Light Reading

Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/28/2012
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Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) has released a new set of software for origin and cache servers designed to enable cable operators to stream live and on-demand video via IP directly to broadband-connected TVs made by some of the world's top consumer electronics manufacturers.

The software, which has been added to Concurrent's MediaHawk VX "unified" video delivery software for traditional QAM-based and over-the-top video services, could set the stage for cable operators to deliver their full suite of video services via "smart" TVs without the need for a separate set-top box. However, it's expected that the initial focus will be on video-on-demand applications.

The latest release provides integration with the app environments of several big TV makers, including Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Samsung Corp. , Royal Philips Electronics N.V. (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) , LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) and Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502), according to Concurrent SVP of Strategic Marketing Jim Brickmeier.

The platform already supports Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s and Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE)'s adaptive bit rate streaming formats for other types of connected screens, including gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones.

Brickmeier says an operator in Europe is interested in using the enhancements to extend services to smart TVs and to compete with over-the-top apps. He declined to name the operator, but Kabel Deutschland GmbH is one of Concurrent's key customers in the region.

Concurrent, which competes primarily with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in this particular video systems market, also counts Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. and Japan's Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) among its larger customers. Of those, TW Cable and Cox already assembled content delivery networks (CDNs) that enable them to deliver a subset of their live TV lineups to PCs and certain models of tablets, smartphones and PCs. TW Cable, meanwhile, already has deals to provide apps on TVs made by Sony and Samsung, and has been eager to remove set-tops from the equation as those devices incorporate more and more functions. (See TWC CEO Heaps More Dirt on the Set-Top Box .)

Why this matters
This development puts Concurrent's customers significantly closer to extending their services to connected TVs and gaining an important presence alongside Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Hulu LLC and other over-the-top applications.

For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:59 PM
re: Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs


This doesn't mean the death of the set-top box is upon us, of course, but it will help to curtail cable's reliance on traditional set-top boxes. Instead, I still believe we'll see a move toward centralized home gateways that can shuttle IP streams to these TVs, tablets and cheap IP-only clients... and the latter is something that both Comcast and TW Cable are pursuing, along with many other cable operators. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:58 PM
re: Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs


Yeah, it seems like there are different strategies in play here, at least when it comes to providing this sort of access in the home.  Some MSOs like TW Cable, Cox and Cablevision are already delivering live TV streams out of the cloud to devices like the iPad using an IP simulcast-like approach, while Comcast, at least for now, and some of the TiVo cable partners are handling that sort of thing with  transcoding devices. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:58 PM
re: Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs


Well, they certainly have to be wary of the Netflix Problem, where they'd have to keep track of and update apps for almost every different platform under the sun.   From what i've been told, the cable guys will try to keep this management nightmare in check by supporting the most popular devices and platforms and not giving much love to the outliers. We'll have to see how smart a decision that is... people who use unsupported devices will of course complain....loudly.  JB

msilbey
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msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:16:58 PM
re: Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs


It sounds like Concurrent believes transcoding and formatting will take place at the edge of the network rather in the home on a gateway. Curious to see what the level of enthusiasm is for that route.

msilbey
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msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:16:58 PM
re: Concurrent Helps Cable Connect to Smart TVs


Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but it sounds like the assumption is that operators will start creating apps for every different smart TV app platform. I get the idea of converting to IP at the edge, but it sure seems impractical to try to integrate with all of the CE manufacturers out there. 

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