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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

White Spaces get Ofcom go-ahead Ofcom has given the green light for the launch of new wireless technology that utilises

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    White Spaces get Ofcom go-ahead

    Ofcom has given the green light for the launch of new wireless technology that utilises gaps in the radio spectrum known as white spaces.

    Following a series of successful trials, a number of projects are already underway. These include internet access for ships and boats in the Orkney Islands, wireless video streaming of meerkats at ZSL London Zoo, new ‘machine-to-machine’ networks for flood defence in Oxfordshire and Wi-Fi-like services at the University of Strathclyde.

    Philip Marnick, Ofcom Spectrum Group Director said: “Ofcom is laying the foundations for industry to use database controlled spectrum sharing to deliver innovative new services to benefit consumers and businesses.

    “Spectrum is an important but limited resource, which is why we’re exploring new ways of unlocking its potential, while balancing the needs of different users.”

    The regulator says White space spectrum in the TV frequency band is appealing for industry because it can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than the bands mainly used by other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

    To avoid interference, databases will communicate with these devices to give them technical constraints they must operate within. These databases identify locations, frequencies and times where white space devices will not affect existing users and will apply rules, set by Ofcom, which put limits on the power levels they can operate at.

    The frequencies are currently used for digital terrestrial TV, and on a shared basis with wireless microphones used for programme making and special events (PMSE).

    Based on the trials and stakeholder feedback, there is considerable interest from industry in developing this technology. Ofcom believes commercial applications for this white space technology could emerge by the end of the year.

    Ofcom is exploring how the white space in other spectrum bands could be used for similar innovation in the future.

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    TRT Türk to return to Unitymedia Kabel BW

    German cable operator Unitymedia Kabel BW will recommence carriage of Turkey’s international channel TRT Türk on February 13, 2015.

    The channel operated by Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT will be distributed unencrypted in standard resolution (SD). Unitymedia Kabel BW dropped TRT Türk from its lineup in January 2014 due to a lack of a carriage deal.

    Nine further Turkish-language channels are available in subscription package Digital-TV Türkisch. In total, the cable company offers more than 50 foreign-language channels.

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    Internet drives UPC Cablecom

    Internet access has been the main growth factor for Switzerland’s largest cable operator UPC Cablecom in 2014 with two out of three new internet customers opting for the Liberty Global subsidiary.

    UPC Cablecom which offers a data rate of 250Mbps throughout Switzerland recorded a total of 729,400 internet subscriptions at the end of 2014. 65,600 new internet customers were aded last year.

    468,700 customers were signed up for telephony from UPC Cablecom at the end of 2014 – an increase of 10,200 compared with 2013.

    8,800 customers opted for the mobile tariff the company introduced last year. Multimedia platform Horizon is now used by more than 220,000 Swiss households.

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    Horizon TV tops 1m subs

    Liberty Global reached the milestone figure of one million subscribers to Horizon TV this week in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Poland.

    In the company’s latest set of results, it says that the 914,000 figure posted at the end of 2014 was double the total a year earlier, with record take-up being seen in Germany. At the same time, the company gained 583,000 TiVo subscribers in the UK in 2014, ending the year with 2.5 million.

    Although Liberty gained 918,000 RGUs in Western Europe and 232,000 in CEE in 2014, its Dutch operation lost 26,000 due to strong competition.

    Looking at CEE, Liberty gained DTH subscribers in all four markets it operates a service in Q4, with the highest number being in Romania (19,000).

    Liberty’s revenues in 2014 amounted to $18,248.4 million, up from $14,474.2 million a year earlier. It had a net loss of $696 million attributable to shareholders, compared to $963.9 million in 2013. This was in part due to the $333 million gain on the sale of Chellomedia last January.

    Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries said, “2014 was a milestone year for us on many fronts. 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. The capstone of the year was the acquisition of Ziggo, which represents a unique opportunity for us to create national scale and become the leading challenger in the mobile and enterprise businesses in Holland, while opening up great opportunities for Dutch consumers and businesses. In terms of financial performance, we reported record revenue in excess of $18 billion and delivered on all of our 2014 guidance targets including an 18% increase in our Adjusted Free Cash Flow excluding Ziggo.”

    Looking forward to this year, he added that, “in 2015, we will continue to make strategic investments todifferentiate 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. We are also preparing for trials of DOCSIS 3.1 technology in the second half of this year, which we expect will meaningfully and cost effectively extend our speed leadership to 1GB when we begin commercial deployments and up to 10GB in the future. With our superior broadband network, the expansion of WiFi to 10 million locations by the end of 2015 and our new mobile launches across Europe, we are well positioned to offer consumers the best connectivity experience available in our markets”.

    From a financial perspective, Fries said, “looking ahead to 2015, we expect to deliver mid-single digit rebased OCF growth, along with $2.5
    billion of Adjusted Free Cash Flow, which would represent combined mid-teens growth on an FX adjusted basis. Our expectations are based on continued robust subscriber growth, improving pricing power, our rapidly growing mobile and B2B businesses and executing on the substantial synergy opportunities that we have already underway with our operational integrations taking place in the Netherlands and the UK.”

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    PSBs: No early start for Ultra HD

    Long term investment cycles and a conversion process for ‘standard’ HD that is still to complete indicate a move by Europe’s public service broadcasters into 4k could still be a long way off.

    “We’ve still got all of the regional opt outs and a long way to go with HD,” Richard Salmon, lead research engineer, BBC R&D, told the SES Ultra HD conference. Reminding delegates of the corporation’s Public Value Test, Salmon pointed to EBU members that had initially said they could not afford high definition broadcasting.

    “Our investment cycles in cameras are every 8 years and the investment cycle in lease is 25 years. The lenses we’re seeing for 4k cameras at the moment, we can’t afford many at 20, 25 thousand pounds a piece.”

    Yvonne Thomas, project manager, future television, EBU was a little more optimistic, suggesting there were members who may skip HD and go straight to Ultra HD. However, with terrestrial spectrum being reduced and what remains needing to be shared with mobile operators, she said there was a question as to whether operators would even invest in the DVB-T2 transmission technology that would reduce the required spectrum.

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    Orange Polska gains TV subs

    The Polish incumbent Orange Polska gained 41,000 subscribers to its TV services in 2014, ending the year with 748,000.

    On the other hand, its fixed broadband subscriber total fell by 2.6% year-on-year to 2,241,000, though this was offset by a 30.6% rise in mobile broadband customers to 1,521,000.

    The take-up of triple play services continued to grow, with the number of customers at year’s end (423,000) being 20.5% up on the same period in 2013.

    Orange Polska’s revenues in 2014 were, at PLN12,212 million (€2,910.2 million), down by 4.5% on the previous year.

    EBITDA was PLN3,921 million, down PLN125 million on 2013. Net income was PLN535 million, compared to PLN294 million in 2013, with EBITDA boosted by the PLN191 million gain on the sale of Wirtualna Polska.

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    Challenging year for Hravtski Telekom

    Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) saw little growth in its TV subscriber total in 2014.

    However, it ended the year as still the leading provider of pay-TV services in Croatia.

    The incumbent had 393,000 TV customers, a modest increase of 0.7% on the total posted a year earlier, as of the end of 2014.

    Its IPTV subscriber total was down by 2% to 333,000, cable unchanged at 6,000 and DTH up by 21.6% to 54,000. TV ARPU was up by 1.5% year-on-year to HRK80 (€10.4).

    T-HT’s revenues in 2014 amounted to HRK6,908 million, down 1.9% on a year earlier.

    Its net profit was 20.7% lower at HRK1,142 million.

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    Mediatec chooses Grass Valley for Nordic horseracing broadcasting

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 13 February 2015


    Mediatec Broadcast is airing action from nearly a dozen horse racing tracks across Norway, using Grass Valley, for a remote broadcasting solution.


    The Grass Valley gear can send camera feeds via fiber connections to its main facility in Oslo.

    The company has purchased 20 LDX Première cameras with digital triax connections and four LDX Première cameras with fibre connections. LDX Première cameras are upgradable, can switch between 1080i and 720p, and offer a feature set which is optimised for live productions.

    All of the camera control panels are located at one central location while the rest of the camera systems are located at the different horse race tracks around the country.

    "We had a very specific vision of how we wanted this to work," said Paul Henriksen, CEO of Mediatec Broadcast. "The team from Grass Valley listened to our needs and worked to tailor a solution that meets all of our requirements while delivering the outstanding broadcast quality and flexibility we demand in our operation. The solution is performing very well and doing everything we had hoped."

    Mediatec has been a Grass Valley customer for nearly a decade.

    "For years, Mediatec has relied on us for our expertise and experience to help them grow and succeed," noted Said Bacho, senior vice president for EMEA at Grass Valley. "They, like so many other companies in Europe, have built a very strong business model around our LDX Series cameras. Our advanced camera solutions continue to drive the quality and efficiency of broadcasters around the globe. That's why it's so critical to partner with a supplier like Grass Valley that really understands the business."

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    Amazon adds DISH's Sling TV to Fire TV

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 13 February 2015


    Amazon has added DISH Network's Sling TV over-the-top (OTT) service to the Fire TV line-up, along with FOX Sports GO, TED, WSJ Live, Crossy Road and Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series.


    "The response since we announced Sling TV at CES has been overwhelming, and we're excited to officially launch the service on a great platform, like Amazon Fire TV," said Sruta Vootukuru, director, business development and operations, Sling TV. "Fire TV customers now have access to live sports, lifestyle, family, and news channels—all for $20 per month."

    Amazon Fire TV has grown its streaming selection by fivefold since its launch April. "Many popular titles such as FOX Sports GO and Flappy Birds Family have launched exclusively on the Fire TV platform," explained Steve Rabuchin, vice president of the Amazon Appstore. "We're especially excited to be one of the first platforms to launch the Sling TV app—we think Fire TV and Fire TV Stick customers are going to love it."

    Meanwhile, publisher Devolver Digital has launched a range of games on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick that have previously only been available for console and PC gaming, including Luftrausers, Always Sometimes Monsters and OlliOlli. Devolver Digital will bring six more games exclusively to Fire TV devices in the coming months, the companies said, including Gods Will Be Watching, Not a Hero, and Titan Souls.

    "Working with many indie developers, we are always thinking about how we can expand the reach of their games," said Harry Miller, co-founder at Devolver Digital. "Bringing our games to Amazon Fire TV was a no brainer, as it brings our much loved and unique indie games, to the large global audience that Amazon reaches."

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    ComScore, Kantar to develop cross-media ad measurement

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 13 February 2015


    comScore has announced a strategic alliance with WPP's data investment management division, Kantar.


    The alliance, which covers territories outside the US, establishes a framework for cross-media audience and advertising campaign measurement capabilities.

    The alliance follows the announcement of the intended acquisition by WPP of a substantial equity stake in comScore — somewhere between 15% and 20%.

    comScore will also acquire the assets of Kantar's Internet audience measurement businesses in certain European markets.

    "This long-term, strategic alliance will simplify the deployment of global measurement capabilities and accelerate the creation of new services for the industry," said comScore CEO Serge Matta.

    "The emerging mediascape points to a massive global opportunity waiting to be unlocked by cracking the code on cross-media audience and campaign measurement. We look forward to working together with Kantar to deliver new measurement products based on our complementary offerings in these markets."

    Kantar CEO Eric Salama added, "By partnering with comScore and combining our respective strengths, we will integrate data and expertise to give our clients a new standard in measuring audiences and campaigns across multiple platforms. This continues our strategy of combining survey, panel and census data and putting digital at the heart of all we do."


 

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