Posts tagged ‘NDS’

Cisco and NDS helping customers…

Cisco and NDS helping customers step into the future

The acquisition of NDS will strengthen the ambitions of Cisco to make its Videoscape portfolio of solutions the preferred migration path for service providers moving towards an increasingly IP, multi-platform and multi-device world while looking to maintain the value of their legacy investments. Ken Morse, CTO, Service Provider Video Technology Group at Cisco, explained last month that with NDS, Cisco now embraces multiple STB manufacturers and SoC (Systems on Chip) environments and can meet service and content provider expectations for content security in a multi-DRM world.

And he emphasised the importance of the user experience, “which is really driving the marketplace right now because it captures the imagination of the end customer.” NDS is a leader in the whole user experience domain, of course, with its Snowflake user interface typifying the kind of next-generation STB/DVR experience demanding consumers are now hoping for. Snowflake has been deployed by ZON in Portugal and is also being used by Liberty Global for the new Horizon platform.

“Service providers are looking for a partner who can help them on a journey and the two solution portfolios from Cisco and NDS complement each other to provide a meaningful migration path for customers,” Morse says. “We both have the ability to bring a large number of customers onto this journey, too.”

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Pushing boundaries: next-gen cable services

As European cable operators tentatively begin to roll out next generation platforms, Graham Pomphrey, Digital TV Europe (@DTVEGraham) assesses the chosen strategies and considers the challenges being faced.

On the Horizon

Although we are at an early stage, the maturing of some western pay TV markets, and the potential for saturation within them, has seen some operators look to advance their already popular services. The strategy is to either upsell additional services like huge VOD libraries, connected TV functionality and associated broadband connection, or to attract often scarce new subscribers. Virgin Media and Ono are already doing the former with TiVo technology, Zon Multimédia is using NDS-based middleware for its Iris platform while Liberty Global’s Horizon is set to launch in the Netherlands in the third quarter, to be followed by Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland later this year.

Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries has said Horizon will have a transformative effect on the company by enabling the cable giant to satisfy consumer demand to be able to draw content from the web to the TV, and to receive their ‘cable’ experience across multiple screens. “It will set our customer’s expectations and the quality of the consumer experience at a whole new level,” Fries told DTVE at the Cable Congress event earlier this year.

There is no doubt that Liberty Global has a strong market position, with a customer base of around 18.4 million and existing relationships with content partners. The biggest challenge is how to market the service. With around 10 million subscribers taking analogue services and operations in various emerging markets, Liberty Global, will need to market the service carefully. Fries has already said that Horizon will be “not that expensive”.

Making progress

While Horizon has been on the metaphorical horizon for some time – reports first emerged about the platform as far back as 2010 – cable operators Virgin Media and Ono have already launched services that merge traditional TV with web services. Partnering with US middleware-and-DVR specialist TiVo, both operators have been able to pioneer advanced services in their respective countries.

Virgin Media’s TiVo platform allows users to pause and rewind TV, offers advanced search and recommendation, provides access to catch-up services from the UK’s public broadcasters, including iPlayer, and offers access to web apps from Twitter, eBay, Facebook and Spotify amongst others.

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IBC 2012: Taking care of business – Part 2

TeliaSonera’s Smart TV takeover
Informa has long mooted the benefits of operator and Smart TV partnerships, and at IBC, TeliaSonera and Samsung showcased what they described as the first fully-fledged IPTV service to launch on a Smart TV.

Fully-fledged was perhaps pushing it a little but the service did offer most of the core features of a Pay TV service, including a network DVR for some (but, for rights reasons, not all) channels. One key feature is the ability, after the TeliaSonera app is downloaded to the TV, for consumers to select the TeliaSonera interface as the default UI for the TV. It even appears as an option in the list of inputs on the device, alongside HDMI, USB, et al. This is a win for everyone. It’s much easier for consumers, and operators, who have always expressed concerned about appearing next to their competitors on Smart TVs, will be delighted. It’s also an intriguing sign of Samsung’s strategy in the area. Smart TV manufacturers are heavily criticised for trying to over-exert their own influence on the way users use those devices, so Samsung’s ceding of this territory is very telling.

Social TV – the post-Zeebox wave
All vendors were keen to share their visions for how best to create content and experiences for the companion screen. While it’s easy to be cynical about bandwagon-jumping, Zeebox’s approach is only one of many, and there are lot of other ways the second screen can be used.

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Accedo and NDS launch set-top app partnership

Interactive TV company Accedo has partnered with NDS to launch a new solution that enables service providers to develop set-top-box apps and widgets.

The solution will enable pay TV operators to launch their own app store, manage application lifecycle, contextualise content and monetise apps through a connected set-top-box. It lets operators author apps with an open Software Developer Kit (SDK), and enables smooth rendering of apps through an HTML browser integrated with NDS’ MediaHighway set-top-box software.

The solution uses Accedo’s management platform, Accedo Application Sphere, which provides a customisable front-end user interface with multiple existing applications, as well as a back-end system.

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