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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Mobile TV

ARTE app gains offline function

By JΓΆrn Krieger

European culture channel ARTE has added an offline mode to its smartphone/tablet app.

With the update of the iOS and Android apps, ARTE content can now also be watched without an internet connection, for example while driving on holiday.

The offline function is available in all six language versions of the ARTE app (German, French, English, Spanish, Polish, Italian).

Programmes that can be viewed in offline mode are indicated by a new button. By clicking on them, they become available offline for 72 hours.

Vivendi closes Studio+ mobile video services

By Robert Briel

Vivendi is closing down its Studio + service aimed at young mobile viewers after racking up losses of EUR48 million in less than two years time.

Studio+ is a mobile TV service offering short form videos for a monthly subscription fee with original made-for-mobile content.

According to BFM Business, the service managed to acquire only 2,567 paying subscribers in France. The venture, which was launched in November 2016, only brought in EUR6.8 million income, resulting in a total loss of EUR48 million.

Vivendi reported a total of 5.3 million subscribers to the service, but as it now turns out, these were on the Telefonica networks in Latin America and not direct subscribers. In France, Studio+ managed an income from subscribers of only EUR77,000 in 2017.

Sky Deutschland brings Sky Kids app to smartphones

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The Sky Kids app, which has been available on tablets for two years, can now also be used on smartphones in Germany.

The app, which brings commercial-free children’s TV shows to the screen, is suitable for the Android and iOS operating systems.

“With Sky Kids on smartphones, we are adding another important reception method to our extensive offer. Since many children have been using mobile phones from an early age, the Sky Kids app provides the youngest Sky viewers with a safe environment in which they can access their favourite series at any time,” said Julia Laukemann, Senior Vice President Product Management at German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland.

“Parents have the ability to customise exactly what content their children are allowed to see. Sky Kids is the ideal proposition for the summer holidays, whether you are travelling, on the beach or at home,” added Laukemann.

Sky Kids offers content from the children’s channels Disney Junior, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Boomerang, Cartoon Network and Junior available on the Sky platform, providing a total of more than 2,000 series episodes accessibly on-demand.

Thanks to the EU portability regulation, the Sky Kids app can be used in all EU countries. The app is free for Sky customers signed up for the Entertainment subscription package.

Unitymedia adds download function to Horizon Go

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator Unitymedia has equipped its mobile TV service Horizon Go with a download function.

With Download 2 Go, customers with a subscription to video-on-demand service maxdome can download films and series, save them on their mobile device and view them for up to 14 days without an internet connection.

Up to three devices can be registered for the download function; up to eight videos can be downloaded per device. Deleting the videos creates space for new recordings. Started videos expire automatically after 48 hours.

All series and films available for download are indicated in the new download area of the app. The new feature is automatically provided at no additional cost in the current Horizon Go app.

German regulator brakes Vodafone’s zero-rating service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German Federal Network Agency BNetzA has prohibited certain conditions of Vodafone Deutschland’s zero-rating mobile tariff option Vodafone Pass.

“Vodafone Pass can still be booked, but adjustments are required for use in the EU. We make sure that Vodafone Pass can be used like at home when travelling,” BNetzA President Jochen Homann said in Bonn.

The use of Vodafone Pass is currently only unlimited in Germany. Since June 2017, however, mobile operators have to offer roaming services in other EU countries on the same terms as in Germany. Vodafone must therefore also open the Vodafone Pass add-on option for use in other European countries, demands BNetzA. Consumers should be able to use Vodafone Pass in other EU countries just as they would at home without using up their national data allowance for roaming.

Roaming providers may limit the use of data in other EU countries as part of a fair use policy. Vodafone reserves the right to restrict the roaming volume for use in other EU countries to 5GB per Vodafone Pass. Although such a restriction is allowed in principle, BNetzA is of the opinion that the volume is insufficient. The authority has therefore prohibited the restriction to 5GB.

Vodafone has received a corresponding prohibition order from BNetzA, a Vodafone spokesman confirmed to Broadband TV News. “We are currently considering legal action against this order.”

Vodafone Pass offers customers a flat-rate for mobile use of various music, video, chat and social media apps. “The use of this service abroad causes unpredictable costs which the foreign mobile network operator would charge Vodafone. An EU-wide use of Vodafone Pass would not be economically viable,” said the Vodafone spokesman, explaining the company’s opposition to the regulator’s demand.

In a comparable case, BNetzA has requested Deutsche Telekom to open its zero-rating tariff option StreamOn for use in other EU countries. Telekom filed an appeal against this order and took legal action at the Cologne Administrative Court.

Vodafone Pass is a zero-rating product in which the data volume consumed by the use of selected partner services is not deducted from the mobile network customer’s data allowance. These services can include audio, video, chat services and social networks.

BNetzA has been investigating since October 2017 whether Vodafone Pass violates the roaming, net neutrality and transparency regulations. The mobile network operator launched the service on October 26, 2017 following Deutsche Telekom, which has been offering its zero-rating tariff option StreamOn since April 19, 2017. Consumer protectors oppose zero-rating services, arguing that they would violate net neutrality.

Ziggo Go enables offline viewing of movies and series

By Robert Briel

Ziggo customers can download most movies and series from the Movies & Series (XL) package to their smartphone or tablet.

The Ziggo Go app allows these downloads to be viewed anywhere in the world without an internet connection.

Content can be downloaded on up to two devices, including HBO titles, and will be available for a maximum of 30 days. Once viewing of the download has started, it will be saved for two days.

This feature is available for smartphones and tablets running on Android 4.4 or higher or iOS 10.0 or higher. Later, the function will also be added to the Windows 10 version of the app.

Customers with the Ziggo GO app can use the download button to see which films and series can be downloaded. A WiFi or 3G/4G Internet connection is required for downloading.

As of April 12, it is also possible to use the Ziggo Go app in the EU as well, as is customary in the Netherlands with an internet connection. This applies to live TV, Replay and Movies & Series (XL). Customers must have the app (iOS, Android and Win10) version of 1 April or later installed to allow viewing through the EU.

M7 launches smart TV app on Samsung TVs

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group has integrated its M7 smart TV app into Samsung Smart TVs built from 2016 onwards.

The M7 smart TV app will be marketed under the local brand names of all M7 Group markets. The roll-out kicks off in Germany, where M7 recently launched Diveo as a new TV consumer brand, which is available to download with immediate effect. In Germany, Diveo is targeting roughly 18 million satellite TV households.

The hybrid satellite and OTT platform Diveo, which M7 Group launched in Germany in February 2018, is now also available through a smart TV app in addition to the Diveo set-top-box and CI+ module.

After the app’s kick-off in Germany it is to be expanded to all M7 Group markets in Europe.

The app, which functions like a virtual set-top box, offers the same user interface and interactive features as the Diveo box without the need for additional hardware. The satellite channels on Astra (19.2° East) are received through the integrated DVB-S tuner and the Diveo CI+ module while additional pay-TV channels and interactive services reach the TV screen through the internet.

The Diveo smart TV app is initially available for all Samsung smart TV sets built in 2016 and later using the Tizen operating system. Other smart TV manufacturers are to follow.

In Germany, this app provides access to up to 70 TV channels in HD quality, over 30 catch-up services and a video-on-demand service with more than 5,000 movies. Interactive features include instant restart and cloud recording. The offer will differ in every M7 market.

The offer can also be used on up to five mobile devices, such as Samsung smartphones and tablets, both within the Wi-Fi home network and through mobile networks.

Diveo has been accessible through a CI+ module since its launch, but in a slimmed-down version lacking, for example, the interactive features.

Satellite households can download the free Diveo smart TV app from the Samsung App Store. After the 30-day free trial period, app users can choose between the same three subscription packages as Diveo customers with a Diveo box or pure CI+ module. The monthly prices range from €7.90 for the basic package to €16.90 for the complete offer.

“Together with M7 Group, we are thrilled to provide our consumers an exceptional TV content proposition. By incorporating M7’s linear and interactive content offering into our platform, we are further enriching Samsung Smart TV users with exciting and innovative ways to discover and enjoy their favourite content,” commented Richard Jakeman, Head of Business Development Smart TV, Samsung Electronics Europe.

“Joining forces with an innovative and renowned TV manufacturer such as Samsung is fully in line with our philosophy, enabling us to make the TV experience for our viewers even more exciting and intuitive”, added Hans Troelstra, CEO of M7 Group.

“The TV sets of the future and the television of the future are not only going hand-in-hand but have now been genuinely combined via the M7 smart TV app.”

Sky Deutschland offers all Sky channels via Sky Go

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland is expanding its Sky Go app for smartphones and tablets with a wide range of linear TV channels.

The portfolio now comprises all Sky channels including Sky Cinema HD and Sky Atlantic HD, all Sky live sports channels, many Sky partner channels such as Fox, TNT Serie, National Geographic and 13th Street as well as all channels from public broadcasters including ARD, ZDF, ARTE and 3sat. More than 40 of the channels are offered in HD quality.

By the end of June 2018, Sky Deutschland wants to provide over 100 linear TV channels as live-streams on Sky Go. Previously, Sky Go users were just able to receive the Sky Sport channels as live-streams.

The TV live-streams on Sky Go can initially only be accessed on smartphones and tablets, a Sky Deutschland spokesman told Broadband TV News, adding that a browser version for laptops and PCs is planned for autumn 2018.

AMC Networks launches β€˜micro channels’ in Spain

By Robert Briel

AMC Networks International Southern Europe has launched the Microcanales app in Spain with programmes of the company’s 14 thematic channels.

With Microcanales, users will be able to get to know a varied sample of AMC Networks’ thematic channels, from episodes of AMC or SundanceTV series; to Hollywood, Dark or Somos movies; documentaries of History or Odyssey; children’s programs of Canal Panda; or content produced by Canal Cocina and Canal Decasa, as well as Blaze, Crimen + Investigación, XTRM and Sol Música.

“We’re launching this app in Spain to increase brand awareness and move our pay-TV offering closer to the 60% of households which are still not subscribing to the service,” said Eduardo Zulueta, president, AMC Networks, Southern Europe and Latin America.

“We are delighted to be able to offer any user a small sample of the variety and quality of our channels, present on the main pay TV platforms: Movistar+, Vodafone TV, Orange TV, Grupo Euskaltel and local operators.”

The app can be downloaded to iOS or Android.

nc+ boosts mobile TV offer

By Chris Dziadul

The Polish DTH platform nc+ has added 22 more channels to its nc+ GO service.

As a result, nc+ GO, which can be received on mobile devices, PCs and laptops, now consists of 118 live channels.

The new channels cover several genres, including films and series (nine, among them several from Filmbox), entertainment (seven), sport (three), documentaries (two) and information (one).

Aside from the 118 channels, eight of which are from Canal+, nc+ GO also offers viewers thousands of films, series and programmes on demand.

It is available free of charge to nc+ customers and can be received on up to four registered devices and two at any one time.

Movie previews for mobile Netflix viewers

By Julian Clover

Netflix is bringing in mobile previews for subscribers watching on the go.

Mobile previews are launching today (Thursday) on iOS and will follow on Android.

Each preview is about 30 seconds long and presented in a vertical format, so they can be watched them without turning your phone. By showing the previewa as a slideshow, subscribers can either tap to play, add to their list, or simply swipe the screen to advance to the next preview.

Last year, previews were added for large screen viewing.

Strategy Analytics: Mobile screens essential for live TV services

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

The continual expansion of display real estate, faster data speeds, specialised data plans and improved video displays, presents a real opportunity for live TV streaming services like Sling TV to be marketed as mobile.

A recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy Analytics, Sling TV Hits 2.2 Million Subscribers: How UX will Determine Future Growth has identified key factors in the success of Sling TV in addition to consumer motivations to replace traditional pay TV services. Smartphones should be prioritized as an alternative screen to consume live TV services – not just for ‘on the go.’

There is a rejuvenated focus on mobile viewing, particularly with 5G, from companies such as Facebook and Snapchat in addition to mobile operators such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. Live streaming TV will also be an important part of this evolution.

Mobile media enthusiasts, whether video or music, have grown accustomed to the instant gratification of streaming content on smartphones, particularly to consume new content. Failing to make a large impact on this space as a video streaming service allows competitors to gain further market share.

Dedicated mobile apps create a starting point to capitalize on an existing customer base. Developing a live TV service within an existing app will allow users to instantly access all types of content remotely.

“Sling TV is losing to a much bigger competitor, Hulu, mainly because of Hulu’s SVOD catalog and history. Hulu has also incorporated their new live streaming TV service into their existing mobile app, thus enabling them to gather a different wave of subscribers from their existing, large subscriber base,” commented Chris Dodge, Associate Director and report author.

“What really helps to drive mobile usage from YouTube, Hulu, and to a lesser extent DirecTV, are their existing dedicated mobile apps. Both Hulu and YouTube have very prominent mobile apps which are optimized for mobile viewing.”

Added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “DirecTV as a traditional pay TV service provided a mobile app allowing users to view their DVR and live TV content remotely. However, like YouTube TV, DirecTV built their new live TV streaming app outside of their preexisting popular app. Building from within like Hulu will be key for live TV services such as Sling TV to generate a stronger mobile presence and ramp up their subscriber base.”

German regulator greenlights Deutsche Telekom’s mobile data flat rate

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Germany’s Federal Network Agency has no objections against Deutsche Telekom’s new mobile phone tariff offering unlimited data volume despite a clause fixing the data allowance in other EU countries at 23 GB per month.

“In principle, companies have the option of restricting the domestically unlimited data volume when it is used in other EU countries,” a spokesman of the regulatory authority told Broadband TV News. He added that, after an initial cursory examination, the authority considers the product to be in accordance with EU roaming rules.

The new MagentaMobil XL tariff Deutsche Telekom unveiled on March 6, 2018 comprises unlimited data volume within Germany. However, when the customer travels to other EU countries, the data volume is restricted to 23 GB per month.

“After use of the 23 GB, Deutsche Telekom is entitled to apply a surcharge of €6 (net) per GB with 1kb accuracy. The customer must explicitly confirm the continued use at http://pass.telekom.de,” a Telekom spokesman told Broadband TV News, adding that this practice was based on EU regulation regarding the appropriate usage of regulated roaming services.

The zero-rating option StreamOn Deutsche Telekom introduced almost a year ago, is, however, encountering resistance from the Federal Network Agency. The regulator prohibited parts of the service on the grounds of violation of EU roaming regulations and net neutrality. The decision is not yet final; Deutsche Telekom appealed against it.

Germany rolls out TV broadcasting via 5G trial

By JΓΆrn Krieger

A test site for TV broadcasting over 5G networks is being set up in the Bavarian Oberland region as part of research project 5G Today.

Under the leadership of the German Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcasts in the Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (FeMBMS) mode over 5G networks.

The project is supported by associated partners Telefónica Germany and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Bavarian affiliate of German public broadcaster ARD. BR is operating the 5G FeMBMS broadcast network as a test site at its transmitter locations.

The introduction of 5G could open up a worldwide market with millions of smartphones and tablets acting as potential TV receivers able to combine live TV services, media libraries, social networks and many other media services, according to the project partners. With the cooperation of European broadcasters and industry players, international standardisation work to enable efficient broadcasting in large 4G and 5G networks was completed in June 2017.

“Together with EBU, BBC, RAI and SWR and industry partners, we have defined the broadcasting requirements for 5G and successfully incorporated them in the international standard,” said Jochen Mezger, General Manager, Business Area Network Technologies at IRT. “Requirements include a 100% broadcasting mode and increased channel spacing. We are pleased that the 5G Today project allows us to implement and evaluate standardisation results at a test site.”

Large and smaller transmitter cells are combined to create a large coverage area. The first test broadcasts using TV signals are expected to take place at the end of 2018. They will be simultaneously broadcast on channel 56 from the BR’s Wendelstein transmitter site (pictured above) and other locations in the Munich area. Until then, components for transmission and reception will be developed and installed, and theoretical studies and preliminary investigations will take place.

Professor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer, Director Production and Technology at BR, said: “With the development of 5G, the standard approaches the classic parameters of a broadcasting system which will enable widespread and economic distribution of television channels. We welcome the opportunity offered by the 5G Today project to test the network of the future with our existing broadcasting infrastructure.”

Jaime Lluch, Director Radio Access Network at Telefónica Germany, added: “As a global network operator and a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, we want to support testing of media content distribution over modern and converged 5G networks. That’s why, if needed, we will give 5G Today another 700 MHz spectrum, one of the 5G frequency bands prioritised by the EU Commission.”

Manfred Reitmeier, Senior Director of R&D Transmitter Systems at Rohde & Schwarz, explained: “The 5G standard offers a unique opportunity to intelligently link the strengths of broadcasting transmission with the extensive opportunities in mobile communications. We are actively involved in this groundbreaking research project, contributing our leading technological expertise in terrestrial transmitter technology and mobile communications T&M technology in order to create the basis for efficiently transmitting media content to mobile and portable devices.”

Ralf Exler, Head of Innovation Management at Kathrein, feels that this project plays an important role in the convergence of broadcasting and mobile communications: “Young people in particular want to receive broadcast content on all user devices. The new standard brings the convergent network a little bit closer.” Customers do not have to worry about how they receive the content they use. “In 5G Today, we will be optimising the antennas and network parameters in the field and conducting test drives in order to be able to offer innovative technology to our automotive customers.”

The 5G Today research project will be funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation over the course of 28 months.

Deutsche Telekom launches unlimited mobile data flat rate

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom has introduced a mobile tariff with unlimited data volume.

MagentaMobil XL costs €79.95 per month, Michael Hagspihl, managing director of the consumer business department, announced at the presentation of the new offer in Bonn.

A domestic telephony and SMS flat rate is also part of the tariff; data access includes LTE. There are 23 GB of data allowance per month for use in other EU countries.

MagentaMobil XL is available through all distribution channels from today.

Up to now, tariffs with unlimited data usage have been available in Germany mainly in the business customer segment at high costs. Deutsche Telekom is the first mobile player entering the B2C mass market with an unlimited data volume.

MagentaMobil XL complements the zero-rating option StreamOn Deutsche Telekom introduced in April 2017. More than 200 video and audio streaming partners have so far been won for StreamOn, said Dirk Wössner, head of Deutsche Telekom’s German business. Their data traffic is not reduced from the high-speed allowance in the customers’ mobile tariff.

Almost a year after its launch, StreamOn now has more than one million users, said Wössner.

Survey: Mobile video streaming can be a pain

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Streaming services are frustrating consumers according to a new survey in the US conducted by Penthera.

Complaints are often related to a poor user experience, which could be improved with D2Go. Penthera is a pioneer in download-to-go (D2Go) functionality.

“Whether they are heading to the beach or the daily commute, consumers recognize they cannot rely on always having video-grade data connectivity. The Penthera survey data shows they see download-to-go functionality as an important tool in assuring the availability of their favorite videos, even if only used occasionally,” said Colin Dixon founder of nScreen Media, a video industry analyst.

The survey finds that 92% of consumers have been frustrated trying to stream video, with the three most common frustrations identified as:

· Buffering, per 65% of participants
· The stream is slow to load, according to 40% of participants
· The placement of advertising, per 50% of participants

Consumer who struggle to stream video retaliate with their pocketbooks. When asked how they react, respondents said:

· 53% will just give up on that streaming session
· 26% said they stop using the unsatisfactory service
· 11% will cancel their subscriptions

“Consumers expect content anywhere, on any device, but delivery on that promise is still at the mercy of robust, ubiquitous Wi-Fi connectivity. We just are not there yet, and consumers are dissatisfied,” said Dan Taitz, president and COO, Penthera.

“Our survey shows that fewer than 9% of respondents said they are ‘never frustrated’ when streaming. The technology exists to satisfy, and even delight, consumers.”

The survey indicates that offering D2Go functionality is also beneficial to the streaming services:

· 39% of survey participants said they are more likely to subscribe to a service offering D2Go
· 34% said they are more likely to watch programming from a service offering the feature
· 18% said they are less likely to cancel a service with D2Go

Some of the survey respondents indicated they already use D2Go to eliminate their streaming frustrations:

· Nearly half of those surveyed said they use D2Go so they don’t have to worry if Wi-Fi is available or robust where they are going;
· Another 21% use D2Go to avoid depleting their mobile data plans
· 17% don’t want to pay for Internet access at their destination (e.g. an airline or a hotel).

A further 53% said they’d be willing to pay more (up to $5 per month) to have download as a feature from their favourite streaming service.

The online survey was conducted in January and attracted responses from 804 men and women, aged 18-64, who stream videos on mobile devices.

Deutsche Telekom wins 260,000 IPTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

IPTV platform Entertain TV has emerged as a growth driver for German telco Deutsche Telekom in 2017 with 260,000 new customers added.

This corresponds with an increase by 9% to a total of 3.14 million customers. In 2016, just 196,000 new customers were recorded.

The number of broadband customers rose by 287,000 to 13.21 million in 2017 with 5.8 million of them having fibre-optic connections (including Vectoring).

For its controversial zero-rating tariff option StreamOn in the mobile business, Telekom has won almost 800,000 customers so far. Comparable options are offered by Telekom’s subsidiaries in Croatia, Poland, Romania and Greece as well as by T-Mobile US.

EXCLUSIVE: M7 launches DTH platform in Germany [Analysis]

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group will launch a DTH platform in Germany on Astra (19.2° East) on February 14, 2018.

The hybrid service branded Diveo (a reshuffle of the word Video) will combine the worlds of DTH and OTT, enabling on-demand, interactive and cloud-based PVR services, Oliver Rockstein, Executive Vice President of M7 Group, told Broadband TV News. The full offer will also be available on smartphones and tablets through Android/iOS apps, both via Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile networks.

The set-top-box will connect the linear TV channels from Astra with the streaming and interactive services from the internet on the TV set. There will also be a CI+ solution.

The basic package Erlebnis (‘Experience’) contains more than 50 HD channels, among them the free-to-air channels of public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and commercial broadcasters including RTL, ProSiebenSat.1, Discovery and Viacom for €7.90 per month.

The basic package also comprises non-linear functions such as live pause, restart, the broadcasters’ catch-up portals, a T-VOD service from Videociety with over 5,000 movies and a network PVR enabling cloud-based recording. 10 hours of storage capacity are included in the basic package with customers being able to sign up for larger packages with 100, 250 and 500 hours.

The Entdecker (‘Discoverer’) package for €11.90 per month additionally contains three pay-TV channels subscribers can choose from the Diveo premium line-up. The selection can be changed each month.

The all-in bouquet Vielfalt (‘Variety’) for €16.90 per month comprises the full line-up of more than 20 pay-TV channels, for example 13th Street HD, auto motor und sport channel, AXN HD, Fox, Gute Laune TV, Heimatkanal, kabel eins classics, Kinowelt TV, Marco Polo TV, Mezzo Live HD, MTV Live HD, NatGeo Wild, Penthouse HD, Planet, ProSieben Fun HD, RCK TV, Sat.1 Emotion, Sony Channel HD, Silverline Movie Channel, Sport1 US HD, sportdigital HD, Syfy HD and Universal Channel HD.

The set-top-box is sold online for the special introductory price of €79 with the CI+ module costing €49. Rental options are currently not available. The minimum subscription period is 12 months. Initially, Diveo will distribute subscriptions and the hardware through its website with large electronics market chains and local retailers to follow as the next step.

Rockstein stressed that all linear TV, on-demand and interactive services are integrated on a single user interface. “It’s not just a line-up of different apps.” The deep integration enables functions such as searching for series, movies or actors across several broadcasters’ catch-up services. Through the Android and iOS apps, the full service is available on smartphones and tablets, enabling, for example, remote recording.

Rockstein acknowledged that it’s been a challenge obtaining all the rights required for the on-demand, interactive and mobile services. “But we’ve got everything possible.” This excludes rights, for example for certain programmes, broadcasters were unable to provide.

The platform uses a smartcard-based conditional access solution provided by Viaccess-Orca. For the CI+ module, Diveo has created a smart TV app combining the module with the TV set’s internet connection. This enables the user interface on CI+ to look like the user interface on the set-top box. The first partner offering the Diveo app on its smart TV sets is Samsung with other manufacturers to follow.

The linear SD and HD free-to-air channels are distributed to households through Astra with the pay-TV channels using OTT streaming. Diveo recommends a minimum internet bandwidth of 10Mbps “to be on the safe side”, said Rockstein (pictured), but lower speeds worked during tests.

Interestingly, M7 didn’t rent its own Astra capacity for the Diveo service, but co-uses existing transponder space of partners. Rockstein didn’t go into detail, but it is likely that one of these partners is Astra: The satellite operator’s German DTH platform HD+ offers exactly the same 23 commercial HD channels as Diveo.

Asked about the differences compared with HD+ and Sky Deutschland, Rockstein pointed to Diveo’s strong non-linear and mobile offer. This is resembled in the platform’s slogan: Mit Diveo wird Fernsehen unverpassbar (‘With Diveo, you won’t miss anything on TV any more’). With this approach, Diveo reacts to the growing demand for non-linear content among satellite households, said Rockstein.

Diveo will only be offered to DTH households in Germany, but Rockstein hinted that it could act as a role model for rolling out hybrid platforms in existing M7 markets. The group, active in Austria, the Benelux countries and Central and Eastern Europe, already uses synergies between its local operations, for example in the areas of set-top-boxes, CI+ modules, OTT, apps and content provision.

The launch of Diveo marks M7’s entry into the German B2C market. The company previously only offered B2B services for cable operators, IPTV platforms and the housing industry, providing TV channels, a multiscreen app and other white-label services. Rockstein doesn’t see a conflict of interest as Diveo just targets the DTH community and not cable households. In fact, the venture would strengthen M7’s foothold in the German market, also for the benefit of its B2B partners.

Broadband TV Views: The launch of a German DTH platform doesn’t come as a surprise as M7 always stressed that this was an option, dating back to May 2014 when the company acquired the KabelKiosk platform from satellite operator Eutelsat.

Diveo will undoubtedly have a positive impact on competition in the German DTH market so far dominated by Sky Deutschland and HD+. Following their removal by Sky, third-party channels such as the pay-TV services from ProSiebenSat.1, AXN and Sport1 US have found a new home on the Diveo platform just like smaller channels that have never been marketed to DTH households, for example Silverline Movie Channel, RCK TV and Gute Laune TV.

Renting no extra Astra capacity, but co-using existing feeds, is a clever move by M7 to save costs, thus making the venture less risky. It should be kept in mind that previous attempts to compete with Sky for DTH households – arenaSAT from Unitymedia and easy.tv from Primacom – failed, not least because of the high costs involved. Nevertheless, Diveo resembles a major strategic move for M7 as Germany is the largest market in the company’s footprint, offering strong growth potential.

But M7 might not remain the only new player in the German DTH market: Transmitter network operator Media Broadcast is understood to continue preparing a DTH version of its DVB-T2 platform Freenet TV targeting Astra satellite households, effectively making Freenet TV available nationwide.

Zattoo adds Eurosport 1 HD in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Eurosport 1 HD has joined OTT platform Zattoo in Germany as part of subscription package Zattoo Premium.

Only the SD version of the sports channel had been available on Zattoo previously which has now been removed.

Through the Recording function, Eurosport’s programmes can be stored in the cloud and started from the beginning through the Restart function. This also applies to sister channels TLC HD and DMAX HD that are also part of Zattoo Premium.

As a new feature, the three Discovery channels can now be streamed on mobile networks in addition to the user’s Wi-Fi home network. Soon, the Live Pause function will be added, according to Zattoo, enabling the pausing and rewinding of the currently running programme.

The Replay function through which the programmes of the past 7 days can be watched in full length had to be removed on all three channels for copyright reasons, according to Zattoo.

Furthermore, DMAX and TLC decided to remove the SD versions of their channels from the ad-supported, free of charge service Zattoo Free. The channels are now only available in HD resolution as part of subscription package Zattoo Premium.

Special Olympics programming for Uber riders

By Robert Briel

NBC Olympics is partnering with Uber to bring a custom in-ride video experience to US Uber riders during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.

Riders across the country will be able to access Olympic athlete interviews and highlights, curated each day of competition by NBC Olympics.

Once a rider begins their trip, the Uber app will feature a link to an NBC Olympics site, where they can access the interviews, highlights, and content from NBC Olympics’ broadcast team. As part of the series, NBC Olympics will produce exclusive “in-car” interviews for Uber riders. These interviews will feature US athletes and broadcast announcers as they are in transit to and from competition venues, providing a sense of anticipation leading up to an important event, or reaction from a performance or medal win.

“We’re excited to partner with Uber to reach Olympic fans on the go,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics and Business, NBC Sports Group.

“Through great partner platforms such as Uber, fans have more ways than ever to connect with the Games.”

“The Olympics unite the world in sport and we are thrilled to be teaming up with NBC to connect Olympics fans across the country with exclusive content through the Uber app,” said Amy Friedlander Hoffman, Head of BD & Experiential Marketing at Uber.

“For the first time ever, Uber riders will have access to Olympic highlights while on trip, bringing them closer to the action no matter where they are going.”

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