IBC: Ericsson, Google Make a Pay TV Connection

Ericsson integrates cloud-based MediaFirst TV platform with Android TV
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Ericsson and Google are teaming with a combined offering for pay TV service providers amid an agreement to integrate Ericsson's cloud-powered MediaFirst TV system with Google's Android TV platform.

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They said the deal will expand the range of set-top box options available to pay TV operators, and enable them to provide a “one-stop-shop” for pay TV and OTT content on one integrated platform without additional hardware costs.

Google’s Android TV platform is currently running on smart TVs from suppliers such as Sharp and Sony, as well as on streaming players/consoles such as the Nexus Player (Google recently halted sales on that model), the Nvidia Shield, and Razer Forge TV, among others.  Xiaomi recently showed off an Android TV device called the Mi Box that supports 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Ericsson said the integration will also enable extensions to services that include 4K, live TV, VOD and cloud DVR.

Ericsson’s Android TV connection comes on the heels of Ericsson’s integration of MediaFirst with the Reference Design Kit (RDK), the preintegrated software stack for video and broadband devices being managed by Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications (via its acquisition of Time Warner Cable).

"By expanding our range of set-top box options, we are giving Ericsson MediaFirst TV customers the opportunity to deliver cutting-edge, large scale video services and respond to the surge in adoption of smart devices, broadband connectivity and cloud-based delivery," Shiva Patibanda, head of business line TV platforms at Ericsson, said in a statement. "Our partnership with Google will empower operators of all sizes and resources to take control and leverage multiple monetization and partnership opportunities offered by Android TV, enabling them to deliver experiences to their audiences that fully integrate their Pay TV services with Android TV applications and OTT services.”

Telus of Canada is one of the early adopters of MediaFirst. Ericsson said other tier-1 providers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia are also on board, but has yet to identify them by name.