Cable Show 2011: Avail-TVN Floats Into 'TV Everywhere' Cloud


Avail-TVN this summer expects to kick off trials of a "TV Everywhere" service designed to let programmers and their pay-TV affiliates deliver live TV and video-on-demand across a galaxy of different devices.

The company's AnyView managed multiscreen video service will deliver video in MPEG-4 format. The service will use the Apple-developed HTTP Live Streaming adaptive bit-rate protocol that detects a user's bandwidth and device capacity in real time to deliver encoded files at the appropriate data rate to connected consumer electronic devices.

"It's really taking that TV experience from video-on-demand and linear and bringing it to connected devices," Avail-TVN chief strategy officer Doug Sylvester said.

Avail-TVN AnyView

Avail-TVN is working with studios and programmers on rights for the AnyView service. "Over time we anticipate that it will, on the VOD side, look very much like the TV VOD offering -- with transactional, free-to-subscriber and subscription content," Sylvester said.

AnyView, as with other TV Everywhere initiatives, is aimed at countering "over-the-top" threats, by providing a service that extends TV viewing to connected devices for authenticated subscribers. Avail-TVN provides rights management controls with business rules that can be based on device attributes, content format, geolocation and subscriber tier of service.

Avail-TVN plans to initiate trials of the service in U.S. markets in July. It has international trials of AnyView currently underway, including in several Caribbean markets, and expects to move to commercial deployments in the third quarter of 2011.

"We've gotten very good reception from programming partners," Sylvester said. "That's set the stage for us to do this in the U.S."

As part of delivering AnyView, Avail-TVN has selected Elemental Technologies' video-encoding systems for its super headend facility in Burbank, Calif. Avail-TVN is using the Elemental products to be able to deliver in more than 100 channels of content.

Avail-TVN will use Elemental Live encoders to deliver linear television content to connected devices, and the Elemental Server systems to create and format VOD content.

According to Sylvester, operators will have the flexibility to take a fully managed version of AnyView, including Web-based user interfaces, or opt for only certain elements of the service.

"We've built it in a modular way," he said. "What that enables us to do is, for affiliates that want to offer a complete suite of services, we can do end-to-end."

In a fully managed setting, AnyView would let a subscriber start watching a VOD title on TV, then pause it and resume playing it on another device.

The AnyView offering is slated to include: multiplatform movie rights; free and subscription content; white-label client device user interfaces; content security with support for multiple digital rights management (DRM) systems; metadata and artwork management; and integration with billing systems.

AnyView currently supports a range of Apple iOS, Google Android, Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows and Linux devices, including: iPad; iPhone; iPod touch; PCs; Macs; and Roku set-tops. Avail-TVN plans to add support for additional devices before its U.S. commercial launch.

The company's video distribution network currently reaches more than 60 million households in North America. Avail-TVN will demo the AnyView solution at the Cable Show in Chicago this week.