Cable Show 2011: ThePlatform Tags Alcatel-Lucent For Multiscreen Play

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Comcast's ThePlatform online-video management unit now wants a seat in front of the living room TV.

ThePlatform has hooked up with networking systems vendor Alcatel-Lucent to pitch pay-TV providers on a jointly developed solution for distributing video over Internet protocol to a range of devices, including TVs, PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

The companies said their combined solution provides video management capabilities with optimized video distribution through a content delivery network (CDN) deployed by the service provider.

The idea is to bring the reliability and security of traditional TV services to a broad range of devices. The solution also is positioned as providing a holistic video-delivery system that encompasses multiple screens -- including TVs.

"This doesn't mean we're going to replace television services in every scenario. But the important part is that we have the capability to," ThePlatform CEO Ian Blaine said.

ThePlatform and Alcatel-Lucent said they're currently working "with a number of leading TV service providers on deployments," but would not identify them. It's not clear whether Comcast, the parent company of ThePlatform, is considering the combined solution.

The duo's multiscreen video platform comprises three main components: a "cloud" video management system, a content delivery network and clients. Operators can deploy each individually or all together.

The cloud is ThePlatform's mpx, which provides video and metadata management, rights enforcement and business policy modeling between TV providers and content owners.

The CDN component is based on Alcatel-Lucent's Velocix Digital Media Delivery Platform. That's integrated with ThePlatform's mpx system, according to the companies, to "ensure seamless delivery" of video.

"Operators can employ their own CDNs instead of relying on other CDNs," Alcatel-Lucent senior vice president of global IP video solutions Derrick Frost said.

The multiscreen clients are a suite of subscriber applications, each designed to support video playback on either a PC, tablet or mobile device. Pay-TV operators can customize the user experience or select an out-of-the-box client application.

Also as part of the solution, Alcatel-Lucent and ThePlatform are offering their subscriber management services, which maintain a detailed subscriber profile for each customer, supporting authentication, payments, preferences, audience measurement, advertising, and customer service needs.

Blaine said the two companies have been working together for the last several months. "Both sides wanted to have a thoughtful launching pad," he said.