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Yesterday β€” July 20th 2018Broadband TV News: IPTV

KPN signs Insight TV for more UHD content

By Robert Briel

Insight TV has signed a distribution deal with Dutch telecoms operator KPN.

The agreement will allow viewers in the Netherlands to watch Insight TV’s 4K UHD HDR and HD content via KPN’s IPTV service.

KPN provides a wide range of services offering both 4K UHD and HD packages to suit the requirements of its subscribers. The 4K UHD package is made available via its 4K UHD TV receivers.

Graeme Stanley, Commercial Director of Insight TV adds, “We’re thrilled to announce that we’re working with KPN. This latest distribution deal further underlines our strong position in the market. We are working with distributors and partners across the world so that more people have access to the best content in stunning 4K UHD HDR.”

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Vectra buys Jambox operator SGT

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s second largest cable operator Vectra has acquired a majority (66.5%) stake in SGT, a company which operates under the brand name Jambox and provides pay-TV channels to ISPs.

According to Rzeczpospolita, the transaction was worth PLN34.89 (€8.10) per share, valuing a 100% stake in SGT at PLN73.3 million.

Quoting Vectra’s president Tomasz Zuranski, it adds that the transaction will see IPTV added to its business portfolio.

SGT has capital links with Grupa 3S, a company that builds fibre networks and provides telecom services, but is autonomous.

It will retain its name, as will Jambox.

All told, the latter offers pay-TV services to 287 ISPs serving over 55,000 subscribers.

Kabelplus chooses Ocilion for IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator Kabelplus has selected Ocilion’s IPTV system solution for its new premium TV offer.

The Austrian IPTV service provider will equip Kabelplus with an IPTV carrier solution tailored to its needs which will be hosted as an on-premises end-to-end system directly on its own network and integrated into the existing infrastructure.

The TV offer will include add-on functions such as replay TV, a video store and apps for smartphones and tablets.

“With Kabelplus, we have won the leading network operator in Lower Austria and Burgenland for our IPTV system solution,” said Hans Kühberger, managing director of Ocilion IPTV Technologies. “With our 4K end-devices, TV apps and content cooperations, we are composing a future-proof IPTV product fitting seamlessly into Kabelplus’ business model and product world. The attractive offer will certainly excite current Kabelplus customers and convince many new customers.”

Digi secures FA Cup rights

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech DTH and internet TV operator Digi CZ has added the FA Cup to the list of English football rights it now holds.

According to the company, it will be the first broadcast platform in the country to ever offer its viewers the Premier League, Sky Bet Championship and FA Cup.

Digi CZ employs the Digi TV brand and holds the rights to several other sports competitions including Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and the ATP tennis tournament.

It has been present in the Czech market since 2006 and was acquired by the Czech Republic’s Lama Energy Group in April 2015.

KPN to upgrade its IPTV service with Accenture Video Solution 6

By Robert Briel

KPN has renewed its contact with Accenture Video Solution (AVS) with a five-year agreement using Accenture Video Solution 6.

The agreement builds upon the the current KPN Interactieve TV service, an interactive digital video service that Accenture helped KPN launch in 2012. KPN iTV enables customers to manage their viewing experience via a smartphone or tablet, whether streaming live television, playing back previously aired items, accessing on-demand content, recording and playing programs, viewing electronic program guides or searching for compelling content.

Under the new agreement, Accenture Digital Video will implement and run for KPN the latest version of its digital video platform, AVS 6.

“To compete in today’s digitally disrupted environment, communications providers must give their customers first-class products, and that means providing new and highly relevant experiences, content, services and offers when users need them most,” said Sef Tuma, global lead for Accenture Digital Video.

“By making strategic investments in its digital video business, KPN is better equipped to deliver innovation that in turn provides a solid foundation for its core service proposition while enabling expansion into new revenue models.”

Stadtwerke Ludwigsburg select content4tv and purtel.com

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German municipal utilities company Stadtwerke Ludwigsburg-Kornwestheim (SWLB) has chosen TV carriage rights provider content4tv for the deployment of its IPTV service.

content4tv provides SWLB with the distribution rights for free-to-air and pay-TV channels as well as international channels. The rights package also includes non-linear features such as instant restart, instant replay, time-shift and multi-screen reception on secondary TV sets, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Furthermore, SWLB, which serves 42,000 households, has opted for service provider purtel.com as the supplier of the white-label IPTV platform and set-top-boxes, enabling the company to offer the TV product under its own brand.

“With its innovative, high-performance TV offer, Stadtwerke Ludwigsburg-Kornwestheim can fully exploit the advantages of its broadband network in the competition for customers and tap new sources of revenue. This shows how local and medium-sized network operators benefit from the collaboration with content4tv,” said Martina Rutenbeck, managing partner of content4tv.

Freenet considers acquisitions in German OTT market

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German media company Freenet is aiming for rapid growth in the OTT market.

“The goal is to reach one million customers as quickly as possible,” Freenet CFO Joachim Preisig told Reuters.

Currently, around 133,000 people pay for internet TV service waipu.tv, operated by Munich-based company Exaring in which Freenet holds a majority stake.

“Over the next three to four years, we want to reach two to three million customers and an operating profit of between €60 and €70 million,” said Preisig. In order to accelerate sales, “we may have to make additional purchases,” he added.

After the acquisition of platform operator Media Broadcast, Freenet is looking for further takeover candidates in Germany. “We have enough capital to get started, but not at any price,” said Preisig.

Deutsche Telekom closes StartTV entry package

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom is withdrawing its entry-level IPTV package StartTV from the market after only one year.

“In the view of the rapidly developing TV market, we are constantly adapting and realigning our TV portfolio. Therefore, we have decided to cease marketing our StartTV offer and to terminate sales from June 18, 2018,” a Telekom spokesman told Broadband TV News.

“For customers signed up for StartTV, nothing will change until the end of their contract period,” the spokesman stressed, adding that Telekom will inform them in time to ensure that they can find an alternative.

Deutsche Telekom launched StartTV on May 2, 2017. The offer comprised around 100 TV channels, 22 of them in HD quality, for €2 per month. Customers needed an internet connection from Deutsche Telekom and the IPTV receiver Entry they could rent for €2.95 per month or purchase for €79.99.

StartTV complemented Deutsche Telekom’s more comprehensive IPTV platform Entertain TV.

BrightBlue and Amino team up for IPTV service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

UK-based technology solutions provider Amino has entered a partnership with BrightBlue, Germany’s new turnkey IPTV service provider.

Amino delivers the technology behind the multiscreen IPTV service unveiled at ANGA COM 2018 targeting small and medium-sized fibre-optic, cable and VDSL network operators.

The white-label product contains over 150 TV channels, more than 150 radio stations and over 30 SVOD and HbbTV applications. The platform also includes interactive features such as replay TV, start-over, pause live TV and network PVR.

Amino is providing BrightBlue with 4K/Ultra HD from its ‘View’ range of devices and its ‘Enable’ software solution to ensure delivery of next-generation functions in-line with BrightBlue’s roadmap.

Amino’s ‘Engage’ service assurance platform enables BrightBlue to support and improve quality of service across its network. By leveraging the system’s self-install capabilities, BrightBlue will also reduce deployment costs and support its rapid rollout commitment, according to Amino.

The BrightBlue solution is available for demonstrations at ANGA COM 2018 on the Amino booth (hall 7A/stand 51).

Zattoo presents 4K/UHD on Apple TV at ANGA COM

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo is showcasing 4K/UHD on Apple TV live at trade show ANGA COM, beginning today in Cologne, at its booth in hall 8/R9.

Swiss telecommunications provider Salt will be the first B2B customer to offer 4K/UHD on the Apple TV 4K box. The company launched its own landline network product in 2018, deploying a TV solution with Apple and Zattoo. The product’s key component is the Apple TV 4K box which is being used with operator login for the first time outside the US.

Consumer streaming devices such as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are playing an increasingly important role for network operators. For example, German broadband provider 1&1 Telecom AG – also a client of Zattoo – fully supports Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV along with a classic set-top box on its recently launched TV service.

The white-label IPTV solution from Zattoo allows network operators to roll out a complete IPTV product or a hybrid cable IP product under their own brand and with their own product profile without having to invest in expensive software or hardware components.

The platform and TV service are fully operated by Zattoo and include constant updates and developments, enabling network operators to remain competitive in the race with large national and international market players.

GeniusPlusTV and Sparhandy TV choose DNMG

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The two German home-shopping broadcasters GeniusPlusTV and Sparhandy TV have concluded framework agreements with Deutsche Netzmarketing GmbH (DNMG) for the distribution of their channels.

The multi-year contracts grant the free-to-air channels access to the more than 200 network operators organised in DNMG, enabling them to expand their reach via cable and IPTV networks.

GeniusPlusTV, operated by Genius GmbH, offers products in the fields of cooking, household, lifestyle and beauty. As an independent online reseller, SH Telekommunikation Deutschland GmbH sells mobile services through Sparhandy TV.

DNMG is the largest marketing organisation for medium-sized and municipal operators of cable and fibre-optic networks in German-speaking countries, linking broadcasters and network operators through carriage contracts.

WEMACOM selects content4tv for IPTV service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

With WEMACOM Schwerin, another customer from the municipal utility sector has opted for German B2B service provider content4tv as the TV channel distribution rights supplier for its IPTV service.

content4tv provides WEMACOM Schwerin with the carriage rights for free-to-air TV and German-language pay-TV channels as well as international channels with the rights package including non-linear functions and multiscreen distribution on mobile devices.

The agreement with content4tv enables the regional telecommunications company to expand its portfolio with a comprehensive TV service, thereby strengthening customer retention. Following successful tests, the IPTV product will shortly be introduced.

Following the signature of distribution contracts with a total of three platform partners as well as municipal utility companies and city carriers, content4tv will be present at upcoming trade fair ANGA COM 2018 with its own stand (hall 8/R31) for the first time.

“We look forward to detailed, personal discussions with network operators and TV broadcasters about our portfolio and our product roadmap”, said Martina Rutenbeck, managing partner of content4tv, in the run-up to ANGA COM (June 12-14, 2018, Cologne). “We offer network operators advice on how they can ensure a modern, future-proof TV provision for their customers with our consistent B2B support, thereby capturing new business opportunities and customer groups.”

Exclusive: M7 sets up IP livestream head-end for network operators

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group has created a central head-end in Hilversum for the delivery of linear TV channels as IP streams through fibre-optic networks to network operators.

“The move is part of our aim to make everything as easy as possible for our network partners,” Christian Heinkele, managing director of Eviso Germany, business partner of M7 Group, told Broadband TV News. He added that the streaming service will enable direct redistribution of the signals to end-consumers, either in IPTV or DVB-C mode.

The decision to build the M7 Livestream hub, which will be launched at this year’s ANGA COM trade show in Cologne, was based on demand by M7 partners, in particular municipal utility providers and city carriers with an all-IP infrastructure and a single, central head-end, explained Heinkele. M7 has won seven new customers in Germany in the past months, most of them from this business segment.

M7 Livestream will be rolled out in German-speaking Europe and initially mirror the channels available on M7’s transponders on Eutelsat 9B (9° East), but it can be expanded any time by adding more free-to-air or pay-TV channels, both from Germany and other countries, based on the requirements of its network partners, said Heinkele. “Everything is possible.”

The hub will eventually be able to provide of the complete range of channels offered on a typical cable network or IPTV platform ranging from public and commercial free-to-air channels to pay-TV and international channels. Several network operators have already indicated their interest in such an all-inclusive service provided by M7, said Heinkele.

He explained that this scalability was one of the advantages of the streaming hub. Channels can be added as required by platform partners, even ones not available on satellite, including Ultra HD channels. The majority of channels is delivered to the Hilversum hub through fibre-optic networks as IP streams anyway. If network operators want to expand their channel line-up, they don’t have to invest in upgrading their head-ends as everything comes from one source, bundled from different streaming sources and satellite positions, said Heinkele.

Add-on services such as time shifting, instant restart, instant replay, catch-up TV, cloud recording, OTT and multiscreen delivery are features the network operators can deploy individually from their head-ends.

M7 has invested significant amount into the streaming hub which has been built up in the past one and a half years, said Heinkele. The facility is equipped with the latest generation video delivery technology from Harmonic, turning into one of Europe’s most modern head-ends, according to Heinkele. The IP streams are delivered from Hilversum to the Equinix data centre in Frankfurt from where the platform partners can access them through fibre-optic networks.

Heinkele stressed that M7 Livestream was not primarily set up to replace satellite delivery as there was still strong demand for this type of channel supply from classic cable operators, especially if they have several local head-ends spread across their footprint. It can, however, provide redundancy for satellite reception and vice versa. There is also the option of combining satellite and IP delivery at the network operator’s head-end, for example to provide additional channels or Ultra HD services not available on satellite.

The hub in Hilversum can also be used by non-M7 clients to operate their own streaming services, said Heinkele, adding that several third-party companies have already indicated their interest.

DTH satellite continues to grow in Austria

By JΓΆrn Krieger

With 2.05 million households, DTH satellite reception remains the most widely used TV reception method in Austria.

Compared to 2016, the number of satellite households increased by 20,000 last year, according to the Astra TV Monitor 2017. The number of cable households fell from 1.11 million to 1.05 million.

There was growth in the number of IPTV households, which rose from 0.26 million to 0.27 million, and in number of DTT households, which climbed from 0.17 million to 0.21 million.

DTH satellite reception thus has a market share of 57% of Austrian TV households, cable networks 29%, IPTV 8% and DTT 6%.

HDTV is becoming increasingly popular: Of the 3.57 million TV households in Austria, 2.89 million (2016: 2.72 million) are now receiving their programmes in HD quality. Only 0.69 million households are without HDTV.

The TV selection for Austrian DTH satellite viewers has further increased with the latest additions including schauTV HD, RTLplus Austria, n-tv Austria and oe24.TV.

The Astra TV Monitor is carried out annually by market research institute GfK Austria on behalf of Astra. During the survey period at the end of 2017, 2,000 households throughout Austria were interviewed. The figures refer to the household’s main TV reception method, mostly the large TV set in the living room.

waipu.tv adds Gute Laune TV and Planet

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German IPTV platform waipu.tv has added music channel Gute Laune TV and documentary channel Planet to its pay-TV line-up.

The pay-TV package now features a total of 11 channels. Besides the two new additions, it contains Jukebox, RCK.TV, Fix & Foxi TV, GoldStar TV, Romance TV, Heimatkanal, Sport1 US, sportdigital and Motorvision TV.

waipu.tv offers its users currently more than 90 channels, most of them also in HD quality, and a large stock of on-demand content.

KPN drops TV5Monde, replaces with France 2

By Robert Briel

Dutch IPTV provider KPN will drop TV5Monde as of July 1, 2018, and replace it with public service channel France 2.

This change also applies to KPN’s sub-brands XS4All and Telfort, two KPN. KPN indicates that it chose France 2 because it broadcasts more news and live sports (World Cup and Tour de France).

“TV5Monde regrets KPN’s decision. The channel was added in HD quality just a few months ago, which is why we are very surprised by this decision,” said André Vroegindeweij, director of Pratensis Media and agent for TV5Monde in the Netherlands.

TV5Monde charges a fee to KPN, of less than two cents per subscriber a month, which covers costs to ensure the continuation of Dutch subtitling.

The channel provides most of its programmes in prime time with Dutch subtitles, allowing viewers who are not proficient in the French language to watch French-language films, series, documentaries, current affairs programmes and lifestyle magazines. Currently, 55% of TV5Monde viewers are not French-speaking, a percentage that has been steadily increasing over the last three years (source: Ipsos 2014-2016).

Vroegindeweij added that KPN no longer wishes to spend less than 2 cents per subscriber per month, while the provider does increase its consumer prices by at least €2.50 per month for its IPTV customers.

QSC selects Zattoo for IPTV service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German service provider QSC has compiled a triple play package with TV, telephony and internet services as a white label product for municipal utility and regional telecommunications companies.

The TV offer is based on Zattoo’s white label IPTV platform and is fully hosted and managed by Zattoo.

“This enables municipal utility companies to offer an all-in-one package comprising internet access, telecommunications services and IPTV under their own name,” said Dietmar Becker, Head of Business Development Telecommunications at QSC. “This is of interest to all municipal utility and regional providers currently taking the fibre-optic network rollout into their own hands in order to make state-of-the-art broadband communication possible for local companies and private households.”

The IPTV offer contains around 100 live TV channels in SD and HD quality, non-linear functions and access to video-on-demand services such as maxdome. The white label platform also handles order and customer management (CRM).

Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B TV Solutions at Zattoo, added: “We are very pleased that our modern IPTV solution was able to convince QSC AG. This gives municipal utility companies the opportunity to offer their own state-of-the-art TV product without having to invest in complex and expensive IPTV technologies.”

In France, IPTV viewing equals DTT reception

By Robert Briel

For the first time in France, television viewing via the internet now equals reception of digital terrestrial television via the nation’s TNT network.

According to figures from the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) for the third and fourth quarters of 2017, viewing via the web continued to grow (+1.1% in six months), thanks to the increase in the speed of fixed broadband and to the ISP subscriber base growth.

The downward trend of digital terrestrial reception has intensified since the second quarter of 2016: the TNT platform lost nearly five points in a year and a half. The reception has tended to stabilise over the past several years.

It is likely that viewing via a fixed line (ADSL, pay cable and optical fibre) will quickly become the first mode of viewing television on all household sets, as is already the case for the main TV set.

Swisscom selects Ateme for virtual IPTV headend

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom has chosen the Titan virtual encoding solution from French video delivery solutions provider Ateme for its MediaCloud project.

The project’s aim is to build one of the industry’s first virtualised IPTV video headend systems based on video transcoding to manage the numerous TV input formats. Alongside this, Swisscom wants to adapt the output video channels to meet the requirements of its consumers.

Transcoding Swisscom’s live TV channels with Titan enables the company to enhance its MediaCloud project with virtualised, cloud-based technology, providing increased system agility at reduced costs, according to Ateme.

“Ateme is a leader in the world of cloud-based transcoding. The team understood our needs to build an IPTV virtual video headend which offers rapid channels set up and tear down, along with providing agility to keep up with consumer demand and technology changes,” said Bruno Haug, Head of TV Development at Swisscom.

“Our new virtualised headend has the ability to take a new channel aboard in minutes, enabling it to match consumer technology demands by rapidly adding popular new programming, offering dedicated channels for big events, upgrading channels to 4K and adding new compression standards to support the latest TV-watching device,” he added.

T-2, Amino 4K Slovenia launch draws closer

By Chris Dziadul

Further details have emerged about what will be Slovenia’s first 4K Ultra HD services, launched by T-2 in cooperation with Amino.

T-2 will use Enable software from Amino to upgrade its offer to include 4K Ultra HD and value-added VOD and SVOD services.

The software will support a range of new features, including time shift and advanced search fore both in-home and mobile TV services. It will also allow for the introduction of new content categories.

Commenting on the development, T-2 CSO Gregor Stampohar said: “We want to provide our customers with the very latest entertainment experiences and Amino’s solutions have been a key factor in the successful launch of our new service offering. At the same time, we are also seeing the value of customer self-install of devices with considerable cost savings in terms of reduced engineering visits. It is our goal to offer our customers the best user experience.”

Amino CEO Donald McGarva added: “Operators are now balancing the delivery of the latest high- quality consumer experiences around the home with a cost-effective drive to reduce installation and customer running costs. Our solutions are designed to meet these key objectives – and we’re delighted to be working closely with T-2 on their exciting rollout.”

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, T-2 has opted for the latest model of Amino Communication’s Kamai 7 series with the latest broadband chip. The receiver has a 4K UHD certificate and will in the future support High Dynamic Range (HDR).