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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

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.

M7 launches Ultra HD package for German network operators

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 will launch an Ultra HD package for cable and IPTV network operators in Germany at trade fair ANGA COM 2019 in Cologne.

The bouquet will include sports, lifestyle and entertainment channel Insight TV UHD and two other channels which M7 wants to announce at a press conference on June 4 at its ANGA COM stand N10 in hall 8.

With a total of three channels, it is currently the largest Ultra HD (UHD) package for cable networks in Germany, according to M7.

With the new product, M7 wants to support its network partners in differentiating themselves from the competition in the UHD market, demonstrating the efficiency of their networks and winning new customers. The first partners plan to offer the package from early June.

The UHD channels will be encrypted by M7 and integrated into the subscriber management system of the network partners. They can carry the entire package or parts of it.

4K Roland Garros boost for Antik Telecom

By Chris Dziadul

Antik Telecom is offering all its fibre-optic TV customers coverage of the French Open Roland Garros tennis championship in 4K/Ultra HD resolution.

Through Eurosport 4K, for which it has purchased exclusive rights for Slovakia during the event, viewers can watch coverage in the basic package using Antik’s state-of-the-art Antik Mini3 and Nano3 set-top boxes.

Commenting on the development, Vlastimil Lakatos, head of TV product management at Antik Telecom, said: “As a technology leader in IPTV, we welcome 4K / UHD quality sports content. It turns out that our investment in very high resolution was strategically correct and Eurosport 4K thus represents the seventh programme in this quality that our viewers can choose”.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, Antik also offered exclusive coverage of Roland Garros in 4K/Ultra HD last year.

Caiway and Delta TV integrate into a single multiscreen platform

By Robert Briel

Dutch cable and internet service providers Delta and Caiway are to provide TV services from these brands on a shared platform, integrated via AminoTV and Stoneroos OTT Now!.

This move comes a year after both Delta and Caiway were acquired in separate deals by Swedish private equity group EQT and merged into Delta Fiber Netherlands.

Delta and Caiway will continue to operate as separate brands, and integrate their pay-TV operations seamlessly and enable a geographically redundant platform via its AminoTV end-to-end multiscreen video platform. The roll-out has already started and will continue throughout 2019. Delta Fiber began working on a shared platform in January 2018 and has continued to make improvements to the QoS of both Delta and Caiway during 2018 and 2019. Each brand will be able to offer an integrated and unified user interface while benefiting from a common, modular backend.

The OTT service is based on Stoneroos OTT Now! platform and includes native smart phone and tablet applications for iOS and Android, as well as a web client, to deliver a smooth and consistent user experience across all platforms.

Making use of the OTT Now! solution, Stoneroos and CAIWay were able to create a cutting-edge brand new TV experience for the new IPTV Platform in a very short time.

CAIWay subscribers now have the opportunity to experience all interactive features such as watching and pausing Live TV, Catch-up services and Recordings on their preferred devices. The new platforms also allows to cast programmnes from mobile devices to regular TV sets using Google Chromecast.

The roll out of the new CAIWay Interactive TV platform builds on the successful introduction of the Delta IPTV platform.

John Wittekamp, CTO at Delta Fiber Netherlands, says: “In enabling us to bring both services onto a single unified backend platform, Amino helps us to boost our efficiencies and provide all our subscribers with an advanced, modern TV service. We can deliver live, on-demand and cloud PVR capabilities through a TV platform that enables us to provide a user-friendly and highly personalised customer experience.”

Amino CEO Donald McGarva notes: “The Delta transformation project delivering modern TV experiences for all its subscribers has proven to be highly successful – gaining new customers and driving net promoter scores that rank with the industry best. We now look forward to replicating this success with Caiway and are pleased to share our knowledge and experience in deploying a smart, cost-effective solution that’s right for both brands.”

McGarva concludes: “Helping operators such as Delta and Caiway future-proof their operations is central to what we do at Amino. Working closely with TV operators of all types to deliver complex cable-to-IP transformation solutions as we all move toward an all-IP future is critical to business success for both our company and our clients.”

Travelxp 4K joins MagentaTV in Germany [UPDATE]

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Global travel channel Travelxp 4K has launched on Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV platform MagentaTV.

The pay-TV service is offered in German language, transmitting in HDR format; localised shows for the German audience are planned.

Deutsche Telekom also wants to make Travelxp 4K available on Zuhause Kabel Fernsehen soon, its TV package for the housing industry.

Travelxp 4k launched in Europe on Eutelsat’s Hotbird satellite system (13° East) in January 2017 and became available on Astra (19,2° East) in December 2017, broadcasting to German DTH satellite households via the HD+ platform.

UPDATE, June 3, 2019 – Travelxp 4k is now also available on Deutsche Telekom’s TV package for the housing industry.

Sunrise launches Apple TV app with operator login from Stoneroos

By Robert Briel

As part of the launch of Sunrise TV neo, Stoneroos has announced the tvOS application with Single Sign-on operator login.

Dutch based Stoneroos is fully responsible for the design and development of the tvOS app, which is connected to the Huawei Envision platform.

Among the available clients on bSunrise neo, the Apple TV app – designed and developed by Stoneroos in close collaboration with Sunrise, Huawei and Apple – will have a prominent role. The combination of the Apple TV box and the Sunrise TV neo app with operator login will work like a state-of-the-art IPTV STB product.

Sunrise TV neo offers more than 230 TV channels, including over 110 channels in HD quality and when on Apple TV 4K also UHD TV channels. Besides watching linear live TV, Sunrise TV neo includes features such as ComeBack TV, nPVR, Instant Restart, Time Shift and Pause Live TV.

The user experience of the tvOS app is fully relying on the Apple Human Interface Guidelines, which makes the app easy to use. By using a variety of sizes and formats for displaying content and the addition of the Sunrise TV neo identity, the app gets an attractive and playful character.

One of the major challenges was to create a fast and intuitive TV guide grid view taking into account the Apple tvOS framework and the wish of Sunrise to show as many channels as possible in one view. Now EPG data loads very quickly which makes browsing the TV guide very smooth and intuitive.

Another complicating factor is to serve the multilingual Swiss TV viewer the best possible way without impacting the user experience, which has been solved smoothly. The app is of course available in four languages, but it also takes into account the language of the subscriber when it comes to content, such as channels, the channel order and recommendations.

Annelies Kaptein, CEO of Stoneroos, said: “We are very pleased that we have the opportunity to work on this great product together with Sunrise and to use our skills to bring Sunrise TV neo to a next level.”

Deutsche Telekom increases number of MagentaTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom acquired around 66,000 new customers for its IPTV platform MagentaTV in Q1 2019.

Compared to March 31, 2018, the total number of customers rose by 7.1% to 3.42 million.

The growth in Q1 2019 was higher than in the same period of the previous year, when Telekom recorded 54,000 new IPTV customers.

The number of customers for fibre-based products (FTTH, FTTC/Vectoring) increased by 688,000 in Q1 2019 and reached 12.9 million at the end of March. This was an increase of 24% year-on-year.

Swisscom continues to grow with IPTV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom has gained 4,000 new customers for its IPTV platform Swisscom TV in Q1 2019.

This corresponds with an increase of 0.3% to a total of 1.52 million customers, the company announced during the presentation of its quarterly figures.

One year ago, on March 31, 2018, Swisscom TV had 1.49 million customers. Over the past 12 months, the number of customers has thus increased by 2.1%.

By contrast, the number of fixed-line broadband connections fell by 3,000 to 2.03 million in Q1 2019. Swisscom attributes this to a “saturated and strongly promotion-driven” market.