C Spire said it is working with MobiTV on a next-gen, in-home TV service that will do away with “traditional” set-tops and instead target a wide range of connected streaming platforms, including Roku players, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV devices, select smart TVs, and iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
The Mississippi-based wireless operator, which timed the announcement with this week’s The Independent Show in Orlando, Fla., said it expects to launch beta testing in November and obtain customer feedback and input prior to a commercial launch.
C Spire said the new service will feature a full linear TV lineup, including local broadcast TV stations, VOD, a cloud DVR, and seven-day TV “catch up” service. C Spire said it also has plans to pair that full-freight pay TV service with optional “skinny” channel packages
"Since the service relies on in-home streaming and mobile devices, it eliminates the need for traditional set top boxes,” Suzy Hays, SVP of consumer markets at C Spire, said in a statement. “This next generation service leverages our long-standing history of providing customer-inspired wireless experiences and will look and feel more like an app than your standard cable TV service with features such as in-depth search, personal recommendations and catch up TV.”
C Spire’s decision to go with an apps-style pay TV service comes amid the FCC’s pursuit of new set-top rules. The cable industry, led by the NCTA, has been advocating for an apps-based approach under its “Ditch the Box” proposal. Last week, the NCTA fed the FCC a pile of data and information about the technical and operational components of its proposal.
C Spire’s legacy pay TV service, called Super HD TV, features a mobile app with TV Everywhere support, interactive guide, and a whole home DVR that can record up to 400 hours of HD and record six shows at the same time. The company has been asked for more detail on its legacy vendor partners. C Spire has been rolling out fiber networks in several communities, including Clinton, Flora, Jackson, Madison, Quitman, Ridgeland, and Starkville.
Updated: A C Spire official confirmed that its legacy video platform was developed in partnership with Innovative Systems, and that its next-gen, app-focused TV product will be delivered into the home via managed IP connections.
MobiTV said C Spire is the first U.S. MVPD to tap its IPTV platform, which integrated several components, including the CMS, DRM, Media Player, nDVR, content policy, identity management, billing and authentication.
MobiTV has historically focused on mobile operators, and counts clients such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Sprint, T-Mobile, TELUS, US Cellular and Verizon.
“The in-home TV experience is changing rapidly, creating both challenges and opportunities for providers as they navigate the new reality of delivering pay TV services in today’s market,” said Charlie Nooney, CEO of MobiTV. “This is only the beginning for us. We continue to break barriers and utilize our long-history in the video delivery space to help more companies’ future-proof their offerings through our ever-evolving, agile solutions within the video delivery ecosystem.”