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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Zattoo extends 1&1 IPTV by 4K TV stick via Android TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo presents its end-to-end white-label IPTV platform extended by Android TV live at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam and shows the new 1&1 TV stick for the first time at its booth G06 in hall 14.

Custom launcher technology from the Android TV Operator Tier will be used to expand the Zattoo IPTV platform. Thanks to this pre-configured control software, users like German internet service provider 1&1 can customise the selection of pre-installed Android applications and add their own apps.

Android TV apps available on the new 4K TV stick include the Google Search Assistant, YouTube and Google Play Movies. The stick complements the existing applications and devices for 1&1 Digital TV.

“We are very pleased that 1&1 is the first B2B customer with Android TV to be live on a 4K-enabled stick,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “For 1&1 as well as for the end customers, this is a great addition and expansion: more apps, 4K and the already familiar functions such as live pause, catch-up, cloud recordings – it’s a great package. And we are looking forward to the upcoming innovations we are working on with 1&1.”

Based on Zattoo’s white-label IPTV platform, 1&1 has been the first German fixed-network provider to launch an entirely cloud-based TV service for a large number of devices and platforms in 2017. In addition to the new 1&1 TV stick with Android TV, 1&1 Digital TV can be accessed via the 1&1 TV box as well as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, all popular browsers and Google Chromecast as well as Android TV-based Smart TVs.

IBC 2019: Zattoo to show content discovery 2.0 and VOD 2.0

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo has completely revised its content discovery and video-on-demand (VOD) offer and presents the new features live at IBC 2019 from September 13 to 17 (hall 14, booth G06).

Content discovery 2.0 focuses on the personalisation of recommendations as well as an enhanced search and selection function, enabling the company’s B2B customers to provide their end customers with new intuitive operating functions. Users can see all TV content at a glance and quickly find exactly what they are interested in, according to Zattoo.

“Relevant recommendations, a good search function and intuitive usability are the name of the game for every TV user – and thus for our B2B customers,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “It’s how TV entertainment really makes fun – and gives our B2B customers the opportunity to create an attractive user experience, promote new offerings and continuously optimise the content mix. With the expanded possibilities of content discovery 2.0, we are creating potential for sustainable growth of our B2B customers.”

In the field of personalisation, Zattoo uses algorithm-based recommendation technologies that suggest content to TV users based on their previous viewing behaviour. Besides individual content, the recommendations can also be TV channels. The self-learning algorithms are capable of incorporating any type of content, according to Zattoo.

Swiss network operator Salt Mobile will soon use Zattoo’s recommendation technology for its T-VOD offer in an aim to increase the number of T-VOD purchases.

Last year, Salt introduced a disruptive TV solution in Switzerland with Apple and Zattoo. The main component is the Apple TV 4K box, which is being used with operator login for the first time outside the USA.

Zattoo extends IPTV platform to Android TV Operator Tier

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo takes its B2B white label concept for network operators to Google’s Android TV Operator Tier programme.

The extension of the end-to-end IPTV platform will be presented live by Zattoo for the first time at IBC 2019 from September 13 to 17 in hall 14 at booth G06.

The company’s B2B customers benefit in two ways, according to Zattoo. They can introduce their own TV service and they also have the option of customising the portfolio of pre-installed applications, granting consumers direct access to apps such as Google Assistant, YouTube and Google Play Movies.

Zattoo’s TV-as-a-service approach also eliminates the time-consuming and cost-intensive investment for network operators to set up, host and manage a proprietary TV platform, underlines the service provider. They can offer a TV service under their own brand without having to invest in hardware or software.

“End customers today want access to top-quality TV services. An attractive TV and entertainment offering has therefore become a must-have for network operators,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “This is where Zattoo steps in with its end-to-end service. We are very pleased to be able to offer an even better and more attractive service package, thanks to the Google Android TV operator tier programme.”

IBC 2019: WISI to show IPTV solutions for hospitality industry

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company WISI will unveil various IPTV delivery solutions for the hospitality industry at IBC 2019 at its stand D37 in hall 1.

The portfolio shown in Amsterdam includes the launch of the new end-to-end hospitality solution WISIon, IPTV solutions with digital rights management (DRM), B2B IPTV to edge solutions and a new HEVC decoder module for the Tangram high-density video platform.

WISIon is an IPTV system for hotels, head offices and student campuses. The solution is built on more than 20 years of experience by WISI and its partners and offered as licensed software integrating with WISI head-ends.

Besides standard services like TV and video-on-demand, WISIon includes features such as welcome messages for hotel guests, widgets and weather information. It is compatible with the most popular TV set brands, for example Samsung, LG and Philips.

Iliad announces French rural fibre plan

By Julian Clover

French telecoms group Iliad has unveiled a partnership that plans to accelerating the rollout of fibre outside of densely populated areas.

Its entered into exclusive talks with the private equity firm InfraVia in a bid to reach 26 million lines through a specially created entity.

Iliad’s Free will transfer its existing co-financing agreements to the entity along with around one million connections.

The project is in line with French national broadband plan known as France Plan Très Haut Débit, which aims to connect all households and businesses to superfast broadband by 2022.

Thomas Reynaud, Iliad’s Chief Executive Officer, explained that “The French market is characterised by high demand for fibre across the whole country. Our partnership with InfraVia is an excellent way of accelerating our rollouts so that Free can offer the best speeds to 26 million households as soon as possible, in line with the objectives of our Odyssey plan.”

Free has the largest FTTH network of all the country’s alternative operators, however it lost 127,000 subscribers in a second quarter that has seen rivals gain market share.

Iliad reported an 8.4% rise in revenue to €2.6 billion.

Spain’s RTVE expands to Luxembourg

By Chris Dziadul

The RTVE channel Star HD has been launched on PostTV, the IPTV platform operated by Post Luxembourg.

The partnership between the two parties was facilitated by Alteox Media Consulting, the exclusive content provider for PostTV, and its CEO Sven Breckler said: “We are continuously working to expand the diversity of the content for PostTV.”

Rodolfo Domínguez, commercial RTVE director, added: “We are very proud to reach Luxembourg viewers with our Star HD channel through PostTV.”

As part of the agreement, Star HD will also be available in the international HotelTV product, a joint venture of Post Luxembourg and RTL international.

Star HD is one of four international channels currently operated by the Spanish public broadcaster, the others being TVR Internacional, 24 Horas and Clan.

Deutsche Telekom wins 58,000 new MagentaTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom recorded 58,000 new customers for its IPTV platform MagentaTV in Q2 2019.

The growth was lower than in Q1 2019, when 66,000 new customers were acquired, but higher than in Q2 2018, when 47,000 new customers were added.

As a result, MagentaTV had a total of 3.48 million customers on June 30, 2019, as Deutsche Telekom announced during the presentation of its quarterly figures. This corresponds to an increase of 7.3% year-on-year. On June 30, 2018, the platform had 3.24 million customers.

In the fixed-line business, growth in fibre-optic-based subscriptions (FTTH, FTTC/Vectoring) continued. With 13.4 million customers, the number was 22% higher than in the previous year. In Q2 2019, 521,000 new subscriptions were added.

OTT milestone for Tricolor

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s Tricolor has secured over 500,000 customers for its OTT service in only the first two months.

Furthermore, it expects to increase the number to 2 million by the end of the year, primarily due to new connections.

In a statement, the company adds that it will open its OTT service to non-Tricolor customers this October.

Tricolor has created what it terms as an ecosystem that is already open to all its 12.232 million customers.

It allows them to consume content in the most convenient way, be it via satellite or the internet.

Tricolor says it is in negotiations to open up the ecosystem to leading companies from various industries, allowing them to offer partner services.

Telia’s TV business flatlines

By Julian Clover

Telia’s TV platforms struggled in the second quarter.

In the telco’s home market of Sweden a fall of 9,000 in TV subscriptions was compounded by the loss of 12,000 broadband subs.

In Norway, Telia was down 10,000 subs following the loss of a partner operator.

Finland met with some success as Telia based its TV proposition around the Finnish ice hockey league “Liiga”. TV subscriptions grew by 6,000 and Telia says it has a solid platform for the next season starting in September.

Estonia saw a gain of 3,000 TV subs and Denmark a loss of 1,000.

Separately, Telia has announced the creation of a new unit that will house Bonnier Broadcasting. It says the acquisition of TV4, C More and MTV is of strategic importance to Telia Company as it strengthens the company in the fast-growing area of video content consumption.

IPTV to drive European pay-TV growth

By Chris Dziadul

Europe’s pay-TV market is expected to gain 17.7 million subscribers between 2019 and 2023.

This, according to Dataxis, will represent growth of 8.4%, bringing the total number of subscribers to almost 230 million in 2023.

Growth will be driven by IPTV (+13.1 million subscribers) and OTT (+6.6 million subscribers).

However, cable TV is expected to lose 4.6 million subscribers between this year and 2023.

Fix&Foxi joins PostTV Luxembourg

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German children and family channel Fix&Foxi has launched on IPTV platform PostTV Luxembourg.

The pay-TV service operated by Your Family Entertainment is available as a part of Entertain Me, the flexible subscription model offered by PostTV, in which customers can compile their own package instead of signing up for a specific bundle.

Fix&Foxi can be accessed both via the TV set and the companion app. In total, PostTV offers over 400 channels.

BrightBlue extends IPTV platform to Android TV

By Robert Briel

BrightBlue is extending its White Label IPTV solution to Android TV.

The new application for Android TV-enabled smart TVs and set-top boxes is now available to all customers.

“We are proud that we can now offer our state-of-the-art IPTV service on Android TV as well. We are taking another big step into the market and are positioning ourselves even more flexibly as an innovation leader – especially for all small and medium-sized telecommunications companies that offer or want to offer the television of the future,” says Uwe Nickl, CEO of BrightBlue.

BrightBlue TV is a IPTV platform for network operators in Germany. With this extension, the IPTV solution is now available on all Google Android devices such as smartphones, tablets and TV, Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad), Amazon Fire (smartphone, tablet, box and stick), desktop PCs and laptops (via the browser) and set-top boxes.

BrightBlue’s modular IPTV service is designed for mid-sized and small telecom companies that don’t want to rely on total packages of the large providers. The offer applies to all interested Internet service providers, network operators and providers – across broadband networks (including VDSL, cable or fibre optic).

EE to replace set-tops with Apple TV 4K

By Julian Clover

EE has announced plans to replace its current TV offer with a Home Broadband plan that includes Apple TV 4K.

The BT-owned operator’s new proposition will also include BT Sport, which will be accessed through its dedicated app.

BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Netflix, Prime Video, NOW TV and YouTube will also be available alongside linear channels from the broadcasters and Apple’s recently revamped Apple TV app.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said: “We’re giving customers the TV, film and sport they love in the best quality on Apple TV 4K. By combining Apple TV 4K and BT Sport with EE’s award-winning unlimited home broadband, we’re able to provide our customers with a premium TV service that not only provides great value for money, but a great experience at home, as well as on the go.”

Previously EE offered a set-top box developed by Netgem.

BT itself offers customers a set-top powered by YouView.

EE’s 18 month home broadband packages with Apple TV 4K and inclusive BT Sport start from just £37 per month. They’re available exclusively to EE pay monthly mobile customers with a smartphone or 12/24-month SIM-only mobile plan.

Belgian broadcasters declare war on Proximus

By Robert Briel

Pickx, the new TV platform from Proximus, is already under attack from the country’s four largest broadcasters.

Just one day after Proximus presented its new Android TV based platform, public broadcasters VRT and RTBF and private channels VTM and RTL have put a bomb under this ambitious project. The television channels do not accept that the telecom group is updating its television offer without having given its approval beforehand.

With Pickx, Proximus wants to provide an answer to streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. While viewers now have to check what can be seen per channel, Pickx bundles all programmes per genre. As a customer, you put together your own virtual TV channel. However, without an agreement with the broadcasters, Proximus’ initiative is a threat to the local audiovisual sector.

But in a letter to Proximus CEO Dominique Leroy, the country’s four broadcasters indicate that they never gave their consent for Pickx. In previous meetings with the operator, the four channels have invariably expressed their objections, according to the letter. Moreover, the telecom operator had promised to mention at the presentation of Pickx there was no agreement reached with the broadcasters. That did not happen.

The broadcasters note that the audiovisual sector is in a state of flux as a result of the emergence of deferred TV viewing and streaming services. In their letter to Leroy, the four state they understand Proximus’ change of course. But they condemn the ‘disloyal’ way in which the telecom group is tackling this.

The whole sector is subject to major changes and every player has to compete with the same global and wealthy competitors, the broadcasters say. A balanced agreement between broadcasters and distributors is therefore in everyone’s interest. But given the lack of agreement, Proximus’ initiative is a real threat to the local audiovisual ecosystem.

The broadcasters say they all indicate that they have all, individually, and repeatedly in recent weeks, expressed to the operator their many doubts about the respect of their rights under the Pickx platform.

In particular, respect for the integrity of broadcasters’ content is mentioned. In Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of the country, a decree requires operators to distribute the signal as it is, without altering it. Otherwise, the authorisation of the broadcaster is required. However, by organising the content on its platform according to customer preferences, Proximus is undermining this principle of integrity.

The angry broadcasters conclude saying they hope for a new deal. If they don’t get it, they don’t rule out going to court or politics.

Czech Digi unveils Apple TV app

By Chris Dziadul

All Digi TV customers in the Czech Republic can now access the service via Apple TV.

Commenting on the development, Iveta Slapalova, director of customer services at Gigi TV, said: “In addition to expanding and improving programme offerings this year, Digi TV is focusing on enhancing features and user comfort for our customers. The Apple TV app was preceded by the launch of Digi TV for Samsung’s smart TVs. We have also changed the Digi TV user interface in the browser on computers. More news will follow”.

Arris’s set-top box still remains the most popular way to receive Digi TV. However, the number of connections with Samsung smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets and PCs is also increasing.

Digi TV notes that it is also working on making its service available on other brands of smart TVs and multimedia devices.

New e-shop for Skylink

By Chris Dziadul

M7 Group has launched a new e-shop for DTH and internet TV reception of the Czech and Slovak service Skylink.

As of this Monday, June 3, customers have been able to purchase discounted satellite receivers or the Tesla Mediabox media player to watch Skylink.

Furthermore, for those who wish to switch from DVB-T to Skylink, there are now ready-to-use satellite sets costing from CZK1,999 (€77.4).

When ordering such sets, they will receive a free Kombi package for the first three months; a free satellite registration card; and all equipment necessary to make satellite reception operational.

Skylink can now be received under advantageous conditions and without contractual obligations for monthly fees starting at CZK89.

Meanwhile, the Tesla Mediabox, with an pre-installed Skylink Live TV app, costs CZK1,999 and includes the Kombi package free of charge for three months.

Zattoo to integrate Sky Deutschland into white label IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo will integrate Sky Deutschland’s pay-TV offer into its white label platform for IPTV network operators in Germany.

The partnership covers the entire Sky channel line-up, including the live games of the German football Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League, Formula 1 live coverage as well as series and films.

The first network operators intend to provide their customers with the Sky access this summer, in time for the start of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season.

Zattoo is the first and so far only provider of TV-as-a-Service solutions for network operators to offer such an integration, according to the company. Visitors to German trade fair ANGA COM 2019 in Cologne can take a first look at the Sky integration at the Zattoo stand R9 in hall 8.

With the Sky integration, Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B TV Solutions, wants to expand Zattoo’s leading position as a TV-as-a-Service provider for hosted IPTV services under the network operators’ own brand and design in Germany. Customers include NetCologne, EWE TEL and M-net.

“A full-scale IPTV offering today also includes premium pay-TV with premium sports, Bundesliga football, UEFA Champions League, top series and films – all of which can now be used directly via the Zattoo platform,” said Jaeger. “This is a clear USP of the Zattoo platform and a strong argument for network operators in the competition for end customers.”

All Sky channels are transcoded, encoded and protected via multi-DRM in the Zattoo back-end and can be played out directly over the networks of the network operators. The end customers do not need any additional hardware such as smartcard or CI+ module to use the Sky channels: The network operator’s standard TV box is sufficient.

SPI/FilmBox channels join Salt in Switzerland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

SPI International/FilmBox will further expand its reach in Switzerland with the launch of four channels on the IPTV platform of Swiss telecommunications company Salt in June 2019.

The distribution agreement covers FunBox UHD, Fast&FunBox HD, Gametoon HD and FightBox HD.

FightBox HD, Gametoon HD and Fast&FunBox HD will be available in English while FunBox UHD will be offered in English and German.

Accedo brings MagentaTV to Amazon Fire TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Video solutions provider Accedo has built and delivered Deutsche Telekom’s MagentaTV service on Amazon Fire TV.

The app been developed using Accedo One, the application platform from Accedo, designed to support the development of feature-rich video applications across multiple devices. Thanks to ready-to-use integrations and cross-platform libraries, MagentaTV can be scaled quickly and easily across other platforms, according to Accedo.

“MagentaTV is a great example of an innovative move by a pay-TV operator to deliver a pure over-the-top (OTT) experience for its subscribers. We think that Deutsche Telekom continues to be at the forefront of video innovation and we’re thrilled to be working with them to deliver true value to German video consumers,” said Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo.

MagentaTV also uses Accedo One for real-time app configuration and content management, enabling the German telco to make real-time changes on the fly. As more platforms are added over the coming months, these can be added to the Accedo One platform so that all versions can be managed from one central hub.

Deutsche Telekom has made its IPTV platform MagentaTV (formerly Entertain TV) available as an OTT service in October 2018; the Amazon Fire TV app followed in May 2019.

Zattoo adds Android TV Operator Tier to white label IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo is expanding its white label IPTV platform with an application for set-top boxes based on Android TV Operator Tier.

The new product will be presented at German trade fair ANGA COM, taking place June 4-6, 2019 in Cologne, at Zattoo’s stand R9 in hall 8.

“End customers expect a growing number of new TV functionalities these days. At the same time, the hardware is becoming increasingly complex to meet higher standards, and network operators are facing more and more security requirements,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo.

“With its Android Operator Tier solution, Zattoo is helping operators to overcome these challenges, to make the most of the resulting opportunities and stand out clearly from the competition with attractive TV content and services,” Jaeger explained the reasons for the addition of the Android TV Operator Tier.

“It offers the chance to continue consolidating our position in the important international markets. A leading European network operator will be going live with this solution for its customers very soon,” said Jaeger.

Throughout the world, a rising number of network operators is opting for set-top boxes based on Android Operator Tier as an alternative to Linux-based boxes. Zattoo now offers a fully customisable network operator application as part of its white label platform, allowing operators to offer TV services under their own brand without having to invest in their own hardware or software.