The Online Reporter

Research, Trends and Insight into the Digital Media, Consumer Electronics & Broadband Industries

Fire up That New UHD TV or JVC Projector: UltraFlix Adds 11 More 4K Movies

- JVC Signs up for Its 4K Home Theater Projectors

You can argue about whether NanoTech Entertainment’s UltraFlix offers the largest selection of blockbuster 4K content but you can’t argue about whether it has the most – because it does, and it’s getting better.

NanoTech has signed a global licensing deal with Crystal Sky Pictures for 11 new titles for its UltraFlix UHD OTT service. NanoTech’s 4K Studios is in the process of scanning and uploading the films for what it calls an “immersive 4K viewing.”

So get one of those new-fangled UHD TVs or, even better, one of JVC’s home theater 4K projectors and start watching some flicks with Jon Voight, Meat Loaf, Madeline Kahn and Michelle Pfeiffer. The new titles include:
– “Baby Geniuses 5,” a live-action/animation movie with Jon Voight and Skyler Shaye
– “The Final Song,” a romantic comedy with Bonnie Paul and John O Nelson
– “Falling in Love Again,” a romantic comedy with Michelle Pfeiffer and Elliott Gould
– “Slapstick of Another Kind,” an American comic science fiction film starring Jerry Lewis, Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman
– “Absolute Killers (aka Witness Insecurity, aka Snitch),” with Edward Furlong and Meat Loaf
– “Deadly Lessons,” a murder mystery with a twist staring Jon Voight
– “Tekken 2 Kazuya’s Revenge” is based on the bestselling videogame franchise from Namco and stars Kane Kosugi, Cary Tagawa
– “Baby Geniuses 4” with Jon Voight, Skyler Shaye
– “Chavez Cage of Glory, a sports drama with Hector Echavarria and Danny Trejo
– “Beyond,” a supernatural thriller with Jon Voight, Teri Polo, and Dermot Mulroney
– “Pizza Man,” an action-packed superhero comedy starring Frankie Muniz and Stan Lee

 

NanoTech Lands JVC for 4K Home Theater Projectors

NanoTech also said it has a deal with JVC (JVCKenwood USA Corp), under which some distributors of JVC home theater projectors will show in their showrooms’ NanoTech’s Nuvola NP-1 4K Media Player and UltraFlix 4K OTT service, which comes preinstalled on the NP-1 player. Because the NP-1 player uses the Android operating system, users also get access to Webs sites and to thousands of video games and apps from Nvidia’s Tegra Zone and the Google’s Play Store.

JVC-DLA-X900700

JVC Projector

JVC distributors’ showrooms are used for dealer trainings and to provide integrators with a place to bring prospective customers for demos.

JVC’s projectors have its 4K e-shift3 technology that accepts Native 4K 60P through their 4K-capable HDMI inputs and up-converts existing 1080P sources to 4K precision.

UltraFlix is now up to more than 500 hours of “pristine” content, including 25 made-for-IMAX theatrical titles, 50 superstar concerts and a wide selection of action/thriller, comedy, drama and family movies as well as breath-taking extreme sports videos, TV shows and 100 hours of dazzling free content.

“One of the biggest issues facing the 4K projector market has been a lack of available content,” said Roger West at JVC. “With NanoTech’s Nuvola NP-1 and UltraFlix able to bring more than 500 hours of 4K Ultra HD content to our D-ILA 4K Projector customers distributors, the availability of 4K content is no longer an issue. That …

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The Days of Pricey Cellular Service Are Ending

 Who says big price decreases can’t unexpectedly occur in any industry?

As oil prices grab the headlines by falling by 50% in a year, now there is a major revolution taking place in the consumer cellular industry. One part involves pricing, one part involves eliminating the requirement for a contract and the third involves the move to Wi-Fi delivered phone calls and Internet connections when the subscriber is away from home.

Following in the trail originally blazed by T-Mobile USA and then followed by Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, which have quietly started offering no-contract plans at reasonable monthly rates. The terms are strictly month-to-month. The subscriber buys the phone. Here for examples are prices and rates for the pre-paid service from Verizon, the US’ largest cellco.

1. Phone Prices:
Verizon offers a number of phones at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/prepaid/smartphone-plans

Examples of current prices are:

Model Price in dollars

Samsung Gusto, a basic flip phone $50
Apple iPhone 4 $100
iPhone 4S $150
iPhone 5S $550
Samsung Galaxy S5 White $600
There is no activation fee. Walmart offers the same Samsung Gusto for $12.99 but Verizon charges $35 to activate it.

2. Monthly Rates:
Verizon charges $45 a month for:
– Unlimited talk time, text and picture messaging in the US
– 1GB of data and additional data is available for a fee with a 90-day carry over
T-Mobile USA has typically kept its monthly rates lower than Verizon’s and offered more free monthly data.

3. Free public access Wi-Fi:
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are increasingly available. For example, the cablecos in the States have banded together a near-nationwide archipelago of Wi-Fi hotspots that are free to all of their subscribers. Cellular customers can of course connect free to the Wi-Fi in their homes and offices plus most hotels, coffee shops and many stores.

This change has already taken place in France where Free took the lead in reducing monthly rates and eliminating onerous contract terms by creating a network of cells and Wi-Fi hotspots. See: http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/03/how-the-telecom-company-free-disrupted-the-mobile-landscape-in-france

The change has recently started in the UK and has now come to the States.

US cellular companies that once boosted big profit margins have started struggling with the latest trend.

The move benefits content companies who will find their audience can spend less on delivery and more on content.

These trends in the cellular industry may not have as big an impact as the recent decline in oil prices is having on consumers and oil companies but declining cellular rates will keep money in consumers’ wallets and purses — and bring some angst to the bottom lines of Verizon and AT&T.

 

There’s No Free Lunch

Tim Hoettges, the chairman of Deutsche Telekom (DT), which owns two-thirds of T-Mobile USA, this week warned that T-Mobile’s gains in the United States are short term and that it needs greater scale in the US to compete against AT&T and Verizon. The FCC recently rejected a bid by Sprint to acquire T-Mobile USA because it reduced the number of major cellular services. Hoettges is particularly concerned about being financially able to bid for more spectrum against AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, which have greater financial resources. He estimated that T-Mobile USA needs to invest between $4 billion and $5 billion each year just to keep up. T-Mobile USA is not exactly a money spinner. It lost $94 million on revenue of $7.4 billion.

DT may not be able to let T-Mobile USA continue its aggressive marketing approach for long, but the horse has left the barn. It’s not just that cellular services cost consumers less, it’s also the threat of free Wi-Fi that’s pressuring cellular rates.

Wouldn’t it be good for consumers if there were, like in cellular, a similar situation in wireline broadband?
- 4 major nationwide competitors instead of two — the cableco and the telco
– Lots of local cellular services
– Third party resellers such as Walmart who sell services that use other companies’ networks
– A free or near free wireless service …

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Four Trends that Are Driving the Digital Media Industry

1. Sales of UHD TVs will surprise even the most optimistic forecasts because they are now priced for the mass market. As a result, broadband-delivered 4K content will begin blipping upwards in 2015 for the first time at broadband companies. That’s even though there is very little 4K content available — it is probably less than one-tenth of all content that’s available to consumers.

2. Telcos are beginning to deploy next-generation DSL broadband technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring, G.fast and other FTTdp (distribution points) that, they hope, will help them compete against cablecos’ faster DOCSIS technology — and, unlike all-fiber networks, at prices telcos can justify. Cablecos are raising the hurdle for telcos by offering faster speeds at little of no increase in monthly rates.

3. The declines that are already well underway in the monthly rates for mobile phones and tablets will begin impacting the bottom lines of cellcos — down — and content owners — up.

4. Pay TV companies will accelerate their efforts at offering a) 4K content and b) OTT services. Sports may prove to be a differentiator compared to OTT services.

 

Words Matter

      We use the terms telco and cableco rather than carrier to specifically differentiate them and their very different broadband technologies.

 

      We once called for them both to be called “digital service providers” but the differences in their broadband and pay TV technologies are too great for that:

 

      - Cableco: entirely with fiber-to-a-neighborhood node (FTTN) and copper wire (coax) from node to home

 

      - Telcos: mostly with copper-wired based DSL broadband and transitioning to some type of fiber to a node (FTTN) in the neighborhood and from there to the home over existing copper telephone wires. They are technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring, G.fast or FTTdp (distribution point) for the existing copper wire connection to the residence.

Then there are two types of FTTH service providers:
– Telcos that have built all FTTH networks in all or some of their footprint such as Verizon, which has FTTH in 70% of it footprint
– Fibercos: (a new term) that have built FTTH from the ground up such as Google Fiber or local utilities.

Comments? Email charles@onlinereporter.com

Ten Million VDSL2 Vectoring Line Cards Shipped by Alcatel-Lucent

- Faster Uptake than Any Prior xDSL Technology
– Just-in-Time Arrival at the Dawn of the 4K Era

10 million VDSL2 vectoring lines — that’s how many Alcatel-Lucent has shipped since it launched the crosstalk suppression technology, which supercharges telcos’ existing copper telephone wires and makes them capable of speeds of up to 70-100 Mbps, or even more. AlcaLu said that based on the 10 million shipments, VDSL2 Vectoring, which it launched only three years ago, has had a faster uptake than any prior xDSL broadband technology.

The Online Reporter estimates that homes with two UHD TVs will need upward of 100 Mbps. Netflix says the home needs 24 Mbps per 4K stream so two UHD TVs, each with the ability to watch 4K streams, plus the bandwidth that the home’s mobile and IoT (Internet of Things) devices will use, totals upward of 100 Mbps.

AlcaLu says telcos on five continents have proven that VDSL2 Vectoring can provide speeds of 100 Mbps and higher, can be gotten to market four times faster that all-fiber deployments and costs one-third that of an all-fiber deployment.

The different speeds attributed to VDSL2 Vectoring is due to the tinkering that AlcaLu and telcos can perform over time and the condition of the existing copper telephone wires.

Estimates are that there will be almost 60 million VDSL2 Vectoring lines in use by 2017, less than three years from now. AlcaLu seems poised to sell most of them. The 10 million number is clear evidence that telcos are anxious and willing to deploy industry-standard technologies to catch up with a) their cable TV competitors, b) subscriber demand and c) edicts from government regulators.

AlcaLu currently has 27 VDSL2 Vectoring customers in every region of the world and more than 65 commercial trials have been conducted by telcos. “Proven-in-use” is the phrase that comes to mind. It’s estimated to have more than 50% of the VDSL2 Vectoring market.

See how VDSL2 Vectoring works at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkVmej4urx4
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozPFDR6TyiI&feature=share&list=PL36CDE5139980E576

Proximus (formerly Belgacom) and one of AlcaLu’s first VDSL2 Vectoring customers, was awarded a golden line card to celebrate the 10 million milestone and the one-year anniversary of its VDSL2 vectoring services. Proximus CTO Geert Standaert said, “VDSL2 vectoring, deployed extensively since January 2014, is a vital component for helping us meet our customers’ requirements as it enables us to quickly and efficiently boost the bandwidth available for the best quality services. We are working and co-developing with Alcatel-Lucent because of their clear leadership in fixed access. Today we offer 70 Mbps with VDSL2 vectoring with our b-box3 home gateway.”

Faultline points out that the number of AlcaLu’s vectoring line cards shipped has doubled since the middle of last year, which puts AlcaLu at a run rate of 5 million every six months and rising. It also says it’s difficult to count the actual number of vectored lines because a vectoring line card also needs to be installed at the DSLAM before any subscribers can get vectored lines. Most telcos are installing quantities of these vectoring line cards in DSLAMs without yet announcing the increased speeds. They plan to announce it later when enough lines to the home are vectoring capable.

AlcaLu’s rivals have mostly not published shipment details of their vectoring line cards, according to Faultline, because for the most part they were shipping significantly later than AlcaLu and in smaller numbers. ADTRAN claims to have shipped about half this number, passing the 5 million landmark some time last year. Faultline thinks it must be at 6 million or more by now.

 

The last count from Huawei was some time ago and was only for 1.4 million lines. It is likely that the market is already at 20 million lines shipped, which would put Alcatel ahead of its best position in ADSL, at around 50%, but Faultline says there are a lot of chips out there not being used with vectoring, which are vectoring capable, and the real number may be a lot higher, ready for a telco’s service launch but as yet unannounced.

The number of lines that are actually in vectored service is certainly way below the 10 million figure that Alcatel is touting, perhaps less than 2 million. Proximus currently only offers 70 Mbps with VDSL2 vectoring and has yet to move to 100 Mbps or the 200 Mbps that bonded lines may allow the technology to reach, according to Faultline.

AlcaLu is clearly committed to a three-prong strategy in its wireline broadband strategy: FTTH, G.fast and VDSL2 Vectoring. Federico Guillén, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s fixed access business line operations, said: “We’re seeing huge growth for VDSL2 vectoring alongside our fiber-to-the-home solutions as more and more operators realize they need both copper and fiber technologies to meet their customers’ ultra-broadband demands.

Having been first to market with VDSL2 vectoring and again with G.fast and TWDM-PON [all-fiber] technologies, we are committed to giving operators the choice of technologies they need to provide the best services for their customers.”

AlcaLu is busy celebrating the success of its VDSL2 Vectoring products. Guillén did not mention the Vplus FTTdp broadband technology that the company recently announced nor say when G.fast products would be ready for deployment. We expect to hear more about them soon.

There Is No ‘One Size Fits All’
We asked AlcaLu about where Vplus fits in with other broadband technologies. It answered:

“Vplus will fill the gap between G.fast and VDSL2 vectoring in terms of the trade-off between speed, loop length and cost. This graphic sums it up nicely: www2.alcatel-lucent.com/techzine/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/MKT2014066383_fig021.jpg

“Basically, operators have very …

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CuriosityStream: The New Global OTT Service with 4K Content

-Discovery’s Hendricks Jumps Head First into OTT
-Will Debut with Original Content Series
-Another Internet TV Service Hits the Web

CuriosityStream is the latest subscription Internet TV service to hit the Web. The project is from John Hendricks, the Discovery Channel founder and former Discovery Communications chair. The service, which will debut March 18, 2015 around the world, will offer “premium factual content” – ie documentaries and educational videos – in HD and UHD resolutions.

“I have long dreamed of a content-on-demand service that uses advanced media to empower the enduring human desire to understand the Universe and the world around us,” Hendricks said. “The advent of online streaming technology utilized by Netflix and other successful video streaming services has created a video transmission infrastructure that finally allows viewers to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.”

CuriosityStream is best described then as a niche OTT service. “CuriosityStream is the world’s first ad-free, SVoD service that addresses our lifelong quest to learn, explore, and understand,” Hendricks said. “Our aim is to provide the first and best on-demand video streaming destination that aggregates and curates the world’s best factual content.”

See a sneak peak of the service here: http://www.curiositystream.com/#/previews

The service is run by pay TV veterans. Hendricks, who was one of the first to launch nonfiction pay TV channels, only just retired from his position as chairman of Discovery Communications last year. Another TV veteran and documentary producer, Steve Burns, will head up programming for the OTT service. Burns served as EVP for Global Content at National Geographic Channels worldwide, Chief Science Editor at Discovery Networks and GM of the Science Channel.

The OTT service will be available on PCs, mobile devices, Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. The service will offer UHD content but the company didn’t specify on which UHD TV sets viewers will able to stream CuriosityStream, nor what speeds of broadband subscribers will need to view UHD titles.

 

gI_85105_curiositystream

CuriosityStream: aiming to attract millions of TV viewers

 

The service follows a unique pricing model that follows four resolution options: a $2.99 monthly fee for SD video, $3.99 for 720p, $5.99 for 1080p and $9.99 for UHD/4K resolution.

CuriosityStream is hoping to attract both pay TV subs and cord cutters or cord nevers. The service will appeal to about a quarter of the TV viewing population. Hendricks told the Wall Street Journal he’s hoping to reach 5 to 7 million subscribers in the first five years.

The service will have 800 video titles at launch, and about a third of its library will be original productions. The content selections are tailored to take advantage of a range of devices and resolutions. CuriosityStream will offer titles from the leading nonfiction content producer, such as ZED, Flame Distribution, Terra Noa, Japan’s NHK and BBC Worldwide. Titles include: “The Twilight of Civilizations,” “Age of Robots,” and “Men and Machines that Beat Hitler.”

The service will offer a handful of original productions, exclusive to CuriosityStream subscribers, that includes:

– “Big Picture Earth,” a 20-part 4K series that will be produced by David Conover, who also produced Discovery’s “Sunrise Earth.” The new series will “will capture some of the world’s most magnificent visual wonders,” in 4K resolution.

-“Deep Time History,” a historical series that “traces the great people and events of history, while also revealing the geologic and geographic underpinnings of these events and epochs.”

-“Digits,” a series focused on the history of computers and the Internet, and will “consider the far distant possibilities of quantum computing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.”

Its original content will appear exclusively on the streaming service for a period before being licensed out to pay TV networks.

The service will also offer short-form videos of less than eight minutes, on a wide range of topics. Richard Sergay, former ABC News producer, will be the interview host in a range of interview videos. “A Curious World” is a short-form digital series on “everything from ancient engineering feats to the workings of our sleep cycles”; and “Destination Pluto,” which will focus on the New Horizon space mission which will pass Pluto in summer of 2015; a series of artist interviews with photographer Norman Seeff on creativity; and a Deepak Chopra interview series.

“We have designed CuriosityStream from the ground up as a …

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In This Week’s Edition of The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 912

 

TOR912 cover

 

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION …

CuriosityStream: The New Global OTT Service with 4K Content

10m VDSL2 Vectoring Line Cards Shipped by AlcaLu

Pace Keeps up the Pace

UHD

We Don’t Cover UHD TVs Because of Their Pretty Pictures

Samsung Sneaks in a Lower Cost 55-inch UHD Set Pre CES

Ranking Samsung’s Upconversion by Content

Saying Nay to the UHD Naysayers

Sceptre Makes a $549 49-inch UHD TV

Consumers Are Going to Buy a 4K TV Set’

UHD-capable Blu-ray Players and Disc Are Coming by Year End

Downloads, Streams, Discs and a Lot of Confusion

OTT SERVICES, APPS AND SCREENS

NBCUniversal’s Radius Breaks Ground in Internet TV

Vimeo Plans More Original Content for 2015 with Maker Studios Deal

CBS Says Live Programming Is Important Piece of OTT Strategy

TV Industry Will Embrace New Platforms in 2015

Germans to Get 150 TV Channels Over-the-Top

CBS OTT Subs Watch Double the Content

ORIGINAL ONLINE VIDEO

Amazon One-Ups Netflix with Woody Allen Deal

Netflix, Amazon Receive More Nominations and Awards for Originals

ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES

BROADBAND BEAT

Lantiq Touts Its Vinax dp As Lowest Cost FTTdp Broadband Technology

How Is It That Rural Oklahoma & Texas Can Get Gigabit Broadband but Not NY, LA, DC, Chicago, Boston, etc?

G.fast’s Next Hurdle: Chip Interoperability Tests

Long-Running Romance with Pure FTTH Strategies May Fail to Bear the Fruits Once Promised’

ENABLING TECHNOLOGY

Facebook Buys QuickFire for Its Cloud-Based Video Transcoding

HOME NETWORKING

Intel Develops $150 PC in a Dongle

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND STATISTICS

Vevo Now Has 9m Monthly Viewers

More 4K Content Coming in 2016

DIGI GRAMS

4K Ultra HD Is Our Future and the Future Is Now’

Another Wow Moment:’ Samsung UHD TV Playing DVDs

4K UHD TV Has Become Mainstream

3D vs. 4K: It’s a Matter of Perspective

Intel Develops $150 PC in a Dongle

CEA Expects 4m UHD Sets to Be Sold in US in 2015

Pay TV’s Biggest Nightmare

 

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Broadcom Makes NTBs & HDMI Sticks More Powerful & Functional

Psst! Wanna make a tiny net-top box that’s capable of the latest Wi-Fi or a tiny HDMI, both of which can stream UHD videos? Broadcom has the chips you need for either.

Broadcom’s showed at CES 2015 “the world’s first HEVC set-top box (STB) system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices with integrated MHL 2.0.” Its BCM7250 and BCM72502 chips provide full functionality to HDMI sticks and media player box formats that, Broadcom said, can be smaller than a smartphone. Service providers can deploy them to deliver services wirelessly anywhere in the home with MHL capability.

 

Broadcom chips: full functionality for HDMI sticks

 

The BCM7250 is for the small net-top boxes such as Apple TV or Roku. The BCM72502 is for HDMI sticks and dongles. They support high contrast TVs (although Broadcom did not mention 4K videos) with an integrated CPU, HEVC decoder, MHL 2.0, HDMI 2.0 and 802.11ac.

Broadcom’s reference designs include integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities, which is done by Broadcom’s new BCM4366 chips, which it says provide “the world’s fastest 4×4 MU-MIMO” capability.

Broadcom’s SVP of marketing in its broadband and connectivity group Rich Nelson said, “This new family brings a major boost in capabilities to what has been primarily an over-the-top (OTT) segment of the market. Operators are looking for ways to offer differentiated services on these compact devices and the BCM7250 and BCM72502 with HEVC technology, coupled with our latest video-grade Wi-Fi, makes this possible.”

The reference designs for both provide the option of 2×2 and 4×4 5G WiFi connectivity, The 4×4 5G WiFi comes from Broadcom’s new BCM4366 device, which provides broadcast-quality over Wi-Fi. Broadcom said it’s capable of wireline-like network quality performance and security, with what it called “no-new-wires easy customer installation.”

The new chips support a wide range of the latest conditional access and digital rights management technologies including full IPTV multicast services, not just OTT streams. That enables service providers to offer a range of services, “from full-service …

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Samsung Improves Its UHD TVs

Samsung, the clear leader in sales of UHD TVs, at least outside of China, showed off new UHD TVs at CES. Notable changes are:

– Samsung’s new UHD TVs have “nano-crystal semiconductors” and an intelligent SUHD (is that “S” for Super?) re-mastering engine that increases the pictures’ color, brightness and blackness. The SUHD re-mastering engine analyzes brightness to minimize additional power consumption while displaying contrast levels to produce images with darker blacks and an increased brightness — up to 2.5 times brighter than conventional TVs. The SUHD technology was used post-production in the recent movie “Exodus” to give the soldiers’ armor a more striking look.

 

Samsung CES 2015 UHD press conference

CES 2015: Notable changes to Samsung’s UHD offerings

 

– Samsung is following LG’s footsteps by using its own operating system called Tizen in its smart TVs, the same one Samsung uses in its wearables such as “Galaxy Gear.” LG uses the WebOS it bought from HP. Smart TV technology has become so important to setmakers that they want full control. Tizen will allow viewers to stream PlayStation 3 games without the need for a console. By using Tizen Samsung frees itself from the clutches of Google’s Android that any set maker can use and allows Samsung to develop features that other smart TVs don’t have.

– Samsung is overwhelming consumers and competitors with the number of UHD sets it offers. Samsung said it has the “largest UHD TV lineup.”

– Samsung’s emphasis on curved UHD sets is working. It said half of the company’s UHD set sales are curved models, which it said, proves consumers see the value of curved sets.” A Samsung executive said consumers “absolutely love our curved displays.”

– A music service called “Milk” is coming to Samsung’s TV sets. A version of it, called “Milk VR,” will offer Samsung’s “Gear VR” virtual reality headset and provide a 24-hour stream of virtual reality videos.

– To make the new TVs thinner and lighter, the display sits on top of a pedestal that houses most of the components and connectors that are on the rear of other TVs.

– Samsung says it has had the world’s largest market share of TV sales for nine years.

– Samsung is helping form an industry association called the UHD Alliance to ….

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Skyworth to Use Marvell’s Chips in World’s First G.hn-Enabled Smart TVs

- Plug ‘n Play on China Telecom’s Pay TV Network
– HomeGrid Starts with Bangs from 2014

Following a three-month period of silence since John Egan left as president of the HomeGrid Forum, G.hn has come roaring out in 2015’s CES with some startling announcements.

First the big news:

G.hn and Wi-Fi chipmaker Marvell has landed a deal under which China Telecom has worked with TV setmaker Skyworth to launch the world’s first smart TV with embedded G.hn powerline technology. Skyworth’s E690C smart TVs have Marvell’s 88LX3142 G.hn digital baseband processor and 88LX2718 G.hn analog front end.

Skyworth TVSkyworth TV set

 

Homes that have the Skyworth E690C smart TV do not need a pay TV set-top box, Wi-Fi or wireline Ethernet because they automatically connect over the home’s powerline. China Telecom subscribers plug separate G.hn wall-plug adapters into electrical outlets near the broadband gateway and then plug their Smart TVs into the any wall electrical outlet. They get instant and fast Internet access in any part of the house. G.hn-enabled Skyworth TVs do not require any new cables.

It’s a big market! The G.hn capable Skyworth TVs are available to China Telecom’s more than 25 million pay IPTV subscribers.

It’s big news! A consumer’s dream (and a dream of makers of powerline products) is to have:
A) A modem/gateway with embedded powerline technology that, when you plug it into an electrical outlet, makes the home’s electrical wires a whole home networks, and
B) CE devices with embedded powerline technology so that when they are plugged into an electrical outlet, they are connected to the home network and can access the net. CE devices that could benefit from such a scenario are smart TVs, Blu-ray player and set-/net-top boxes (Apple TV, Roku and such), stereo/receivers and Wi-Fi adapters, yes, Wi-Fi because such a wireline network could extend the home’s Wi-Fi coverage.

It’s true plug ‘n play, not plug plug plug and then play.

Weili Dai, president and co-founder of Marvell, said, “I am very excited to see this game-changing, innovative product that transforms the traditional TV experience to enable seamless access to content and services. Our industry-leading G.hn solution powers an immersive smart TV experience for consumers by providing simple and convenient connectivity to any location in the home through the existing powerline infrastructure.”

Liu Tangzhi, GM of Skyworth’s RGB TV company, said, “Going smart is definitely the trend for the development of the TV industry. Skyworth and Marvell have created the industry’s first smart TV with the integration of G.hn technology and achieved mass production through our joint efforts. The new generation of Smart TVs will provide immediate broadband connection with plug-and-play simplicity, and give consumers an extraordinary experience by providing high-quality HD video.”

Liu Ping, GM of the marketing department at China Telecommunications, said, “We’re very excited to join hands with Skyworth and Marvell, leaders in the industry, to unveil the first ‘Yue Me’ platform-based smart TV, the Skyworth E690C. The new product will become the hub of entertainment in smart homes, delivering extensive in-home information services including convenient living, education, healthcare, shopping, games, and entertainment, etc, to provide consumers with ease and convenience.”

Marvell’s G.hn chips can provide powerline, coax and phone line networking in a single chipset. That reduces the cost of product design and the time it takes to get a new product to market. Marvell said it “enables data transmission rates at four times greater than that of other legacy systems” — no doubt meaning HomePlug and MoCA, both of which against it competes in wireline home networking.

 

Q&As with Marvell

The Online Reporter asked Marvell several questions about the Skyworth TV for CT subscribers and received these answers as we went to press:

The Online Reporter: Does China Telecom furnish a modem or gateway with G.hn embedded?
Marvell: The Skyworth Smart TV will be sold with a small G.hn adapter that will be connected to the existing residential gateway at the subscriber home. This is the first product launched by CTC [China Telecom Corporation] with embedded G.hn.

Q. Are the TVs available now?
A. The TVs are being demonstrated at the Home Grid Forum booth at CES but we unfortunately do not have the exact dates of availability.

Q. How much are the TVs?
A. We don’t have that information yet.

Q. Are they UHD or HD? Or both?
A. They are UHD 4K TVs.

Q. What size is the screen or are there multiple models?
A. There are multiple models: 32-, 42-, 50- and 55-inch. The smart TV on display at CES is the 50-inch model.

Q. How does the customer connect a tablet or smartphone to the network?
A. The Skyworth Smart TV also comes with Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.

It’s impressive that the TVs are UHD TVs, not the now out-of-date traditional 1080p HD TVs. We have heard repeatedly that China is the largest UHD TV market in the world and this seems to confirm that.

Having a Wi-Fi hotspot built into the TV is a smart move because it simplifies customer set up and use.

We think that CT, and other like-minded telcos, will eventually specify that the gateways it buys have G.hn chips embedded in them to a) make it easier for subscribers to install and b) reduce total costs as well as simplify procedures.

 

CES Booth Shows Off G.hn Goodies

At CES the HomeGrid Forum’s booth, much like last year’s, had multiple vendors demonstrating interoperability over networks, simulating operation in MDUs.

The booth demonstration, as might be expected, showed G.hn networks delivering multiple streams of 4K videos to UHD TVs over powerline. HGF said that for the first time it was demonstrating smart TVs and routers that have G.hn embedded in them – a major accomplishment for powerline network technology.

All these projects were underway prior to John Egan’s departure as president of the Forum.

Equipment makers were demonstrating each of the three G.hn system types — powerline, phone line and coax. There was a line of ARRIS home gateways, routers, Wi-Fi adapters and Wi-Fi extenders at the booth using G.hn over powerline, which will be available in the States mid-year 2015.

HomeGrid also announced the recently accredited test house Allion labs has opened for certification testing.

HomeGrid members were also showing how G.hn handles “Neighboring Networks” interference in MDUs, which it says is a major differentiator between G.hn and HomePlug — a criticism that the HomePlug Alliance denies and was demonstrating in its booth.

 

Global Momentum for G.hn Grows


In addition to the China Telecom announcement, KT Corporation (formerly known as Korea Telecom) formally joined the HomeGrid Forum (HGF). KT Corp announced in early 2014 it is using G.hn in an access technology, called G.now, in its broadband deployments. Don Gardenhire, an ARRIS executive who is serving as HGF’s interim president, told The Online Reporter KT Corp has already begun deploying G.now gear to MDUs, which Gardenhire said is helping it deliver hundreds of megabits per second to subscribers’ apartments over KT Corp’s existing copper infrastructure.

“KT Corporation is using G.hn for …

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In This Week’s Edition of The Online Reporter…

The Online Reporter no. 911

 

HEADLINES

Skyworth to Use Marvell’s Chips in World’s First G.hn-Enabled Smart TVs

4 Things Dish’s Sling TV Gets Right

 

ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION (UHD)

LG: 60% of the TVs It Sells in 2015 Will Be UHD TVs

UHD Alliance Formed to

Boost the Look of 4K Content

Samsung Improves Its UHD TVs

HDR & 10-Bit Color Arrive in Samsung UHD TVs

Sony Improves the Look of its UHD TVs

Roku Expands the 4K Streaming Frontier

The Major Differences in UHD TVs

Broadcom Develops Dual HEVC/VP9 Chip for UHD Market

 

Enabling Technologies

BROADBAND BEAT

Cablecos’ DOCSIS 3.1 Sends A Loud Wake Up Call to Telcos

Comcast Helps Broadcom Develop New RFK for Broadband Devices

Sckipio Knocks Down Two Barriers to Telcos’ Deployment of G.fast

Another Telemedicine App: Checking for Flu

 

HOME NETWORKING

HomePlug Keeps on Plugging

Broadcom Announces Next Gen Version of 11ac Wi-Fi

MoCA Ups Its Game with Version 2.0

 

NET TOP BOXES

Broadcom Makes NTBs & HDMI Sticks More Powerful & Functional

 

SMART TVS

Roku’s TV Smarts Expands to Haier, Insignia

 

WIRELESS BROADBAND

Wi-Fi Spreads to City Parks

 

DIGI GRAMS

Price of Samsung’s 55-inch UHD TV Hits Rock Bottom

The UHD Unmentionable at CES: Upconversion

Routers Are Important Devices for Video Viewing at Home

Sorting out UHD/4K/8K Terminology

D-Link Selects Broadcom’s HomePlug AV2 MIMO Chip

Expect More G.hn Wins in 2015

The Chinese Are Coming in UHD TVs

Comcast Helps Broadcom Develop New RFK for Broadband Devices

 

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