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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

UPC cablecom to test connected TVs July 15, 2013 08.00 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul cablecom-upcSwitzerland’s upc cablecom has extended its

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    UPC cablecom to test connected TVs
    July 15, 2013 08.00 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

    cablecom-upcSwitzerland’s upc cablecom has extended its use of S3 Group’s StormTest Development Center to include automated testing for connected TVs.
    Commenting on the move, Claus Beck, director of engineering at the Liberty Global-owned operator, said: “Connected TVs are one element of upc cablecom’s comprehensive multiscreen offering. As web-based applications converge with TV platforms, comprehensive and rigorous testing prior to service roll-out is essential to delivering a quality experience. The ability to extend our existing test platform with StormTest to include Connected TVs allows us to adopt a uniform test environment across any device or screen.”
    John Maguire, director of product strategy, S3 Group, added: “Delivering Connected TV applications that have broadly equivalent functionality to traditional TV services requires additional development and specialized testing. Automating the testing of these applications, and bringing them into a common test environment with other elements of a multiscreen service offering, enables the delivery of new services faster and more cost-effectively”.
    S3 Group is an international digital TV company that enables operators and programmers to accelerate the end-to-end delivery of multiscreen TV.
    UPC cablecom already uses S3 Group’s solution to test STBs.

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    UPC Romania looks to IPTV
    July 15, 2013 07.37 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

    UPC RomaniaUPC plans to launch an IPTV service in Romania. Once up and running, it will offer viewers 200 TV channels, 20 of which will be in HD and two in 3D.
    Quoting documents filed to the National Audiovisual Council (CNA), local reports say that the National Authority for Management in Communications (ANCOM) awarded UPC Romania a licence to operate such a service on January 30 this year.
    In the documents, the service would have a projected 10,000 subscribers.
    UPC Romania is present in the both country’s cable market, where it is the second largest operator, and DTH sector through its Focus Sat platform.
    It faces strong competition from RCS&RDS and Romtelecom, the latter of which operates an IPTV service.
    However, IPTV is still relatively undeveloped in Romania, which has a large cable market and no fewer than five DTH platforms.
    There is at this stage no indication from UPC Romania when it will launch its IPTV service.

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    Technicolor completes refinancing
    July 15, 2013 06.21 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

    technicolor-signTechnicolor has announced that it has successful completed its refinancing transaction. As a result, the company will be able to borrow new funds at a lower interest rate, effectively extend its debt maturity until 2020 and benefit from significantly greater covenant flexibility.
    According to Technicolor, “Tech Finance purchased an aggregate principal amount of €905 million of Technicolor’s outstanding senior debt in the offers to purchase, corresponding to almost all of the outstanding notes and 61% of Credit Agreement participations. The average nominal interest of the purchased debt amounted to 8.4%, while the average nominal interest of the total existing senior debt amounted to 8.2%.”
    It adds: “the remaining existing senior debt not held by Tech Finance, amounts to €282 million with a bullet debt maturing in 2017 in the amount of €218 million (compared to €890 million before the refinancing).
    “As a result of the refinancing transaction, the total consolidated amount of senior gross debt bears interest at an average nominal rate of 7.4%, an 80 basis point improvement, leading to a pro-forma reduction of €14.8 million in overall annual interest charges. The company’s debt structure is now based almost entirely on loans and the final maturity of the majority of debt has been extended to 2020.”

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    SeniorTV adds Midwestern regional sales director
    Michelle Clancy | 15-07-2013
    SeniorTV, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, has added Tim Martin to its senior management team as regional sales director.
    SeniorTV provides television programming and custom solutions to retirement communities, long-term care, and assisted living facilities across the US.
    For over 20 years, SeniorTV has been a national provider of TV programming, high speed Internet, TV guide channels, resident information channels, as well as customer service and technical support, for the elderly.
    Martin will provide additional support to existing customers in Illinois, Indiana and Western Kentucky as well as offer SeniorTV's total solution to additional long-term care communities within those territories.
    "Tim's years of experience in electronics and new technologies will help our customers in the decision-making process and further ensure seamless integration from current cable TV providers," said Savy Sabino, sales manager.

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    upc cablecom engages S3 for multiscreen test automation
    Joseph O'Halloran | 15-07-2013
    As it examines the availability of rolling its services to multiple platforms, upc cablecom has extended the use of S3 Group’s StormTest Development Center to include automated testing for connected TVs.
    The Swiss operation of Liberty Global believes that connected TVs have rapidly become a mainstream product, citing IHS Screen Digest research that calculates that more than a quarter of TVs shipped globally in 2012 are actually classified as smart TVs.
    “Connected TVs are one element of upc cablecom’s comprehensive multiscreen offering. As web-based applications converge with TV platforms, comprehensive and rigorous testing prior to service roll-out is essential to delivering a quality experience,” explained Claus Beck, director of engineering, upc cablecom. “The ability to extend our existing test platform with StormTest to include connected TVs allows us to adopt a uniform test environment across any device or screen,” he added.
    The StormTest Development Center is designed to allow automated software testing to be executed end-to-end across multiple TV platforms. John Maguire, director of product strategy, S3 Group, commented that delivering connected TV applications that have broadly equivalent functionality to traditional TV services requires additional development and specialised testing. “Automating the testing of these applications, and bringing them into a common test environment with other elements of a multiscreen service offering, enables the delivery of new services faster and more cost-effectively,” he said.

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    Bounce TV to bring YouTube hit BRKDWN to broadcast TV
    Parent Category: News | 15-07-2013
    Bounce TV, a broadcast television network for African Americans, will debut a new original series this fall based on the YouTube show BRKDWN.
    The new version of BRKDWN will be a half-hour series featuring pop culture news and stories of the moment as viewed through the distinctive lends of today's media-connected urban experience.
    "Bounce TV's accelerated distribution growth and strong initial ratings has allowed us to expand our original programming efforts ahead of schedule and BRKDWN targets our audience beautifully," said Bounce TV's executive vice president of programming and production, Billy Hall.
    Alchemy Networks, a digital network for urban lifestyle and entertainment, and BMP Digital, the digital division of production company Bunim/Murray Productions and producers of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Project Runway, will team to produce the newly-created original episodes of the popular Alchemy original online series.
    "We couldn't be more excited with BRKDWN's expansion to broadcast television," says Peter Griffith, CEO of Alchemy Networks. "One of our goals since launching on YouTube was to extend to multiple platforms keeping viewers engaged at both ends of the spectrum – over the Internet and in front of their TV screens. We have achieved that goal in a relatively short period and it is a testament to the quality production from our partners at Bunim Murray and our talented hosts at BRKDWN."

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    Netflix-CBS deal to bring twin Peaks, CSI to subscribers
    Michelle Clancy | 15-07-2013
    CBS Corp and Netflix have announced an extension of their multi-year licensing agreement for select CBS library content. Under the revised deal, new titles such as L.A. Complex, 4400 and CSI: NY will be available to Netflix subscribers.
    "We are very pleased to build on this long-term partnership that continues to recognise the tremendous value of CBS's catalogue of content," said Scott Koondel, chief corporate content licensing officer for CBS Corp. "Netflix is a key programming partner that is additive to our overall business, and we look forward to working with them in the years to come."
    "We are delighted to be bringing these much-loved series to our members in the US," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "Our goal is to give Netflix members a broad mix of engaging shows to watch, and we look forward to adding even more high profile titles from CBS in the near future."
    In addition to the newly added series, the agreement also includes popular CBS series already on Netflix such as Jericho, Medium and Flashpoint, as well as episodes from some of television's most iconic franchises, including all generations of the definitive sci-fi series Star Trek and the cult favourite Twin Peaks.

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    Comcast completes digital migration in Cali, launching new 139 TV nets
    Michelle Clancy | 15-07-2013
    Comcast's California region has announced that it has completed its digital migration to a full digital delivery system in Santa Cruz County, and has launched 139 new television networks to residential homes and businesses as part of its growing Xfinity TV line-up.
    Comcast also increased Internet speeds in the area and launched new video packages, such as Family Tier, Digital Economy Video and MultiLatino.
    Earlier this summer, Comcast began a digital initiative which converted channels 2 to 82 from analogue to digital, and reclaimed analogue bandwidth to allow the company to launch these new products and services to customers, it said.
    The new programming will be available to residential homes and businesses which are Comcast customers in the following areas: Aptos, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Capitola, Davenport, Felton, La Selva Beach, Mount Herman, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Soquel and Watsonville.
    Among the dozens of new high definition (HD) channels will be networks like KICU, KQED Plus, Bravo, A&E, USA Network, Comedy Central, Food Network, Discovery, Travel, History Channel, Fox News Channel, CNBC, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, CNN HLN, MTV, msnbc, Turner Classic Movies, Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, Showtime and the NFL Network.
    Customers who do not receive HD channels will have new programming options as well. 17 new standard definition (SD) networks are launching, including Oxygen, Fox Business Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Hallmark Movie Channel, Ovation, NFL Redzone, Nuvo TV and GAC.
    In addition to the new networks, Comcast has also increased Internet speeds in Santa Cruz County for two of its most popular XFINITY Internet speed plans. The Performance plan is increasing download speeds from up to 8Mbps to speeds up to 15Mbps. And, the Blast! plan is increasing download speeds from up to 16Mbps to speeds up to 25Mbps, and upload speeds from up to 2Mbps to up to 4Mbps.

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    Nickelodeon green lights more episodes of hit show Sam & Cat
    Michelle Clancy | 15-07-2013
    Nickelodeon has ordered 20 additional episodes of its top-rated comedy Sam & Cat, the network's No 1 live-action series which averages 3.7 million total viewers.
    "Kids have already shown their love for Jennette and Ariana's crazy adventures and comedic talent in Sam & Cat," said Russell Hicks, president of content development and production at Nickelodeon. "We are thrilled to be delivering even more of their wild antics from this successful series."
    Sam & Cat drew more than 4.2 million viewers with its series premiere, making it the network's biggest live-action debut in three years. Additionally, since its 8 June launch, Sam & Cat is the No 1 live-action series on the Nick App, and the most visited page on Nick.com. The premiere episode of the series hit the No 1 spot on the iTunes TV episode chart, and all episodes since consistently rank among the top episodes on iTunes.
    Brand new episodes of Sam & Cat will continue to roll out this year and debut on Nick channels internationally beginning October. Upcoming guest stars include iconic comedy duo Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley) in their first appearance in a scripted series in over 30 years, and Sophia Grace and Rosie of The Ellen DeGeneres Show who reprise their roles as troublemakers Gwen and Ruby.

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    Gray Television changes up TV affiliate management
    Michelle Clancy | 15-07-2013
    Local TV affiliate owner Gray Television has announced several management changes at its television stations, beginning with the long-planned retirement of industry leader Don Ray after more than 40 years in the broadcast industry.
    Ray has served as a regional vice president at the company since 2005 and as the general manager of WSAZ-TV in Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia, since 1989. Under several different ownerships, including Lee Enterprises and Emmis Communications, Ray worked his way up through the sales ranks at WSAZ-TV, starting as an account executive in 1973.
    "We will miss Don's first-rate leadership of one of our dominant flagship stations, as well as his stewardship of his entire region," Gray Television president and CEO Hilton Howell said. "Don is a true broadcaster in the finest sense, committed to serving each community he touched."
    On 1 August, Matt Jaquint will fill the general manager position at WSAZ-TV. Ray has agreed to remain with Gray Television for an additional period to complete that transition effort.
    Jaquint was most recently the general manager at Newport Television's KTVX and KUCW in Salt Lake City. He led sales as general sales manager for WSAZ from 2002 to 2005, and he was general manager of Gray's WNDU in South Bend, Indiana, from 2006 until 2008. He has also worked in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa and El Paso markets.
    In addition, Gray announced new leadership at those television stations whose managers were promoted earlier this week to corporate positions. Howell explained: "With the appointment of four general managers to corporate positions earlier this week, we are happy to fill those vacancies from within Gray's large talent pool. Each new general manager brings a unique skill set to match their specific markets."
    Effective immediately, Gray has appointed the following: Don Vesely is now vice president and general manager of NBC affiliate WMTV in Madison; Heather Peeples is now vice president and general manager of CBS affiliate WCTV in Tallahassee; Vic Richards is now vice president and general manager of NBC affiliate WOWT in Omaha; and Susan Ramsett-Kretz is now vice president and general manager of CBS affiliate KOLN/KGIN and MY affiliate KSNB – all in the Lincoln television market – and KNPL in North Platte.
    Howell added: "With the changes announced earlier this week and today, Gray Television is poised to lead the broadcast industry by exploring new opportunities and building on our past success."


 

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