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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Windstream expands Kinetic IPTV in North Carolina Kinetic, Windstream’s next-generation IPTV service, has rolled out in 13 North Carolina communities.

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    Windstream expands Kinetic IPTV in North Carolina

    Kinetic, Windstream’s next-generation IPTV service, has rolled out in 13 North Carolina communities.

    windstream kinetic 10 nov 2016More than 50,000 residents across Albemarle, Badin, China Grove, Concord, Harrisburg, Hemby Bridge, Indian Trail, Kannapolis, Matthews, Mooresville, Mt Pleasant, New London and Oakboro can now sign up for the new television service, which uses the company’s fibre-backed network to provide an enhanced viewing experience.

    “Our ability to offer customers new services and technologies that best meet their needs continues to be our top priority,” said Sarah Day, president of consumer and small business for Windstream. “Earlier this year, we announced 1 Gig service to North Carolina residents. The launch of Kinetic marks an important next step in our continued commitment to providing North Carolina residents with access to high quality TV and Internet experiences.”

    Kinetic is powered by the Ericsson Mediaroom platform.

    North Carolina is the fourth Kinetic market following launches in Lincoln, Lexington and Sugar Land in 2015 and 2016.
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    Discovery signs up for Kwesé TV distribution


    Four Discovery channels are destined for Econet Media’s Kwesé TV after a content deal was sealed between the US broadcaster and nascent African pay-TV platform.

    Discovery IDX How Not to Kill Your HusbandThe non-fiction channels – mystery and suspense channel IDX, Discovery Science, Animal Planet and the new turbo-charged entertainment channel DTX – will be available when Kwesé TV launches.

    “Our purpose is to give our audiences access to the best programming from all over the world,” said Joseph Hundah, CEO, Econet Media. “Discovery’s thought-provoking and compelling content is globally recognised for its quality and entertainment value. These channels are a natural fit for Kwesé, adding a unique dimension to our programming which we believe will appeal to our different audiences across Africa.”

    “Joining forces with Kwesé represents our commitment to expand our African consumer fan-base and bring our content to more audiences, across more screens than ever before,” said Dilek Doyran, vice president of commercial development, Discovery Networks CEEMEA.

    “IDX is one of our most globally successful channels, with sticky content that keeps its female audiences gripped to their seats as the mystery unfolds; while DTX, our newest channel brand for younger males, offers lovers of turbo programming a dedicated home to quench their first for everything fast and loud. With Animal Planet and Discovery Science included, this is the perfect channel line-up for the whole family to enjoy,” he added.

    The content deal will bring African audiences Discovery Science programming such as Stephen Hawking’s Universe, Alien Encounters and Storm Rider next year, while Animal Planet will have new wildlife shows in 2017 such as Deadliest South Africa and Meet the Penguins, as well as the globally popular series Treehouse Masters.

    IDX, meanwhile, carries real-life stories of passion and revenge, with content next year including People Magazine Investigates, How (Not) to Kill Your Husband (pictured) and Married with Secrets.

    DTX will debut in Africa on Kwesé with content focused on speed, adrenaline and extreme sports including a dedicated Eurosport block on Sundays. The channel’s programming early next year includes How it’s Made: Dream Cars, Kindig Customs and Fantomworks.

    DTX will be exclusive to Kwesé across Africa, alongside Animal Planet, which will be exclusive in select markets including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Uganda.
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    YouTube launches Daydream VR app



    YouTube has launched a standalone virtual reality (VR) app which will be available on Daydream, Google’s new virtual reality platform that’s cooked into the latest version of Android.

    youtube vr app 10 Nov 2016VR videos can be viewed using Daydream-compatible smartphones — including Google’s newly-launched Pixel — which slot into the Daydream View headset. The Daydream View, priced at $79, is a follow-up to Google’s first-ever VR headset, Cardboard.

    “We want to continue to provide you with new ways to engage with the world and with your community, and we believe virtual reality will play an important role in the future of storytelling,” said product manager Erin Teague and director of creators Jamie Byrne, in a blog.


    “More than just an amazing new technology, VR allows us to make deep, human connections with people, places and stories. That’s why we’re committed to giving creators the space and resources they need to learn about, experiment with, and create virtual reality video. In fact, we’ve already started working with some awesome creators, recording artists, and partners who are producing VR videos across a wide variety of genres and interest areas on YouTube.”

    The content will include 360° videos for a VR viewing experience, from producers like beauty vlogger Meredith Foster, Tastemade’s VR cooking videos and breaking news in VR from HuffPost RYOT.

    “We’ve also been working to allow you to have experiences or visit places you might not be able to (or might not dare to!) in real life,” said Teague and Byrne. “Go swimming with sharks thanks to Curiscope, get a first-hand look at a living, breathing dinosaur at the Natural History Museum in London, travel to Belize with StyleHaul, hike a trail a thousand miles away with Daniel and Kelli at Fitness Blender, or watch Tritonal in concert no matter where you are.”
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    MultiChoice’s latest STB DStv Explora available across African footprint

    South Africa’s MultiChoice has now launched its new DStv Explora 2 pay-TV decoder from ARRIS to customers across sub-Saharan Africa

    MultiChoiceExplora 2AIt is the fourth generation of HD PVR device that ARRIS and MultiChoice have launched together and is aimed at simplifying access to MultiChoice's on-demand services such as ShowMax.

    Based on HEVC technology, the set-top box (STB) will, in the future, reduce the bandwidth needed to stream or download shows, helping to lower customers’ data charges from streaming or downloading content.

    The device features a streamlined hard drive and ships with a new remote control that features motion-sensor back-lit buttons and a dedicated ShowMax button.

    “We invest in technology that enables us to offer our customers the leap in entertainment at the best value,” said Gerdus van Eeden, Group CTO of the video entertainment unit of MultiChoice’s parent company Naspers.

    “We’ve collaborated with ARRIS on our HD PVR decoders for nearly a decade, and we're confident in their ability to deliver advanced technology to make tomorrow's entertainment more accessible today. The DStv Explora 2 will help us to offer our customers a wider range of entertainment which they can stream or download to watch when they are read."

    Steve McCaffery, managing director, international sales and business operations, ARRIS, added: “ARRIS and MultiChoice have a long-term partnership, and we’ve built on this by designing another set-top for MultiChoice that uniquely addresses the needs of their customers. Fitting their new HD PVR platform with HEVC was an elegant solution for delivering their full range of HD content.”

    Additionally the company’s local presence enabled ARRIS to continue manufacturing the STBs in South Africa, representing “our reciprocal investment in the region,” McCaffery said.
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    BBC’s The Turning Forest VR launches for Google



    BBC Research & Development’s (R&D) experimental The Turning Forest virtual reality (VR) fairy tale launches next week for Daydream, Google’s mobile VR offering.

    bbc turning forest 10 nov 2016Produced by BBC R&D in collaboration with virtual reality production studio VRTOV, The Turning Forest is available free to all audiences.

    In a magical forest, a young child stares into the eyes of a fantastical creature. Together, the two embark on a journey that transports audiences into an entrancing realm of folkish dimension and boundless imagination.

    The Turning Forest was created as part of the BBC’s ongoing work exploring emerging technology and new storytelling mediums for future audiences.

    “The Turning Forest is unique in that it’s been designed from the sound up, using state-of-the-art audio to help transport people to a magical world,” said Zillah Watson, executive producer, BBC R&D. “It takes advantage of decades of research and experience from our own R&D team, partners and universities to create a beautiful soundscape that we hope people will love. We’re delighted to bring this latest experiment to even more audiences and we can’t wait to hear what they think.”

    Having debuted at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, The Turning Forest was originally created for the Oculus Rift. It has now been enhanced to further improve the spatial sound design, introduce new controller interactions and include new surprises to discover in the magical forest. The sound was adapted from an original soundtrack commissioned for S3A: Future Spatial Audio for an Immersive Listener Experience at Home, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
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    ICFLIX expands VOD reach with Zain Bahrain


    Dubai-based video streaming service ICFLIX has enhanced its potential subscriber base in the Middle East through a tie-up with telco Zain Bahrain.

    icflix 30 May 2016 Zain Bahrain’s pre-paid and post-paid customers will be able to enjoy ICFLIX’ streamed content for a monthly fee of BD3, following a one-month free trial. A weekly plan costing BD1 and a daily plan at BD0.4 are also on offer to customers, with a simple one-click registration process.

    “This partnership will give Zain Bahrain customers a value-for-money entertainment experience,” said Carlos Tibi, founder and CEO, ICFLIX. “We will ensure the customers receive the best of ICFLIX content with ease and uncompromising quality whether it’s at home or on-the-go on their smart phones or tablets.”

    As well as Hollywood and Bollywood content, the video-on-demand (VOD) service offers original ICFLIX productions, such as the Arab world’s first teen female superhero animated series, Dunia, and popular Arab TV series and hit movies including Qalb Al Asad, Giran Al Saad and Tattah.

    “We are very pleased to be announcing this important strategic partnership with ICFLIX,” said Roland Loetscher, marketing director, Zain Bahrain. “With its focus on customer experience, Zain Bahrain tends to be first-to-market with unique digital lifestyle offerings that provide customers with high quality content. We are certain our customers will enjoy having on-demand access to such a large selection of content via their smart devices, making for a richer and more enjoyable digital experience.”
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    US election is largest event ever delivered for Akamai

    The 2016 US presidential election has become the largest news event ever delivered by Akamai Technologies.

    election day nbc 10 nov 2016Live video traffic specific to the election peaked at 7.5Tbps on the Akamai Platform shortly before midnight Eastern Time on Election Day.

    To put that into historical perspective, Election Day traffic on Akamai in 2004 peaked at a relatively modest 21Gbps. The 2009 Obama inauguration reached 1.1Tbps, and the Royal Wedding in 2011 hit 1.3Tbps. More recently, the first 2016 Presidential debate peaked at 4.4Tbps in September.

    “In what has already been a record-setting year for live streaming with the European soccer finals, Rio and the recent Presidential debates, Akamai has again helped our customers deliver unprecedented levels of online video with last night’s election coverage,” said Bill Wheaton, EVP and GM of media at Akamai. “Not only are more people watching online in general, they’re watching at higher quality, which contributes to the increasingly higher peaks in traffic that we’re observing.”

    Yesterday also marked the inauguration of Akamai’s Broadcast Operations Control Center (BOCC) in a Presidential election. Numerous customers took advantage of the dedicated facility, technical staff and services for real-time support and operational insight, the company said.
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    Thailand’s Next Step integrates ATEME TITAN in DTH platform

    Thai multi-channel operator Next Step has opted for ATEME’s TITAN encoding and transcoding format for its Freeview HD and Good TV free-to-air satellite services.


    The infrastructure contract called for ATEME to provide Next Step with a complete video headend, comprising a software-based TITAN Live combined with a multi-function TITAN transcoder, as well as all necessary resources to encode and transcode to H264 and HEVC formats SD and HD content.

    The video compression technology allows the encoding and transcoding of more than 40 channels to be delivered direct-to-home (DTH) and offers Next Step the ability to add more channels in a bandwidth efficient way.

    “After testing several solutions, the bandwidth efficiency and impressive video quality offered by ATEME’s TITAN made a crucial difference,” says Amornphat Chomrat, managing director, Next Step. “Their solution matched perfectly with our installed equipment and our whole ecosystem. We found TITAN to be the right choice in terms of video quality and rapidly adopted it.”

    Yoann Poizeau, VP sales APAC, ATEME added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Next Step on their first major DTH HEVC headend project. They will be able to provide, through satellite distribution, unparalleled video quality at minimum bitrate and rapidly answer the demand for high quality content in the region.”
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    Turner, Virgin expand programme offer

    In what no small amount of its customers in the UK and Ireland would consider a long-due boost to content availability, Virgin Media has agreed a long-term programming deal with Turner.


    TurnerVirgin 12 Nov 2016The partnership see Virgin Media customers continue to enjoy channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito, TCM and CNN International, as well as bringing Cartoon Network in HD to customers in Ireland for the first time. Also launching is catch-up TV and box sets to Virgin Media’s TV platform. For example, Virgin will offer boxsets such as Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, The Regular Show, Scooby Doo, Mr Bean, The Tom and Jerry Show and Fireman Sam.

    The new programming deal also results in Turner catch-up TV being available for Virgin Media customers in the UK and Ireland. Customers will have access to hours’ worth of programming with a 30-day catch-up window. Turner is also guaranteeing new rights to support Virgin Media’s future product launches.

    “Our new deal with Turner means our customers will be able to access a wealth of on-demand programmes, as well as continuing to enjoy some of the very best TV from channels as diverse as Cartoon Network, TCM and CNN International,” remarked David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media.

    “We are committed to giving our customers the very best TV to watch, when and how they want, and it’s fantastic to work with partners who think in the same way.”

    Added Ian McDonough, senior vice president and managing director, Turner, Northern Europe: “We’re very excited about strengthening our much-valued partnership with Virgin Media built around our premium kids and entertainment brands. At Turner we are committed to delivering the best curated branded experiences to our audiences, wherever they are. We look forward to working closely with Virgin Media to deliver entertaining channels and on-demand content that captures the growing appetite of our audiences for many years to come.”
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    BT launches 'next-gen' YouView with free TV app, added Ultra HD and Dolby Atmos

    UK incumbent telco BT has revealed plans to transform its IPTV service, introducing a new user experience with enhanced access to channels and on-demand content and a new BT TV app.


    btsport 12 NOv 1The company says that its ‘next-generation’ service will enable customers to manage recordings and stream live and on-demand programmes on mobile devices, providing what it calls a seamless TV experience in and out of the home.

    A next-generation YouView TV service will be downloaded to customers’ set top boxes during early 2017. With this, BT believes that customers will enjoy a faster experience with easy, image-rich surfing of on-demand choices, and will be able to find their way around much more intuitively. The same look, design and usability will be carried through to a new BT TV app launching in summer 2017 that will run on tablets, smartphones and online.

    BT also plans to be the first UK broadcaster to launch Dolby Atmos sound, adding it to its BT Sport 4K UHD TV packages in January. From this season, BT has doubled the number of sports events broadcast in Ultra HD. Dolby Atmos sound is planned to be combined with Ultra HD for select events to deliver what it claims to be the most immersive experience possible.

    In a new partnership with BoxNation, BT will also start showing boxing on Saturday nights from early 2017, and BT Sport will further enhance sport fans’ viewing experiences with the launch of Dolby Atmos sound, which is planned to be available to BT Sport Ultra HD customers in January.

    Commenting on the moves, BT TV and BT Sport managing director Delia Bushell said: “BT’s mission has always been to provide a high quality, premium TV service at prices that give unbeatable value to UK consumers. We will keep driving the pace of innovation in content, broadcasting and our customers’ experience. In 2017 we’re going to further shake up the market by releasing our new viewing experience across our TV guide and on demand, our new TV app and on our BT Sport channels, provided as a free upgrade for our customers.
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