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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Netflix launches in the Netherlands September 11, 2013 08.59 Europe/London By Robert Briel WiiNetflixNetflix is launching its video streaming service

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    Netflix launches in the Netherlands
    September 11, 2013 08.59 Europe/London By Robert Briel

    WiiNetflixNetflix is launching its video streaming service in the Netherlands charging EUR7.99 per month.
    The Netherlands marks Netflix’s 41st country of operations. The move was first announced by the company in June.
    The online movie and TV show company now has more than 37 million streaming customers around the world, with about 30 million in the U.S.
    CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement that the Dutch have “incredible” broadband, but “haven’t been able to take full advantage of their fast connections until Netflix’s arrival.”
    Programming on offer includes Netflix originals and exclusives House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black and Derek, TV series including Dexter, Homeland, Lost, Modern Family, Pretty Little Liars, Spartacus and The Vampire Diaries, Scandinavian miniseries The Killing and The Bridge as well as Dutch productions.
    Movies include The Kite Runner, The King’s Speech, Kill Bill – Vol.2 and The Expendables.
    Netflix is available on PCs, Macs, a variety of smart phones and internet players as well as on smart TVs from LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.
    Broadcaster RTL is preparing to compete with Netflix as it will launch its own SVOD service later this fall using the Videoland brand.
    For the past few months the company has been negotiating VOD rights with major studios – in competition with premium broadcasters HBO and Chellomedia’s Film1, who both offer linear channels (three HBO and five Film1) as well as SVOD and TV Everywhere services.

    Editor’s note. It will be interesting to see if Netflix will strike a similar deal in the Netherlands as it did with Virgin in the UK, marking the first agreement between an OTT provider and an establsihed cable platform.

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    Atresmedia brings ¡Hola! to US pay-TV
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 12-09-2013

    Atresmedia is to launch celebrity and lifestyle channel ¡Hola! TV on cable platforms in the US and Latin America.
    The channel targets the Latin audience, as it is completely in Spanish, and will premiere within the next few weeks.
    ¡Hola! TV will bring to TV the same type of content which its magazine namesake publishes. Royal families, celebrities, human interest stories, fashion and lifestyle will fill the schedule of the channel, which is the publishing house's first venture into the audiovisual market. "It's a great opportunity to make the ¡Hola! brand grow, and it's a natural step in our strategy of reaching the multiplatform environment," explained Eduardo Sánchez Pérez, the magazine's editor.
    ¡Hola! is currently edited in 26 different versions around the world and has over 15 million weekly readers. The magazine is "especially strong in Latin America, where it's edited in almost every country, and we top the genre's figures," adds Sánchez Pérez.
    The new pay-TV channel is headed by Ignacio Sanz de Acedo and is being produced from Miami. Atresmedia is in charge of programming strategy and content production, which is directly supervised by Grupo Planeta.
    The project opens "a very attractive door to two markets with huge potential: Latin America and the Hispanic audience in the US," points out Javier Nuche, strategy director at Atresmedia.

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    Hispasat considers merger or acquisition
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 12-09-2013

    Hispasat may be considering buying another operator or merging with a foreign company after the failure of negotiations with Satmex, some of the former's executives admitted to EFE.
    Hispasat intends to grow worldwide, with a special focus on Latin America, particularly since Abertis took control of Hispasat.
    "We have identified other opportunities regarding similar or smaller satellite operators," said Carlos Espinos, Hispasat's CEO, at an event held for investors in Río de Janeiro. There were no names or specifics given, but the companies under interest are understood to operate in America or Europe and "are open to merge," Espinos said.
    Hispasat's ambitions have increased since Eutelsat Communications bought the Mexican company Satmex at the end of July. The Spanish company was also bidding for Satmex in order to reinforce its position in Latin America, where it currently has 11% of the satellite market. The delay in the Abertis takeover during summer was one of the main reasons why Hispasat couldn't rely on Satmex.
    The Mexican company was an interesting proposition for its market but also for the satellite positions it has. "Another strategy is to compete for new orbits," pointed out Espinos. "If in the future the market opens throughout China or India, we will take our opportunities," he said, although Hispasat hasn't shown interest in Asian markets so far.

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    Alcatel-Lucent brings TV everywhere, cloud services to Telecable
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 12-09-2013

    Alcatel-Lucent and Telecable, Spain's regional fibre operator, are working together in order to launch a TV everywhere service before the end of the year. The platform will be based on IPTV technology and will offer a personal recording service on the cloud, according to Europa Press.
    Alcatel-Lucent's IP technology will increase the availability of its pay-TV service, which is already operating on various devices including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
    Telecable launched Tedi last month, a new brand for its interactive TV. However, the whole DVR catch-up service was dependent upon an advanced set-top box which was able to record up to 250 hours on its 500GB hard disk. Now, Alcatel-Lucent has brought the DVR service to the cloud, although there have been no details about how much a single client will be able to record.
    The technological solution includes Alcatel-Lucent's own video IP products, plus some innovations from Telecable's other technological partners. The cloud platform will be powered by The Platform's mpx and Alcatel-Lucent's software to manage services, subscriptions, content and a time-shifted TV service.
    With this agreement, Telecable aims to increase its presence in the sector and offer services to compete with online and video-on-demand operators, its biggest competition.

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    MobiTV takes Deutsche Telekom's IPTV service to mobile screens
    Jörn Krieger | 12-09-2013

    MobiTV, the US provider of TV everywhere solutions, has completed the first phase of the rollout of its partnership with Deutsche Telekom set up to take the German telco's IPTV platform Entertain to mobile devices.
    The new multiscreen service Entertain to go will deliver live TV and on-demand programming across multiple screens.
    "Advancements in wireless technology, network quality and content availability are changing the way consumers discover, access and view video programming," said Charlie Nooney, chairman and CEO at MobiTV. "Consumers want to be able to choose when, where and on which devices they view their content. Deutsche Telekom has been at the forefront of this transformation in the industry and the MobiTV team is proud to be at the core of the solution."
    MobiTV's software solution has been deployed to expand Deutsche Telekom's converged service offering extending the proposition of live TV and on-demand programming to multiple screens. By integrating MobiTV's software solution, the telco has expanded its IPTV service to deliver prime time shows, live sports events and video-on-demand (VOD) services to smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TV sets.
    "Since rolling out Entertain to our customers, we have continued to offer options to ensure that our customers are provided the latest in technology so they have the best quality of experience," said Marc Schwarze, vice-president consumer marketing TV at Telekom Deutschland. "MobiTV's collaboration has helped us change the landscape for our customers and will allow them to break out of the home and experience their content wherever and whenever."
    The MobiTV solution enables service providers to deliver live and on-demand TV and movies in and outside the home across all types of devices and platforms. The company's customers include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon.

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    South Africa gains Level 3 PoP for global video delivery
    Rebecca Hawkes | 12-09-2013

    Level 3 Communications has expanded its Vyvx network through a new point of presence (PoP) in Johannesburg, allowing the swift broadcast of video content internationally from South Africa.
    The POP also enables the ready reception of broadcast content from North America, Western Europe and Latin America.
    "Using Level 3's expansive African telecommunications and media network, South Africa is well positioned for growth in the international broadcast sector," said Mark Taylor, vice president of Media and IP Services, Level 3.
    "Level 3 is proud to serve as a conduit for faster, more reliable video communications in and out of South Africa."
    South Africa's Telemedia is providing its media customers using on-net access to the Vyvx global network.
    "Level 3's growing broadcast infrastructure and network scalability is helping us expand our business into new markets across the globe," said Tom Salmon, manager, data services, Telemedia.
    "As South Africa's leading provider of media broadcast services, Telemedia is committed to giving customers the national and international reach they need, and Level 3 plays a critical role in that delivery."

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    ActiveVideo’s Cloud TV meets Horizon
    September 12, 2013 08.00 Europe/London By Robert Briel

    dashboardActiveVideo’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 on-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.

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    Freesat brings in low cost connected box
    September 12, 2013 08.48 Europe/London By Julian Clover

    Freesat HD BoxFreesat has launched a new low cost satellite receiver, bringing its connected service Freetime for around £99.
    The HUMAX-manufactured HD box will be available at John Lewis, Currys PC World and a range of independents.
    Included on Freetime are On Demand services BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and YouTube in addition to the 180 linear digital TV and radio channels.
    “The new Freesat HD with freetime box is a natural extension of our award winning TV service, and it’s great to build on the popularity of the service, “said Matthew Huntington, Freesat’s CTO. “It’s a product we’re really proud of, offering the popular benefits of freetime such as Catch-Up and On-Demand TV, including BBC iPlayer, 4oD and YouTube, via a slick TV Guide which rolls back in time and also gives recommendations on what to watch.”
    Graham North, commercial director of Humax, commented: “The affordable Humax HB-1000S brings the seamless freetime TV guide to cost-conscious consumers, opening up the opportunity for more people to benefit from this leading subscription-free satellite service. It offers the first low-cost option for the freetime range, without compromising on the performance and quality that TV viewers expect from Humax and Freesat.”
    Launched a year ago, Freetime has been well received, additional features including remote record and a remote control app for phones and tablets are in the pipeline.

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    Vivendi separation moves closer
    September 12, 2013 08.15 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

    Canal+ wallVivendi has moved a step closer to being divided into two parts: the telecom hub SFR and international media group based in France combining Canal+, Universal Music and Brazil’s GVT.
    This follows a Supervisory Board meeting at which Vincent Bolloré was unanimously appointed its vice chairman and Jean-René Fourtou retained the position of chairman.
    The two now have the task of overseeing a separation of Vivendi into two entities, a study of which has now been launched by the Board.
    At the end of this study, it will decide in early 2014 on whether or not to implement it.
    If the decision is positive, the separation will take between 6-12 months to implement.
    Aside from the separation, Vivendi has also announced plans sell Maroc Telecom and the majority of its stake in the leading video game company Activision Blizzard.

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    Fransat launches connected TV service portal
    September 13, 2013 14.13 Europe/London By Robert Briel

    Fransat is unveiling its Fransat Connect interactive portal using the HbbTV standard at IBC Amsterdam.
    The portal is designed for connected TV sets and decoders compatible with the Fransat satellite platform. It will be displayed on Eutelsat’s stand at IBC (Hall 1 – stand D59).
    In addition to linear television and radio channels, Fransat Connect will provide viewers with a wide range of interactive services including programme guides, infotainment, access to catch-up services and video on demand.
    Viewers can select to display the portal on their TV screen in full-screen mode and through the Fransat Info channel or as a banner displayed on any channel by pressing a dedicated button on the remote control (depending on equipment installed).
    Fransat’s CEO Jean-Luc Deroudilhe said: “Starting from a base of subscription-free digital channels for French homes beyond range of DTT reception Fransat is transforming into a fully fledged platform able to offer linear and non-linear services. Our vision is to provide users with an intuitive and straightforward interface that matches viewer expectations for a broader television experience.”
    FRANSAT Connect is available via a new range of HbbTV-compatible satellite receivers referenced by FRANSAT. This range includes an external decoder model “XENA HD Twin CONNECT” produced and distributed by ASTON (see presentation below), and a large selection of TV displays with an integrated satellite tuner fitted with a FRANSAT CAM module. This new generation of hybrid satellite receivers combines reception of linear channels via satellite with interactive non-linear content transmitted to the TV set via a broadband connection.
    In addition to the new portal designed for display on TV screens, Fransat is launching a companion application to enable viewers to access the Fransat Connect programme guide on smartphones and tablets . This application will also act as a virtual remote control and enable viewers to manage programme alerts and easily set recordings.


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