Charter Testing Multiscreen Video In The Home: Sources


Charter Communications is testing out SeaChange International's "Nitro" user interface using a hybrid IP-QAM gateway to deliver video to tablets, PCs and other devices inside a subscriber's home, according to industry sources.

In announcing the Nitro product in June, SeaChange said that a "major multiple system operator (MSO) is the first Nitro customer with an initial deployment planned for later this year."

Charter declined to confirm it is testing the Nitro product.

"Charter is constantly testing new technologies that will bring an array of improved products and an enhanced experience to our customers. SeaChange is among the vendors with which we are exploring solutions for future services," the operator said in a statement. "However, we're not at the stage at which we have any information to share or news to report."

SeaChange Nitro on iPad

SeaChange also declined to confirm Charter is kicking the tires on the Nitro product, noting that "while we are in discussions and tests with several operators worldwide, we cannot comment on those activities."

Nitro is built on the HTML5 specification and supports multiroom DVR, virtual channels, TV listings, bookmarking, search and recommendation, handheld-as-a-remote and social media features. SeaChange is positioning Nitro as a front-end to its Adrenalin back-office system.

Charter previously disclosed plans to use hybrid gateways to introduce IP video in the home. Those are to include support for traditional QAM video, with the ability to transcode the MPEG video and deliver it in IP format in the home over either Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) or Wi-Fi networks, according to the cable operator.

In-home distribution of cable programming has flared up as a point of contention between pay-TV operators and media companies.

Earlier this year Viacom sued Time Warner Cable over the MSO's TWCable TV app for iPads, charging breach of contract and copyright violation, while TWC sued the media company seeking a declaratory judgment that the app was covered by current distribution deals. In June, Viacom and Time Warner Cable agreed to a "standstill agreement" freezing their lawsuits, while they try to reach a business arrangement. The Viacom networks remain unavailable through the TWCable TV app.

In June, Viacom also sued Cablevision Systems over the operator's Optimum App for iPad. The parties settled their litigation last month for undisclosed terms.