The race is on for operators to offer triple and quad play services with ever increasing consumer demands for sophisticated TV services.
International Tier-1 operators and incumbents have the deep pockets needed to develop such services, but what about smaller players on the market? Kalsruhe-based ABox42 started eight years ago with set-top boxes, but has meanwhile developed into a full service.
Speaking at the 1st German IPTV Industry breakfast on the subject ‘Challenges of operators with next-gen TV services’, Oliver Soellner, member of the management board of ABox42, said that the cahllenges for Tier-2 operators are enormous, “most operatorss have mixed networks, FttH, DSL, DVB-C. And support for different streaming technologies is needed, IPTV multicast, IPTV unicast and OTT unicast, DVB-hybrid.”
With regards to UIs, Soellner has learned that embedded UIs are inflexible, but there is now a clear trend towards HTML5, which requires the latest processors and HTML browsers. These moderrn GUI can be deployed from the cloud, also local.
This is the Tier 2 operators dilemma. “They cannot afford multimillion dollar development budgets, as the Tier-1 operators can, and their service needs to run on multiple STB configurations, in many cases both low end to high end.”
“The STB platform has to offer a life cycle and a strong focus on service compatibility, with support of third-party apps and services, HbbTV from broadcasters, a local VOD provider, as well as Youtube and Netflix. There are multiple streams formats, codecs, DRM and application environment. Continuous maintenance and fast turn around times is required for the software part, as there is no big bang every couple years, but continious enhancements and developments.”
Bavarian operator M-Net, owned by regional utility companies, launched its TVPlus product a couple of months ago with STBs from ABox42 and TV services from Zattoo, offering a basic tier of 100+ TV channels for €9.90 a month.
Gernot Jaeger, chief officer B2B TV solutions, Zattoo, said the company was the First OTT live provider in Europe, with Switzerland and Germany now being its main markets.
The company started out delivering live OTT channels to the general public, but has meanwhile started delivering B2B services.Zattoo has one proprietary end-to-end platform for unicast IPTV and OTT, covering many devices, Andorid, iOS, Windows 10, etc and offering services to 2nd screen, mobile TV, web TV, TV everywhere.
“In Switzerland, we now see that 20-30% of B2B and 50% of Zattoo’s B2C usgage is non-linear. Thus trends massively drives complexity for network operators. So the trend now is towards new managed servcies as opposed to everything in-house.”