Wanted: Partner for Intel’s Broadband-Delivered Pay TV Service
– Here’s a List of Possible Partners
Intel may have decided to redirect its Intel Media division’s pay TV efforts, called OnCue, based on its recent silence about the launch date and unconfirmed reports from AllThings Digital, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
The reports say that Intel is in negotiations to turn over some or all of the Intel Media operation to Verizon. If so, that makes sense because Verizon has:
– A nationwide presence with hundreds of its soon-to-be wholly-owned Verizon Wireless stores.
– A nationwide ambition to be a content supplier as shown by its deal with Outerwall (formerly Coinstar) to operate the Redbox Instant rent/purchase OTT service for blockbuster films.
– A perceived nationwide ambition (our perception) to supply wireless LTE broadband to homes as shown by recent product announcements.
– Close and healthy relations with owners of existing national and pay TV channels for its very successful FiOS pay TV service, which has over five million subscribers.
– Total control of its wireless and wireline networks.
Those are all strengths that Intel Media lacked.
Verizon has an all-fiber network that covers 60% of its wireline footprint. Much of the remaining footprint could possibly be upgraded to 100 Mbps if Verizon were to commit to vectoring/bonding technologies. Verizon, however, may believe it can deliver that same speed with the improvements that are coming for LTE… Full story here.
Ikanos: Telcos to Have 100 Mbps in 2014 & 1 Gbps in 2016
– 1 Gbps G.fast Development Is Well Underway
– Even as Telcos Are Only Just Beginning to Deploy 100 Mbps Vectoring
Telcos have only just started deploying VDSL2 vectoring with its 100 Mbps or so speeds, but already makers of chips and network gear are well-underway in developing G.fast, the next generation of copper wire broadband technology that promises fiber-like speeds of about 1 Gbps to each residence.
An interview with Bill McDonald, director of carrier development and relations at Ikanos, which makes G.fast and vectoring chips, revealed some of the thinking behind their developments:
McDonald told The Online Reporter that the talk of last week’s Broadband World Forum (BBWF) was vectoring, especially the interoperability demonstration that the University of New Hampshire-Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL ) conducted. It was the first time ever that seven companies showed vectoring products working together over standard copper telephone wires to deliver 100 Mbps… Full story here.
Sky Now Offering a Broadband-Delivered Pay TV/OTT Service
-Movies, Sports and TV Channels Now Available a La Carte
-Supported Across Devices and Even Its Own Net-top Box
BSkyB’s Sky has done what Intel and others have struggled to do: it is now offering a hybrid linear/OTT pay TV service that combines OTT apps, unbundled linear TV channels, sports and movies on-demand.
Sky’s NOW TV service has expanded its content offerings to include linear TV channel programming. It is now offering a new Entertainment Month Pass, which gives viewers access to ten pay TV channels on an a la carte basis.
Sky’s service is significant because it is an OTT offering from an established pay TV service provider. Sky is now one of only a handful of fully broadband-delivered pay TV services:
-In the UK, BT is experimenting with a similar model with its BT Sport OTT service, which is available for free to its broadband subscribers, though it only offers sports programming.
-Sweden-based Magine is currently offering broadband delivered pay TV in two countries, Spain and Sweden, and has opened a trial of its service in Germany.
-Norway-based cableco Get launched a service that delivers 28 of its most popular channels over the top to iPads. The service comes free with a broadband subscription, but is only available on tablets and doesn’t offer any on-demand services.
Sky Offers Premium Content to Cord Cutters and Cord Nevers
All of NOW TV’s content is delivered over broadband. Viewers can now live stream programming from channels Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts 1, Discovery, MTV, Comedy Central, GOLD, Disney and Fox. The live channel bundle starts at £4.99 per month before March 31 as a promotion for its service. Sky did not say what the price will be after the promotional period ends. All of its services are available on a month-to-month basis, without any contracts.
The new live TV bundle includes linear and on-demand offerings, depending on the channel and its licensing agreements. Full seasons of shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “The Wire,” “Game of Thrones,” “American Horror Story” and “An Idiot Abroad” are available for binge viewing, while catch-up episodes of shows such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Black List” are also available to stream… Subscribe for the full story.
LTE-based Set- and Net-top Boxes Could Disrupt Broadband/Pay TV Industry
– LTE Chipmaker Qualcomm’s New Snapdragon Processor Optimized for HEVC
– Technicolor’s New Svelte STB Supports LTE, HEVC, Gaming & Broadcast
Qualcomm is challenging Broadcom and STMicroelectronics, the two major makers of processors for set- and net-top boxes, according to the Consumer Electronics service of IHS. The two incumbents are estimated to have 80% of the estimated $2 billion market. IHS says Qualcomm could become a major challenger in a growing market for pay TV set-top boxes, net-top boxes such as Apple TV and Roku plus smart TVs.
Intel made a run at the market several years ago and landed some accounts but then diverted its attention from that to developing a broadband-delivered pay TV service.
Much of the success of Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon 600 MPQ8064 is based on pay TV and OTT companies upgrading to HEVC compression/decompression technology. They need HEVC at least in part to deliver bandwidth-hungry 4K videos, which without HEVC requires four times more bandwidth per video than HD. The Qualcomm quad-core MPQ8064 processor is based on an ARM-based architecture called Krait that’s conducive to HEVC.
Qualcomm already has an account in hand. Last month STB maker Technicolor announced a product called Svelte (Stimulating Video Experience over LTE) with the Snapdragon processor plus an LTE/4G broadband capability. It is to our knowledge the first STB with an LTE interface, something in which a combined telco/cellco such as Verizon or AT&T might be interested for delivering pay TV to areas where they do not have a wireline network — or a cellular-only service only such as Sprint and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile — or satcos like BSkyB or DirecTV or a net-top box maker such as Amazon wants to be or Google for its Chromecast.
Technicolor has not said whom or whether anyone has placed an order for Sveltes, which uses the Android operating system. Technicolor said was capable of “console-quality gaming.” Svelte also has what Technicolor calls “terrestrial broadcast,” which we assume means it can pick up over-the-air TV broadcast signals from local stations… Subscribe for the full story.
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