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TOR860: Marvell Targets Europe, South America & Korea for

Marvell Targets Europe, South America & Korea for

- Portugal Telecom & SK Telecom Are Already Field Testing

You can follow the’s crowd global quest for services providers by tracking the equipment makers they land deals with and where they are located. Most of them so far have been in Asia. Now they are expanding into Europe. May we remind that having a trial in a service provider is not the same as having a system-wide commitment. It is a major step, however, because service providers don’t make a commitment to field testing a new product unless it is fairly certain it will fully deploy the product if the test proves it can do what is claimed.

Marvell this week announced two wins with equipment makers — one in Spain with a strong presence in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries and the other in South Korea. Announcing wins at equipment makers is always a good indication that the equipment maker has a commitment for at least a major field trial with a service provider.

Europe-based Blu-Castle said it will use Marvell’s chips in its products for the “Connected Home.” The company supplies telecommunications gear for residences and businesses.

Marvell said Blu-Castle’s gear is in test at Portugal Telecom. Blu-Castle is heavily focused on Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. It has sales and support offices in Spain, Brazil, Mexico and the UK.

Blu-Castle’s Tower-MVG01f product is a powerline adapter with filtered pass-through socket that can reach transmission speeds of up to 800Mbps. The fact that it’s powerline is another indication that the big home networking market in Europe and Latin America is likely to be over powerline rather that over coax. and HomePlug are the powerline contenders.

Blu-Castle CEO Harold Fitch said, “Bandwidth requirements in the home network are still growing dramatically as new technology provides new content, requiring a constant increase in transmission capacity, which makes home networking one of the most exciting markets in telecom and consumer electronics industries. With standard reaching maturity, we expect to see a growth in the demand of Home Networking devices.”

It’s certain that it’s Portugal Telecom and probably other telcos’ desire for led Blu-Castle to produce gear. It certainly was demand from the consumer market, at least not yet. It’s likely that Portugal Telecom is also testing gear from other manufacturers.

The Blu-Castle Tower-MVG01f includes:
- MIMO 2×2 implementation for maximum speeds where installed in residences that have a three wire electrical cable.
- Optimized for performance in high density Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs).
- Green economy features with a power saving mode.
- Full IPv6 compliance.
- End-to-end 128-bit AES encryption using CCMP protocol.

In November 2012 Marvell became the first chipmaker to achieve the ITU-T compliant silicon certification from the HomeGrid Forum.

South Korea Too

South Korea-based Netwave has selected Marvell’s chipset for its powerline to Ethernet adapter, the NPA-100. Netwave said adapter is the first home-networking product available in Korea and is specially targeted for the service provider market. It jointly developed the product the Network Technology R&D Center of the giant Korean telco SK Telecom, which is currently field testing the product.

Sean Lee, Netwave director, said, “ provides unparalleled connectivity performance that is unmatched in the industry today,” perhaps comparing over powerline to HomePlug. He said the company “is confident that we are providing the best communications platforms for the delivery of high-bandwidth multimedia applications.”

Netwave supplies gear to other South Korean service providers such as SK Broadband, LGU+, KT and various cablecos. In addition to, it also produces MoCA and Wi-Fi gear. Netwave did not mention HomePlug.

TOR872: RFPs for Beginning to Appear

RFPs for Beginning to Appear

Requests for proposals (RFPs) for products using home

network technology are reportedly beginning to appear from the

likes of AT&T, Portugal Telecom and two large but unnamed

telcos, one in Europe (but not Telefonica) and one in Asia

(but not China Telecom). RFPs are a first step for service

operators when they begin the process for buying massive

amounts of new gear. RFPs are not purchase orders but they are

a good indicator of which technology a service provider is

inclined to purchase after having studied and evaluated the

technology for long periods of time.

WebTuner Tries its Hand at Pay TV/OTT Hybrid Box

WebTuner Tries its Hand at Pay TV/OTT Hybrid Box

WebTuner, with the tagline “TV for the OTT Generation,” is unveiling its net-top device at NAB this week. Like FanTV and Intel, WebTuner is looking to become a pay TV/OTT hybrid box.

There has been a smattering of other companies looking to enter this niche. The demand for such a device can be seen, but the logistics of offering such a service haven’t been worked out, not by WebTuner or anyone else, yet.

It wants to partner with pay TV companies as an OTT and pay TV hybrid device, much like FanTV. In an interview with Wall Street Journal, WebTuner said it was “in talks” with a number of pay TV providers, but didn’t give any names.

It has filed patents for its technology. It has a seven button remote with a QWERTY keyboard, a cloud DVR, on-demand and live content, and metadata about the programming advertising technology for interactive ads. It has an aggregated content guide that lets the viewer search across sources. It plugs into the wall and connects to the TV via an HDMI port, and Wi-Fi for the Internet.

No Pay TV-OTT Hybrid Box Has Succeeded

Former recommendation app Fanhattan (now FanTV), which launched its FanTV box in 2012, was chosen for an OTT trial offering in 2013 by Cox Communications called flareWatch. The box has a cloud DVR, a buttonless trackpad remote, and support for both live content and OTT apps. FanTV CEO Gilles Bianrosa said the device will only be launched with a pay TV provider, and won’t be made available for retail.

The Cox trial offered a low cost, Internet-delivered mini-bundle to subscribers who also subscribed to Cox’s 10 Mbps broadband tier. The trial only lasted three months, and Cox didn’t allow any OTT apps on the NTB. FanTV hasn’t been able to land another pay TV partner since.

Intel Media’s ill-fated OnCue had a similar story: Intel created an NTB that would offer pay TV content alongside OTT apps and a cloud DVR, an aggregating EPG, etc.

This is the same functionality that Microsoft’s Xbox One has. Microsoft wasn’t able to find any pay TV providers to partner up with, and consequently, the One Guide feature doesn’t interface with the pay TV subscription.

With WebTuner, a pay TV provider could launch an all-OTT service using the device as the set-top box. While there may be some savings for potential virtual pay TV providers in not needing infrastructure to manage traditional pay TV infrastructure, Web Tuner will run up against all the others: the issue of content.

The C Word

The content issue stems from the obvious fact that viewers would like to have all their content in one place, in one interface. So far, pay TV providers have remained icy to the idea of putting Netflix or Amazon Instant alongside their expensive pay TV content. FanTV and Microsoft both tried to launch hybrid boxes with pay TV providers, but couldn’t find any.

Intel attempted to offer a hybrid service by cutting out the pay TV provider. It wanted to act as a virtual pay TV provider by acquiring and delivering the content itself, but it couldn’t. The content was too expensive, and the content owners had too many stipulations.

Netflix has had a handful of gains in Europe on this front. It has three pay TV provider partners that have put its apps on their STBs, but Netflix hasn’t been able to convince any pay TV providers in the US to do so, yet.

2 Big Questions for WebTuner

There are two big questions for WebTuner going forward:
-Will it sign up any pay TV providers? Unless it can partner with some tier two or tier three operators, probably not.
-What OTT apps will be available? This will be up to the pay TV provider, so we can bet the answer will be “hardly any,” at least for now.

Who’s Doing Net-Tops Right?

Rumors that Google is giving Google TV a make-over (and a new name) surfaced this week in a story that appeared in The Verge. We first got wind of this revamp late last year [see “Renaming ‘Google TV’ as ‘Android TV’ Won’t Help It Succeed” in TOR850].

Our conclusion then is the same today: “It’s good that Google is ditching the Google TV brand because it has been a total failure, but it’s only good if Google totally overhauls the platform and does not merely rebrand it; adds a few features and doctors up the user interface a bit.”
By The Verge’s account, Google seems to be doing the latter, sadly not the former.

When Amazon launched Fire TV last week, Amazon said it hoped to improve on the features its predecessors offer. First round of reviews were overall positive but not ecstatic, and illustrated the three main features that make or break a net-top box: Content, navigation and discovery.

-Navigation: Tablet or smartphone navigation has become a popular feature for NTBs, but the real benefit of mobile device navigation is when the discovery happens on the personal device, and the content is then sent to the TV set. Chromecast and Apple TV win in this category.

-Content apps: A perfect NTB would be content source agnostic, ideally. That means it should support all the important OTT services, as well as content from pay TV and antenna TV, all in the same interface.

-Discovery: The same interface is the key. The more content apps on a NTB, the more flipping through them feels like channel surfing on the TV. There is even more surfing when the viewer settles on an app and then must find something to watch. Everything should be…



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Four Important Developments in Web Video This Week

Four Important Developments in Web Video This Week

Here’s a quick look at the dots along the trend lines of original online video this week:

-More TV-style Web content: Just a few days after AOL said it has a half-hour show in development, DailyMotion announced it will add a thirty-minute reality TV show to its original content line up, called “Jump Outs,” set in California. The series is part of a recent $3 million investment in original content that includes a cooking show called “Feed Kitchen,” each episode running around 20 minutes.

-More Amazon pilots: Amazon has given the OK to two projects that will appear in its third slate of pilots later this year. The two projects have big names attached, such as actress Chloe Sevigny and “World War Z” producer Marc Forster.

-More migration from Web to TV: The CW has picked up one of its digital series for linear TV. The comedy show “Backpackers,” available in short-form episodes on The CW’s digital properties, will debut on primetime TV this summer.

-More Companies interested in Web content: Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced…


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Swisscom’s New Android STB Uses Marvell’s 11ac Chips

Swisscom’s New Android STB Uses Marvell’s 11ac Chips 

- 250 Channels, Network DVR, 7-Day Catch up, IPTV over DSL & Fiber, Personalized Recommendations

- Marvell’s Media Processor Too

Swisscom is using Marvell’s 11ac Wi-Fi chips and media processor in Swisscom’s new TV 2.0 STB/media player, which is being called “the industry’s first 802.11ac Android IPTV set-top box.” It has Marvell’s Armada 1500 Plus (88DE3108) system-on-chip (SoC) as its media processor.

Swisscom has more than 1 million pay TV subscribers that could order the TV 2.0 STB.

The new TV 2.0 box is said to provide “high performance, enhanced connectivity and immersive HD video.” Swisscom said it provides unlimited catch up TV, “blazing” channel change speeds and seamless connectivity.

The TV 2.0 provides users seven-day catch up replay on over 250 channels the ability to record in the cloud any number of shows simultaneously, a personalized recommendation engine and an app store with more than 50 apps.

The Swisscom TC 2.0 provides network DVR (nDVR) recording and playback plus an “operator grade” conditional access system to secure premium 1080p content served over Swisscom’s DSL/Fiber. It also has Marvell’s…


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