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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Mobile TV

Research: up to 90% of 5G traffic could be mobile video

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

The Mobile Video Industry Council expects that up to 90% of 5G traffic could be mobile video.

This projection is based on current trends and the upward trajectory of mobile video traffic, which has grown more than 50% year-on-year.

The Council meeting at their inaugural gathering discussed recent trends in mobile video traffic and content, and operator concerns over RAN capacity, service differentiation and Quality of Experience.

Growth in volumes of video traffic was, unsurprisingly, a major discussion point. What is surprising is the reason for this growth. For most operators, growth in mobile video from 2010 to 2015 came as a result of increased video watch times. But, since 2015, growth in mobile video has come significantly as a result of a move to higher bandwidth HD content, rather than greater watch time only. This has also meant higher levels of obfuscated encryption protocols such as QUIC (Google) and 0-RTT (Facebook and Instagram) flooding the network impeding operators’ ability to deliver a consistent QoE. The Council, including Tier 1 mobile operators Deutsche Telekom, EE, KPN, MTS, Orange, Telefonica, Telus and Vodafone, in fact debated the conflicting components of QoE i.e. Quality of Delivery (reduced buffering) versus Quality of Picture (resolution) and the implications.

A special OTT content providers’ session with Hulu and BT Sport shed light on the problems of shoe-horning TV content into mobile and the launching of new companies developing new video content “made for mobile”. The Council also highlighted the stress placed on networks by live events, especially sporting occasions, such as Russia 2018. Here data consumption during a match was found to be double the data consumed during the “busy hour” for the remainder of the year.

John Giere, President and CEO of Openwave Mobility said: “When 4G was launched, it was all about mobility and connectivity. 4G provided the impetus for companies like Uber, Waze and Spotify. 5G will have far more data intensive services that operators may struggle to grapple with. For example, Augmented Reality can be 33x more data intensive than 480p video, and once 5G comes to the fore, it is expected that OTT services will have more subscribers than pay TV customers.”

Openwave Mobility launched the Council for mobile operators to determine strategies to manage video on 4G and 5G networks. Industry analysts from ABI Research, Analysis Mason and Strategy Analytics held interactive roundtables on 5G, NFV and the RAN.

Arte content now available in Apple TV App

By Robert Briel

Arte content is now available in the Replay section of the Apple TV App.

The Apple TV App, pre-installed on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, bundles the content of media libraries and streaming services and is designed to make it easier for users to access their preferred video content from different providers.

Arte content was already available via the Arte app via iOS and Android as well as the distribution channels Smart TV, HbbTV, Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV in addition to the Arte media library (www.arte.tv).

The Arte content can be found in the Apple TV App via the search function or with the help of Siri. To increase visibility, selected Arte content is also highlighted in various categories on the app’s homepage. To play the videos, users are redirected to the Arte app. Since the application is synchronised across the different Apple devices, users can seamlessly continue watching videos started at home on the go. Favourite films and documentaries can also be shared with friends directly from the app.

The Arte content in the Apple TV App is initially only available for users in Germany and France. The availability and highlighting of content subtitled in English, Spanish, Italian and Polish in other countries will take place at a later date.

UPC rolls out Horizon successor in Switzerland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

[WATCH VIDEO] Switzerland’s largest cable operator UPC will introduce the new Ultra HD/4K-capable digital receiver UPC TV Box on October 4, 2018.

The device, which replaces the current Horizon series, is designed as a multiscreen platform combining linear TV channels, on-demand services and mobile television.

At the heart of the new user interface is a self-learning voice control system. The box also features personal recommendations based on the user’s viewing habits.

The basic TV package comprises over 240 channels including exclusive sports channel MySports One. Netflix, YouTube and Sky Sport are integrated as apps. The offer can be expanded to almost 500 TV channels through additional options.

Using the UPC TV app, viewers can seamlessly switch back and forth between the TV set, smartphone and tablet and continue watching the currently running TV programme.

The cloud storage offers space for 2,000 hours of recordings – regardless of the quality (SD/HD/4K). Other functions include 7-day replay, live pause, forward and rewind as well as a video-on-demand service.

The UPC TV Box, whose prototype was presented at trade fair ANGA COM 2018 in Cologne in June 2018, is offered to customers at the same price as the previous Horizon box.

1+1 opens up VOD platform

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian broadcaster 1+1 Media has launched a mobile app for Android devices for watching movies and TV shows on the VOD platform 1+1 Video.

Its video library contains over 20,000 hours of art and documentary films, serials and entertainment shows produced by the media group. Viewers using the app can watch live broadcasts of the group’s seven channels – 1+1 International, 1+1, 2+2, Tet, PliusPlius, Bigudi and Unina TV – as well as ZIK, UA: First, Public TV, Channel 24 and Channel 8, which are produced by broadcasting partners.

Furthermore, subscribers to the Bezlim Video package offered by the mobile operator Kyivstar will have free access to the app and not be charged for data.

Commenting on the development, Anna Tkachenko, director of pay-per-direction at 1+1 Media, said: “We see increased consumption of content on mobile devices, so we want to develop monetisation of this type of platform. So far, we are working on an advertising model, but in the near future we will launch a paid subscription. It is important for us to give our viewers the choice and convenient format of content fees. So in the future, this product will have two models of monetisation – advertising and paid subscription. If our calculations work, then next year we will release a version for smartphones with IOS”.

Andorra Telecom selects Ruwido remote control

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Andorra Telecom, the national telco of the Principality of Andorra, has opted for a remote control developed by Austrian company Ruwido to enhance the user experience.

The remote control was especially tailored to the needs of the user interface of Andorra Telecom in terms of key mapping, printing and look and feel, enabling seamless interaction.

Bluetooth over the air update support ensures that users always have high quality control and navigation capabilities.

“We’re committed to delivering next-generation IPTV services for our customers, and that includes how they interact with their favourite content,” said Carles Casadevall, B2C Marketing Manager, Andorra Telecom. “By partnering with Ruwido we’re enabling Andorra’s citizens to easily connect to and enjoy TV services.”

Andorra Telecom is the company exclusively providig universal public telecommunications service to the Principality of Andorra including IPTV, broadband and LTE mobile services for consumers and enterprises.

M7 Group and LG Electronics join forces for smart TV app

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group has reached an agreement with TV manufacturer LG Electronics to integrate the M7 TV app into LG’s smart TV sets. The agreement was announced today at IBC 2018 in Amsterdam.

The M7 TV app enables users of webOS-based LG TV sets to access linear and non-linear TV content in HD quality through a central user interface and without the need of a set-top-box. Furthermore, it offers interactive features such as live restart, pause TV and access to media libraries as well as digital services like cloud recording and an electronic programme guide (EPG).

The M7 app will be available on all LG TV sets starting from 2015 (webOS 3.0). In addition to accessing entertainment and digital services on the TV screen, M7 also provides access to these services via an app on mobile devices, enabling a seamless viewing experience when switching between the various screens.

The TV app cooperation between M7 and LG will kick off in Germany where M7 recently launched Diveo as a new TV consumer brand, targeting around 18 million DTH satellite households through Astra (19.2° East), enriching the linear TV offering with a range of interactive and multiscreen features. Cooperations in other M7 markets will follow shortly and will include various co-marketing activities, according to the platform operator.

“We are delighted about the cooperation with such an experienced, innovative and market leading player like LG, recognising the potential of the integrated M7 smart TV application at this early stage. With the M7 CI+ module integrated in the TV set, LG TV users will benefit from an even wider range of exciting TV viewing functions,” said Hans Troelstra, CEO of M7 Group.

The agreement with LG follows the integration of the M7 TV app into Samsung smart TV sets announced in May 2018.

(On the picture Frits van Ravensteijn, LG Director Consumer Electronics Benelux, Andrei Noppe, M7 EVP Technical Operations,. Bill Wijdeveld M7 VP Business Development and Jay Koo, LG Director HE Content Business Development)

Rohde & Schwarz sets up TV broadcasting over 5G trial

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company Rohde & Schwarz has initiated the world’s first dynamic single-frequency network (SFN) with FeMBMS signals in the lab.

The trial takes place within the framework of the 5G Today research project and in cooperation with the Institute for Communications Technology of the Braunschweig Technical University.

LTE Broadcast, also known as Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (FeMBMS), was specified in 3GPP Release 14 in mid-2017. The upgraded standard defines new options for broadcasting to LTE-enabled mobile user equipment such as smartphones and tablets. For the first time, it allows high power high tower (HPHT) applications in downlink only mode.

The new features make it possible to utilise the full signal bandwidth for multicast/broadcast applications. Moreover, 3GPP Release 14 defines an extended cyclic prefix (corresponding to the guard interval in DVB-T/T2) and modes to enable operation without SIM cards, which is necessary for the broadcast application.

The Rohde & Schwarz FeMBMS transmission addresses broadcast applications for video and IP data in HPHT topologies with bandwidths of 5 MHz and 10 MHz. With the trial set-up, the company wants to demonstrate the potential held by 5G Broadcast for applications such as TV services delivered to mobile user equipment and connected cars, and for IoT applications.

Like all SFN networks, the Rohde & Schwarz LTE Broadcast SFN network requires synchronisation information, which is made available to each FeMBMS transmitter via the M1 application protocol. The sync information is generated by an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and completed by an incoming IP-based video data stream, which is either generated or encoded and multiplexed by a headend. SYNC timestamps are inserted into the data stream to generate the M1 user plane data. This data is routed via IP networks to the FeMBMS transmitters, which transmit the signal simultaneously. The FeMBMS signal is received by a software defined radio (SDR).

Currently, a major European 5G field trial is being established in Germany as part of the 5G Today Bavarian research project. Under the leadership of the Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcast transmissions in FeMBMS mode over 5G Broadcast networks. The project is supported by Telefónica Germany and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Bavarian affiliate of German public broadcaster ARD. BR is providing two HPHT sites near Munich for the field trial.

Cosmote TV goes OTT

By Chris Dziadul

Greece’s Cosmote TV has launched Cosmote TV GO, a service that gives access to flexible thematic packs of premium content on mobile devices.

There are a total of three packs – Cosmote TV GO Documentaries, Cinema and Sports, costing €5, €10 and €25 a month respectively, with customers opting for two or more qualifying for a discount of €2 a month for each additional pack.

Cosmote TV GO Documentaries consists of 13 channels, including the proprietary Cosmote History HD, while Cosmote TV GO Sport also offers 13 channels, nine of which are proprietary.

Cosmote TV GO can be accessed on any fixed or mobile network, including devices without a SIM card, on all mobile devices in Greece and the EU.

At the same time, more than one programme can be watched in separate devices simultaneously.

Aside from 45 digital channels, Cosmote TV GO gives access to all Cosmote TV on demand services.

Bitmovin streamlines RTL’s German online platforms

By JΓΆrn Krieger

CBC, the technical services subsidiary of German broadcast group Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, has selected the HTML5 web player and SDKs from US online video technology provider Bitmovin.

CBC is using the solutions across RTL’s multiple web, mobile and online platforms to increase the reach of the content beyond TV screens. Bitmovin’s player provides CBC with a single solution for all platforms, reducing the time-consuming custom development for each web browser, Android or Apple device, according to the company.

Based on an API approach, the player also offers a number of features that can be selected and adjusted to its needs including custom user interfaces, digital rights management (DRM) support for premium, encrypted content, integration of Bitmovin Analytics to monitor performance and full-feature advertising support, allowing CBC to place targeted commercials in all OTT products.

“Today’s consumers want to watch content not only on TV screens, but also on mobile devices. We needed a solution that enables us to deliver a broadcast quality of experience for premium content and commercials, without compromising on content protection features,” said Andreas Schmeiler, head of software development, online services at CBC. “Bitmovin’s feature-rich player provides the backbone to our custom video players and saves us from major investment into building our own solutions.”

Stefan Lederer, CEO at Bitmovin, added: “Our mission is to solve complex video problems, and we have designed our player with compatibility and efficiency in mind. Compromising on quality of experience is not an option for online video, and we are proud that CBC made its decision for Bitmovin.”

MTS and Megogo launch joint offer

By Chris Dziadul

The Russian telco MTS and online video service Megogo have launched a new joint TV and movie offer.

Costing R20 (€0.27) a day in a single subscription and with no charge for internet data, it gives mobile users access to 130 Russian and foreign TV channels, as well as 8,000 films, serials and cartoons in HD quality.

Commenting on the development, Maxim Laptev, the director of the MTS products and partnerships department, said: “Cooperation with online theatres and the promotion of legal content is an important part of the strategy for the development of mobile TV. Users no longer want to choose between TV channels and films, it is more convenient for them to receive high-grade quality content on a single subscription and not to overpay. We are happy to provide such an opportunity together with our partners.”

Viktor Chenakov, Megogo’s general director in Russia, added: “The partnership between Megogo and MTS is a collaborative effort aimed at giving the viewer the most convenient way to watch TV and movies in a single subscription. Last year MTS TV subscribers got an opportunity to evaluate the catalogue of Megogo films. But we do not stand still and our new offer will significantly expand the audience of both services, giving our customers a large selection of excellent video and TV content at a good price with the possibility of a daily payment”.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, MTS and Megogo entered into a partnership in September 2016.

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.

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