Internet Video

Multiscreen Fever Spreads Far and Wide

6/13/2011 11:01 AM Eastern

Watching TV on the huge flat screen — so
passé!

The hot trend many technology suppliers have scrambled
to embrace is delivering video and video
advertising across a plethora of different
tablets, mobile phones and other Internet-connected
gadgets.

At this week’s Cable Show, the mania
will reach full throttle with vendors slated
to stage a wide range of demonstrations
and product introductions in this area.

“Cable operators are not really cable TV
operators anymore,” Andrew Rowe, head
of software product management for Ericsson’s
Solution Area TV, said. “Their focus
has really expanded beyond the TV set.”

Ericsson will show its Media Delivery
Management System, positioned as a
next-generation, video-on-demand and
TV platform, built from the ground up for
multiscreen environments.

The system, a successor to the vendor’s
OpenStream VOD back office, is currently in several proof-ofconcept
trials with customers, Rowe said. Ericsson expects to
ship the new product in the third quarter.

Nagra will be among the vendors showing off a multiscreen
advertising system. Using OpenTV’s Participate product integrated
with This Technology’s SpotBuilder, Nagra will show
how a non-linear video stream containing one 30-second spot
can provide a synchronized advertising experience on an iPad.

“By creating linkages to that second-screen experience, you
can look at information in a more in-depth fashion rather than
the old model of interactive TV advertising,” Paul Woidke, senior
vice president and general manager of advanced advertising
for Nagra Americas, said.

TV COMPANIONS

Why is everyone ga-ga over gadgets? One reason: Research
shows people frequently use tablets and smartphones while
watching TV.

According to a recent Nielsen survey, about 70% of tablet
owners and 68% of smartphone owners surveyed said they
use their devices while watching TV — the largest of the categories
asked about in the survey.

SeaChange International is diving headlong into the multiscreen
space. It plans to show off its Nitro video-navigation
and social-media user interface software at the Cable Show.

Nitro is built on the open HTML5 specification and supports
applications such as multiroom digital video recorder, virtual
channels, TV listings, bookmarking, search and recommendation,
and handheld-as-a-remote capability.
Nitro “makes it as easy as possible for
consumers to enjoy that video how, when
and where they choose,” SeaChange general
manager of in-home solutions Shiva
Patibanda said.

SeaChange said a “major” cable operator
plans an initial deployment of Nitro for
later this year, but didn’t identify the MSO.

Meanwhile, BigBand Networks will
show a multiscreen, advanced advertising
solution, splicing ads into video served
to traditional cable set-tops as well as an
iPad, a Roku Internet set-top and a TiVo
DVR.

The vendor will demo its Advertising
Splicing Blade on the Media Services Platform
MSP2800 processing system. Big-
Band will serve both traditional zoned
ads, as well as ads targeted to specific devices.

“We are showing the platform has the ability to serve both
the legacy platform and extend advertising to next-generation
devices,” Jay Chambers, vice president and chief architect for
cable in the office of the CTO at BigBand, said.

BigBand also will team up with Clearleap to show a common
user interface and back-office across multiple devices.
The solution combines BigBand’s vIP Pass system — designed
to offload Internet protocol video traffic from a cable-modem
termination system — with Clearleap’s Stream On Demand
system, letting operators stream managed video content to
connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players or other devices in a subscriber’s
home.

Interactive TV developer Itaas also is pairing up with Clearleap.
The duo will show streaming video content delivered by
Clearleap’s Web-based VOD platform to an Itaas-developed
iPad app; the video can be paused and resumed on a Roku box
connected to the TV.

In a similar vein, digital media services firm Avail-TVN is
announcing that it will deploy Elemental Technologies’ videoprocessing
solutions in its super headend facility in Burbank,
Calif., to deliver more than 100 linear television channels to
connected devices.

“Consumers are changing the way they consume video
and this is driving innovation across the digital-media
services value chain,” Avail-TVN chief operating officer Jon
Romm said.

DEVICE ACTIVATION

Sigma Systems, a vendor of operations support systems for
service providers, is looking to get its hands around the device
explosion with its new IP Video Services Accelerator Solution.

That product, an add-on to the Sigma Service Management
Platform, lets MSOs provision video services to non-set-top
platforms from a central system. “If you have five or six different
devices in a subscribers’ home, that’s not going to scale
in the long term,” Sigma Systems vice president of marketing
Preston Gilmer said.

The Sigma Systems IP Video Services Accelerator supports
devices and client software from Cisco Systems, Motorola,
NDS, Nagravision, TiVo, Arris/Moxi and Microsoft Mediaroom.
Currently it lacks support for the iPad or other tablets
and smartphones, but Gilmer said those devices are on the
road map.

The IP Video Services Accelerator solution has been selected
by two North American MSOs to deliver a provisioning
solution for enhanced entertainment services, including integration
with products from TiVo and NDS.

ActiveVideo Networks, for its part, will show how applications
written on its CloudTV interactive platform — originally
aimed at cable set-tops — can also be delivered to an iPad
and a Philips Blu-ray Disc player. Apps in the demo include
VOD, HSN Shop by Remote and teaser channel for HBO that
lets nonsubscribers watch free full-length episodes and then
click a button to sign up.

“We’re taking those same applications that our customers
or developers created, and showing them with the same look
and feel on other devices,” ActiveVideo senior vice president
of marketing and content relations Edgar Villalpando said.
“This falls directly into cable’s wheelhouse.”

March