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IPTV news – New report identifies IPTV market leaders October 23, 2009

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MRG has released its latest ‘Global IPTV Market Leaders Report’, identifying the top equipment and technology vendors worldwide as of October 2009, with little change in many segments.

The report, which tracks the top 120 IPTV vendors in 24 regional sectors, relates that there are currently more than 800 IPTV services in operation globally, with over 80 new operators starting new services since March 2009, of which most were in North America, Europe and the Rest of World regions.

In the IPTV Access sector, Alcatel-Lucent was found to hold a 51% share of the worldwide access market, as well as furthering its strength as a systems integrator and holding the number two position in the global middleware sector (behind Microsoft).

In the Content Security sector, Verimatrix retains its number one global market ranking, holding a 26% share of the global market (up 2% since March 2009), and with strong positions in all four of the regional markets.

In the Set-top Box sector, Motorola still dominates the global market, according to the report, with a 28% share globally – up 5% since March 2009 – followed by smaller and highly aggressive companies such as Amino, ADB and Netgem. Over 25 companies were found to compete in the STB market worldwide, which often represents over 60% of CapEx for IPTV operations.

In the Video Headend Encoders sector, Motorola also maintains its number one position with a 38% share of the worldwide market, while Ericsson/TANDBERG Television follows strongly with a 34% share (up 3% from March 2009) and is described as “closing the gap” on Motorola in this market sector, where the top five vendors are found to hold about 94% of the global market, leaving only 6% to the other six competitors.

In both the Middleware and Video-on-Demand (VOD) sectors, a crowded field of companies continue to struggle to compete against the Microsoft “juggernaut”, according to the report.

“Significant growth of China’s IPTV subscribers enabled both Huawei and ZTE to improve their rankings in several sectors,” said Jose Alvear, MRG Analyst. “These grew out of new developments at China Telecom and China Unicom as they expanded into different provinces.”

via IPTV news – New report identifies IPTV market leaders.


Sony brings Web TV service to Europe September 5, 2009

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Sony is planning to bring its Bravia Internet Video service to Europe on Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and home theatre systems, the company has revealed at the IFA show currently taking place in Berlin, and is currently in testing phase with a number of European broadcasters. From early 2010, Sony plans to equip a number of its products with the Xross Media Bar, similar to that employed in the PlayStation 3 games console, meaning that live broadcast and on-demand content will be accessible on a number of Sony devices via the Internet. Sony is reported to be currently testing with European broadcasters including Germany’s ARD, France’s M6, Italy’s Mediaset, Spain’s RTVE, Antena3 and LaSexta, and the UK’s Five.Bravia Internet Video will also offer short-form content from a variety of sources, including YouTube, Dailymotion and the technology magazine Wired. The US version of the service is already well-developed, offering content from over 25 providers, including Netflix, Amazon On Demand and – of course – Sony Pictures.

YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood July 10, 2009

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YouTube came to Los Angeles this week to seek out content partners, pitching them its 3-month-old redesign for premium content. “This was a big strategy change for us, one of the most significant ones to date,” said Jordan Hoffner, the site’s director of content partnerships, noting the site’s new “clean, well-lit” shows page was “the first navigation change in about two and a half years.” Hoffner emphasized online distribution of long-form content as a companion to television, but with fewer ads and the opportunity to get audience feedback.

But television content has not yet been particularly successful on YouTube. According to recent stats from TubeMogul, full-length shows average only 7,407.9 views per episode. Perhaps the TV content the site has secured isn’t high value enough; perhaps it should do more to promote the stuff it can actually run pre-rolls on. For whatever reason, few people look to YouTube to watch TV shows online. […]

via YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood

Movie studios launch Epix, 720p streaming service for films – Ars Technica June 8, 2009

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Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM have joined forces to launch Epix, an HD television channel and accompanying online 720p streaming service. Thanks to an innovative business model, you won’t see a charge for either service.

Like Hulu, the Epix movie service is a joint venture formed by the content owners; in this case, the service is powered by the movie studios Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM. The Epix TV network will air movies that are in the “pay-TV” window, those weeks before a film appears on DVD in which it is available on pay-per-view or HBO, among others.

That doesn’t sound so new, but Epix will be bundled directly into cable packages; under the current business model, it will never appear as a separate charge on the bill and will never have to be added to a package. If Epix can convince enough cable operators to sign on (it isn’t yet announcing partners), the service will have an immediate competitive advantage over pay-TV channels with an additional monthly fee.

But the best part is that Epix viewers can access the same material online, on demand, at Epixhd.com. Ars spoke with Emil Rensing, chief digital office at Epix, who says that watching films online will be a two-click experience with full support for 720p streaming.

The video is offered through Flash and is multi-bitrate enabled; the player checks the available bandwidth every ten seconds to see if a larger or smaller stream is required. Epix currently creates six different encodings of each film which range from full HD support all the way down to 500Kbps (cell phone quality).  […]

via Movie studios launch Epix, 720p streaming service for films – Ars Technica.

Germany lagging behind in IPTV boom May 27, 2009

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Germany lagging behind in IPTV boom.

Telco giant Deutsche Telekom to roll out interactive service

Lacking the 800-pound gorilla that is Hulu in the U.S. or BBC’s iPlayer in the U.K., the online video business in Europe’s No. 1 TV market remains in its infancy. An upcoming study by Berlin-based consultancy Goldmedia found that by 2014, less than 8% of German households will use Internet TV, suggesting it will remain a niche market here for some time to come.

But that isn’t the opinion of Deutsche Telekom, which in the coming weeks will roll out an interactive service that is betting heavily on a growth market for IPTV. The service aims to provide exclusive online video content — such as live soccer matches from Germany’s Bundesliga — along with open-access material on demand to all of Telekom’s mobile, online and digital TV platforms. Speaking at a Wednesday conference co-sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter and German media consultancy HMR, Harald Eisenacher, Telekom’s head of products and innovation, said the company has agreements with some 350 content providers to feed its IPTV machine. These range from the major film studios — with which Telekom has output deals for online content — to German production outfits that supply Telekom’s new stand-alone Web series portal 3min.de. Telekom owns T-Online, Germany’s largest Internet provider, and T-Mobile, the country’s No. 1 mobile carrier and exclusive iPhone partner. Linking up those millions of customers with a unified online video service could be the 800-pound gorilla German IPTV has been looking for.

Even Goldmedia’s study concedes that Telekom, with its 10 million broadband customers, is the only player in Germany likely to make IPTV as a business. The study forecasts Telekom turning a profit with Internet TV within the next four years.

Streaming Media East: Verizon and boxee Want In To Your Living Room May 16, 2009

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Keynotes from Verizon and boxee pushed forward the concept of getting online video into the living room, though each company takes a radically different approach.   [HERE IS THE VERIZON PART:]

[…] Ambeault [of Verizon] went on to discuss an upcoming service, an enhancement to FiOS TV that he says will allow access to over 7 million pieces of content. To do so, Verizon understood the need to create an interactive media guide that would allow access to all this content, which in turn should drive an uptake in digital video recorders (DVR) and increase the amount of consumption of FiOS TV in the living room. […]

At its core, the upcoming interactive media guide will be driven by a search engine, which Ambeault calls “core navigation through a plethora of content: multimedia, music and other types of content, with a robust search engine that’s much closer to an internet search tool than previous interactive TV solutions.”  The content found through the guide would play back in a variety of players, including ones that mimic traditional TV, RSS feeds, and even web video players. “These media players also have access to plug ins and applications, such as a DVD emulator,” said Ambeault, “which makes on-demand content more like a DVD experience including rich menus and other DVD-like navigation.”

Ambeault also talked to the benefit of external APIs, one of which is a desktop application which can be used to pre-populate content to the TV for a customized experience. “Rather than having to cue up content on the TV with a remote control,” said Ambeault, “which only has a few navigation buttons, we’ve used a model that allows a customer to set up content ahead of time, from work or other location, using a desktop application. So when it comes time to watch the content, the customer just sits down and watches the content.”

“We are continuing our beta testing during the early commercialization stages,” said Ambeault, “which will add podcasts (video and other downloadable media) at early tester request, and we think that newer set-top boxes may mitigate need for PC bridging. We also think there is a potential for advertising, which was not part of the original model, and we are looking into adding Facebook and Twitter widgets, allowing social networks to power discovery of content that in turn will be viewed on FiOS TV.”


Hulu: CEO Jason Kilar On The State Of Hulu April 28, 2009

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Hulu CEO Jason Kilar sits down with Sarah Lacy on Yahoo Tech Ticker. The first and second segments are now up.

In the first segment, in response to Lacy’s question about why Hulu removed its content from the popular Boxee service, he talks about his need to juggle the needs of his three customers – networks, viewers and advertisers. The networks must be kept happy to make sure Hulu is around for the long term, he says, and this move was made to keep the networks happy. Kilar also addressed rumors of NBC pulling out of the joint venture.

Kilar talks about Hulu’s business model in the second segment. He won’t disclose revenue but says the company is ahead of plan. Analysts say the company may have made as much as $65 million last year on the back of advertising that sells at much higher rates than YouTube commands.

More segments coming up.

via CEO Jason Kilar On The State Of Hulu.

The Official Netflix Blog: Netflix Launches New Personalization Features March 27, 2009

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Hi, this is Todd Yellin, Director of Product Management at Netflix. We are rolling out several features to delight our members with a more personalized website that puts an emphasis on movie discovery. Some of you have already enjoyed the new experience; we expect all members to have it within the next week.

As we do with all new features, we will rapidly iterate and improve on what we launch—particularly on the ability to mix and match categories to improve on the personalized genres we offer. Any feedback you have is appreciated as we strive to perfect and expand these features.

via The Official Netflix Blog: Netflix Launches New Personalization Features.

Samsung launches its own movie download service for Europe March 19, 2009

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For phone manufacturers, it seems like having a decent multimedia ecosystem tied to your devices is nearly as important to success these days as the platform you’re running, and Samsung wants in on that action — at least in Europe. The company will launch its Acetrax-powered Samsung Movies service in the UK and Germany first (it’s already live in beta form) with more launches elsewhere in Europe down the road, offering 2,000 movies and TV shows from Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal and Momentum Pictures by mid-year starting at £2.49 ($3.60) for a 24-hour rental and £4.99 ($7.22) to buy the goods outright. Sammy is tying the service into its recent and forthcoming OLED launches, implying that the screen tech is the perfect way to enjoy movies on the road. Eventually, the company plans to expand the service to PMPs and connected TVs, but for now, you’ll have to struggle along with your Omnia HD, you poor baby, you.

via Samsung launches its own movie download service for Europe

Hulu blocks boxee browser entirely, gloves get ripped halfway off March 9, 2009

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As a wise man once said: “Damn, that’s just cold, son.” Merely hours after boxee announced its latest alpha build along with RSS feed support for Hulu, said video portal has now blocked off boxee’s browser entirely from accessing its content. If you’ll recall, boxee saw a huge increase in interest when it first added easy access to Hulu, and once Hulu demanded that it be removed, boxee sadly complied. The latest move just seems “cold blooded,” as now boxee users who attempt to surf over via a Hulu RSS feed link will be greeted with an infinite amount of nothing. boxee is quick to point out that its browser doesn’t access Hulu content “any differently” than IE, Firefox, Opera or any other browser, which does a good job of explaining just how deliberate this move is. Needless to say, we get the feeling this bout is just getting started.

via Hulu blocks boxee browser entirely, gloves get ripped halfway off.