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Arris Taps Wurl for New OTT Platform

Arris is launching a new TV app platform for cable operators with the help of a Silicon Valley startup, Wurl Inc. Dubbed Arris Market, the set-top software is integrated with the Arris Whole Home Solution (based on the original Moxi platform) and includes a customizable HTML5 interface and content discovery features that span both over-the-top services (OTT) and traditional cable video.

The new app marketplace isn't the first app platform that Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) has deployed, as discussed in More Apps for Arris. The company previously used a solution from AppCarousel Inc. , but user group studies suggested it needed a new approach to search and discovery. (AppCarousel is still an Arris partner on other fronts.) Instead of directing users to open an app and then search within it, Arris wanted to elevate the search function across different types of video content. Ron Miller, vice president of product management for Arris, confirmed that with Wurl, "it's really their indexing engine that's of interest."

The indexing search engine is the Palo Alto firm's secret sauce. According to Wurl CEO Sean Doherty, the engine pulls in video and ranks it according to the highest quality, most professional content available. Operators can use the technology to expose new content choices to viewers and help bridge the gap between cable and OTT services. Doherty said the goal is to "convert the audience for linear broadcasting… really effortlessly, with a single click, to OTT content."

Miller explained how Arris Market using the Wurl platform could specifically benefit pay-TV operators. In addition to helping with video search, the technology can be used to recommend OTT content that is relevant to programs a subscriber is already watching. For example, if a viewer likes TV cooking shows, an operator could recommend additional video clips from the Food Network available through an associated app.

While the TV software market is heating up, Wurl is still a relative newcomer to the industry. CEO Doherty, however, said that his company has been working with Arris for more than a year and has also partnered with a number of middleware providers. (See Beyond RDK: A New TV Turf War.)

At launch, Arris Market is only available to customers who are implementing the Arris Whole Home Solution, which primarily means tier-2 and tier-3 operators. However, Miller emphasized that the platform could be extended to other types of deployments as well. Arris also markets the DreamGallery UI software, which is currently in use by Shaw Communications Inc.

Arris will demonstrate the Arris Market at the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) 's Independent Show in Kansas City, Mo. next week.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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