Light Reading

2012 Leading Lights Finalists: Best Service or App (Cable)

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner

Liberty Global's Horizon TV
John Malone's vision for the Motorola DCT5000 (may it rest in peace) back in the late 90s and early 2000s appears to be fulfilled with Horizon, Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s all-dancing, all-singing, IP-capable video platform. Liberty Global's now got a souped-up video weapon to wield against satellite, terrestrial and wireline TV rivals.

It's got Wi-Fi and access to Web- and MSO-supplied video services and apps. It can shuttle video to screens hanging off the home network. And it wraps everything together with NDS's (now Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s ) eye-popping, cloud-based Snowflake user interface.

After getting this bad boy booted up in the Netherlands, launches are slated to follow in Switzerland, Germany and Ireland.

thePlatform's mpx Essentials
thePlatform Inc. , the Comcast-owned Web video publishing unit, has already made its mark with major programmers and pay-TV operators. But it's got a pretty good growth strategy brewing for the mid-tier market using a scaled-down version of its publishing platform, which starts at $499 per month. That puts it in contention for business in a broader set of retail, education and healthcare markets that historically has gone to Ooyala Inc. , Brightcove Inc. and Kit Digital .

thePlatform's also has the content delivery network (CDN) component in place by having Essentials run on Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM)'s HD network. And it's got the multiscreen piece handled with a system that can create adaptive-bit-rate streams so video can be scaled for an array of mobile devices and connection speeds.

Wipro's WiPro Accelerate
The pre-paid model is already lucrative for mobile carriers, and it could help U.S. cable operators, too, with the emergence of Accelerate, a managed service from Wipro Ltd. (NYSE: WIT) that handles billing, cash management, customer care and other operational support for service providers. Cable's backoffice systems aren't typically set up for pre-paid, and there's been little economic incentive for MSOs to pursue what's been considered an unattractive market for broadband.

Wipro believes its managed approach will obliterate those perceptions by making pre-paid profitable without cannibalizing the existing subscriber base. And there appears to be some serious revenue at stake. In the U.S., it's estimated that up to $7 billion is up for grabs when factoring in unbanked or high credit-risk consumers who are willing to pay about $26 for a month of broadband but would not qualify for services under the usual payment/credit models. And broadband could be just the start. Wipro claims its approach could also give MSOs a way to offer pre-paid video services, too.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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