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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Freeview preps for connected TV play with rebrand DetailsEditor | 13 February 2015 The Freeview DTT service has undergone a

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    Freeview preps for connected TV play with rebrand

    DetailsEditor | 13 February 2015


    The Freeview DTT service has undergone a major rebrand in preparation for a new product launch that will see the introduction of Freeview Play, a mass market connected TV offer.


    Freeview PLayThe new connected TV offer, due to launch later this year, will give viewers the freedom to choose the programmes they want, when they want. Freeview will roll out the new brand identity for launch.

    "Our new brand identity is bold and contemporary and will stand out in what is a very crowded TV market. Today marks the start of an exciting future for the Freeview brand," explained Guy North, Freeview managing director. "Freeview has been built on a vision to make television available to all free from subscription. In the same way that we took the UK from analogue to digital, Freeview Play is the next step in that vision and it will put the viewer in control, without complexity, commitment or unnecessary cost – we want to keep television fair and open for everyone. That means giving consumers the freedom to choose the TV they want, the way they want it."

    Freeview Play will combines catch-up TV — from the likes of the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Channel 4's 4oD, soon to be called All 4 — plus on-demand and live television. Available free from subscription, in a range of new TVs and boxes and enabled with any existing broadband service, Freeview Play will allow viewers to search for programmes by either using the scroll back function in the TV guide or the apps page.

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    SeaChange, Concurrent partner to seal major multiscreen win

    DetailsEditor | 13 February 2015


    Video services provider SeaChange has teamed up with content delivery and video analytics firm Concurrent to supply software and content delivery network technologies to a leading US video service provider.


    seachangeIn conjunction with its Adrenalin multiscreen video software, SeaChange is re-selling Concurrent's UpShift unified content delivery solution and object storage, to deliver an integrated solution for streaming live and on-demand services to IP-connected devices, as well as TV set-top boxes.

    "We're excited to be working with SeaChange to deliver an end-to-end multiscreen solution for customers interested in launching IP video services and applications like cloud DVR," said Concurrent CEO Derek Elder. "Our UpShift CDN solution supports video streaming services to any device from a common software platform, making it an ideal fit for customers who are transitioning their core TV services to IP."

    Added SeaChange CEO Jay Samit: "Concurrent is an established leader in the video streaming market and our partnership enables more video service providers to take advantage o f... open software platforms in combination with the market's best of breed technologies. We're looking forward to a deployment that produces new value for our joint customer."

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    Virgin embarks on huge extension of UK fibre network

    DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 13 February 2015


    Assisted by its corporate parent Liberty Global, UK cableco Virgin Media is embarking on what it claims is the UK's single largest investment in broadband digital infrastructure for more than a decade.


    VM-EastLondon 20190Virgin believes that there is a huge need to make the upgrade and offer added bandwidth. It calculates that three-fifths of its customers now have at least three devices connected to their home broadband, up from 37% a year ago. Data usage on the Virgin Media cable network is currently growing at a rate of around 60% every year which, if this trend continues, will be 10,000% higher in ten years.

    The so-called Project Lightning will see Virgin extend its fibre-rich network to approximately four million additional premises over the next five years. This will increase the number of homes and businesses to which Virgin Media can offer services by almost a third; from around half of the country today to nearly 17 million premises by 2020.

    "Millions of homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit for the first time from broadband speeds at least twice as fast as those available from the other major providers," said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media chief executive officer. "Consumers and business owners who want to make the switch to better broadband speeds now have an alternative."

    Mike Fries, Liberty Global CEO, added: "Our next-generation fibre-rich networks reach 50 million households across Europe, enabling our customers to discover and experience the endless possibilities of the digital world. After a record operating performance, Project Lightning is a significant investment that demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Media and the UK as a place to do business."

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    Video churn falls, Horizon nears 1MN in strong 2014 for Liberty

    DetailsEditor | 13 February 2015


    Over a million organic RGU additions, added demand for the next-gen Horizon TV platform and the best organic cash flow growth in three years were the stand-outs in a strong fiscal 2014 for Liberty Global.


    liberty globalFor the year ended 31 December 2014, 900,000 Internet additions were seen, powered by what it said was the company's superior broadband speeds, it also boasted the lowest annual video churn since 2006 and a subscriber loss of 223,000 for the full-year including 35,000 in Q4 alone.

    Liberty ended the year with 3.5 million advanced TV customers, doubling the total Horizon TV base to 914,000 subscribers across the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Poland, including record take-up in Germany during Q4. Through Virgin Media it also now has 2.5 million TiVo subscribers in the UK, adding 583,000 subscribers in 2014. During 2014, it enhanced its video offer with services such as Horizon Go, a multiscreen video service with out-of-home capabilities, which launched in eight countries, and MyPrime, an SVOD streaming service, now live in four markets. Liberty ended the year with 15.9 million digital TV subscribers, representing 68% of the total base.

    "2014 was a milestone year for us on many fronts," said CEO Mike Frie." We increased the pace of innovation in broadband, video, and wireless, delivered steady organic subscriber growth, continued driving operational efficiencies and achieved all of our financial targets. Innovation remains a key focus, enabling us to offer our customers cutting-edge products and services which, in turn, supports our pricing strategy. In 2015, we will continue to make strategic investments to differentiate our products and continue driving demand for our next-generation platform, Horizon TV, which crossed the one million subscriber milestone this week, along with increasing usage of our Horizon Go app and our MyPrime video-streaming service."

    Liberty is also preparing for trials of DOCSIS 3.1 cable technology in the second half of 2105 that it expects will enable it to extend speeds to 1GB.

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    Rapid rise in Ultra HD sales as prices tumble

    Sales of Ultra HD (4k) TV sets have risen dramatically against a background of increasing screen sizes and falling prices.

    Nigel Catlow, business group director, consumer electronics, told the SES Ultra HD Conference in London that in 2014 the UK market was 200,000 pieces.

    “What we’ve had in the TV market is an explosion of flat screens. We’ve seen sales of 70 million sets into 26 million homes.” Catlow explained this was a replacement market that made it tough for manufacturers and retailers to expand the market. “When people replace they then want to replace with better, leaving much room for innovation.” Catlow told delegates there had been a massive increase in screen size but a reduction in footprint as sets have got smaller.

    In 1994 the average set boasted a 19 inch screen. Over time the average screen size sold had moved up by an inch a year to head close to 40 inches. At the same time the average price has reduced the cost per inch from £16 in 1994 to £10 in 2014.

    50 inch TVs now represent one third of market value, which Catlow described as being an ‘enormous potential’. A side effect has been a growth in the Soundbar market.

    With prices for a 4k set now well below £1,500 there has been a rapid rise in monthly volumes. By December 2014 the average price was below £1,000, and half the market volume is now below that price.

    Internationally, Catlow said France, Germany and the UK all sold around 200,000 units in 2014, 60,000 in December.

    Catlow said a rapid decline in price was to be expected. This was currently at £175 on average screen sizes, leading to greater take up.

    GfK is currently forecasting a market of 2 million pieces within three years.

    However, Catlow said Freeview HD, which had a greater amount of content available at the same point in its growth, was also ahead on sales.

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    Netflix House of Cards built too early

    Netflix has accidentally put the third series of House of Cards online, two weeks ahead of its official release.

    According to The Guardian, it was available to viewers for around 30 minutes before being withdrawn by the company.

    The report adds that entire season was listed with episode titles and descriptions.

    Commenting on the error, a Netflix spokesman said that, “due to a technical glitch some Frank Underwood fans got a sneak peak”.

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    Virgin to make largest internet infrastructure investment for a decade

    Virgin Media and Liberty Global have announced plans to connect an additional 4 million UK homes and businesses to the cablenet’s fibre network.

    The £3 billion investment, dubbed Project Lightning, is Britain’s largest investment in broadband digital infrastructure for more than a decade. It is anticipated to create 6,000 direct new jobs, including 1,000 new apprenticeships over the next five years.

    On completion Virgin Media, which has been stuck at 50% coverage for most of the last decade, will reach 17 million homes. Under the ownership of Liberty Global, Virgin has begun the process of expanding its network to 110,000 homes across east London, Glasgow, Sunderland and Teesside.

    Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I welcome this substantial investment from Virgin Media which is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to support business and create jobs by building a superfast nation backed by world-class infrastructure. These 6,000 new jobs and apprenticeships will mean financial security and economic peace of mind for thousands more hardworking families across the country. Together with this Government’s rollout of superfast broadband which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain.”

    Mike Fries, Liberty Global Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our next-generation fibre-rich networks reach 50 million households across Europe, enabling our customers to discover and experience the endless possibilities of the digital world. After a record operating performance, Project Lightning is a significant investment that demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Media and the UK as a place to do business.”

    Last month, BT announced plans to deliver ultrafast speeds of up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade. The telco plans to deploy G.fast, a digital subscriber line (DSL) standard, designed for local loops shorter than 250 metres.

    Virgin is touting broadband speeds of 152 Mbps, though twice as fast as current speeds from its immediate competitors, in the ball park of the a “few hundred megabits per second” touted by BT as an initial offer.

    Liberty Global is also preparing trials of DOCSIS 3.1 technology across Europe later this year. This technology could extend Liberty Global’s speed leadership to up to 10Gb when it is fully deployed in the future.

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    Liberty Global unblocks German cable acquisition

    The takeover of German cable operator Kabel BW by US media company Liberty Global, parent company of Unitymedia, is now legally binding.

    The competitors Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne who lodged objections against the approval of the acquisition by the Federal Cartel Office in January 2012 have revoked their complaints. The Cartel Office has consented to the withdrawal, according to Unitymedia Kabel BW.

    The move is based on a settlement reached in Q4 2014 according to which Liberty Global will make a payment to the appellants. The extent of the payment has not been disclosed.

    Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne took legal action against the anti-trust clearance of the merger arguing that it would have negative impact on competition in the cable and broadband market.

    The regional appeal court Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf ruled in favour of the appellants and suspended the Cartel Office’s approval of the acquisition in August 2013. Liberty Global subsequently submitted an objection against the ruling at the Federal Court of Justice.

    Once the Federal Court of Justice terminates its proceedings which is expected to occur during Q1 2015, the Federal Cartel Office’s clearance of Liberty Global’s Kabel BW takeover will become final and binding without any additional review or conditions.

    The settlement gives Liberty Global security in the German market. In the worst case, the company would have faced the unbundling of its already merged German units Kabel BW and Unitymedia or stricter conditions imposed by the Federal Cartel Office.

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    TNTSat disables receiver functions

    Owners of TNTSat receivers in France found a number of functions disabled after the latest software update, which was uploaded automatically.

    According to the French website Tele-Satellite, people are no longer able to record any programmes on an external hard disk, as the USB port was disabled. People are also no longer able to watch Youtube videos on their receiver.

    The software update was sent on January 19, and has since led to a barrage of complaints from viewers. The receivers involved are Strong, Thomson, Sedea and Humax. According to the site, some problems have been resolved, but users of the TNTSat Humax TN5050HD are still not able to use all functions of the receiver.

    Humax France has confirmed the software limitations and said this was due to demands of Canal+, who operates the TNTSat service.

    TNTSat is the ‘free-to-view’ satellite DTH service on Astra of the Canal+ group. It offers the complete bouquet of terrestrial channels in the TNT digital terrestrial network to those people who do not have sufficient coverage. People need to buy a TNTSat receiver and a dedicated smart card, which is to be renewed every four years at cost price (currently EUR14).


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    Unitymedia Kabel BW adds 71,000 Horizon customers

    Germany’s second-largest cable operator Unitymedia Kabel BW has gained 71,000 new customers for its multimedia platform Horizon in Q4 2014 – a new record.

    The growth is based on the continuing strong demand at Unitymedia and on the introduction of Horizon by Kabel BW in November 2014, according to the subsidiary of US media company Liberty Global.

    In the whole year 2014, the number of Horizon customers rose by 187,000 to 245,000. More than 170,000 customers have signed up for mobile TV service Horizon Go.

    For TV, internet and telephony, Unitymedia Kabel BW recorded 139,000 new contracts in Q1 2014 – an increase by 2% compared with the same quarter in 2013. In total, the company now has 2.9 million internet customers and 2.7 million telephony customers.

    65% of all new customers opt for packages with internet speeds of 100Mbps or more. Since November 2014, Unitymedia Kabel BW has been offering data rates of up to 200Mbps.


 

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