to bring the Cloud UI to connected TVs, both in managed and unmanaged versions.
Operators, who are using CI+ 1.3 CA modules can offer a managed service without the need of a set-top box. “The set-top box has left the building,” according to Sathaye.
T-Labs has been testing Cloud TV in two markets, Croatia and Greece (OTE) and is now ready to roll out across six countries in its European footprint, beginning in Q1, 2014 in Croatia on the TerraStream network.
Gil Rosen, VP, new media, Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs), said in a statement: “CloudTV brings TV to the internet age with interactivity, personalisation and speed of development. All while reducing overall costs and enabling a seamless n-screen experience. Working with partners such as ActiveVideo, we have proven how a virtualized STB can support the rapid launch of new TV services and contemporary, graphically pleasing TV user interfaces – even on older devices.”
Broadband TV View. Television in the cloud, both managed and unmanaged, could be another nail in the coffin of the traditional set-top box, as it allows for delivering interactive TV services directly to a connected TV set. Having said that, Cloud TV also breathes new life into legacy set-tops, as is shown by Ziggo’s deployment.
The advantage of cloud based services is clearly that any upgrade in the UI can be performed instantly without the need to upgrade an existing universe of clients. It’s much cheaper and gives the operator more control.
At the same time, it is also a solution for traditional platforms to react to changes in the market, especially with disruptive newcomers such as OTT providers.
When the cloud solution was first offered, there were some doubt about the scalability of such a service – would it work with large numbers? With a massive deployment? According to Sathaye, T-Labs rigorously tested this and found the system robust.