Video services

Clearleap, IBBS Take MSOs to the IP Video Bridge

Clearleap and OSS and provisioning specialist Integrated Broadband Services LLC (IBBS) have teamed up to help a batch of Tier 2/3 service providers make the jump to IP video and protect themselves against Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and other over-the-top (OTT) threats.

In a deal announced Wednesday, IBBS will resell Clearleap's Stream On Demand platform to its customer base, which currently covers 1.4 million devices under management.

Stream On Demand (A 2011 Leading Lights finalist, by the way) is a white-label hosted service powered by a network of Clearleap data centers that streams VoD content over an operator's managed IP network to hybrid set-top boxes and a growing number of connected consumer electronic (CE) devices. The service works with QAM/IP boxes from Pace plc , Roku Inc. boxes and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) broadband-connected TVs. Clearleap's partnership with Related Content Database Inc. (RCDb) also gives it access to Playstation 3 consoles and range of other Blu-ray players. (See Clearleap Helps Indie MSOs Tackle OTT.)

There are two primary markets that IBBS and Clearleap will target: MSOs and telcos that have not yet launched, or can't afford to build, a typical headend-based VoD service; and service operators that already offer VoD using traditional QAM-based boxes and MPEG-2 transport but are looking to expand their content libraries by ingesting content over IP via their managed broadband networks and keeping that experience buffer-free.

Both scenarios would also include any CE device supported by Clearleap and help an MSO push its own TV Everywhere strategy. Clearleap has yet to announce a hook-up with the Xbox 360, which is already set to work with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s Xfinity on Demand service and with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s VoD platform and a subset of live channels. Hooking up with the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) console "is something we'd like to do," says Peter Ansel, Clearleap's VP of business development.

Why this matters
The partnership aims to give smaller operators, which are especially exposed to OTT video competitors, the kind of IP video bridge to set-tops and CE devices that larger MSOs have the resources to handle in-house. And Clearleap has already integrated with IBBS's backoffice systems, so rollouts for IBBS's current customers should be much more straightforward than for a small operator starting from scratch. But they have yet to announce any deployments that are linked to this deal.

For Clearleap, which already counts Mediacom Communications Corp. and Verizon among its customers, the partnership will give it exposure to IBBS's base of 250 broadband provider customers, including RCN Corp. , Suddenlink Communications and MetroCast Cablevision .

For more
Read more about cable's pursuit of IP video, CE connections, and TV Everywhere. — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:50:59 PM
re: Clearleap, IBBS Take MSOs to the IP Video Bridge

So what this means is we'll have a million app choices for VOD content. Not a bad thing, but I can just imagine what the connected TV and Xbox menus are going to look like. 

What's interesting to me here is the workaround taking place to beef up VOD libraries when most cable operators are straining to meet the resource requirements of narrowcast QAM delivery. The workaround means operators are ending up with two different VOD offerings, each with a different set of content. Would be nice if we could just skip to the all-IP endgame, but that's still a long way off.

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:50:58 PM
re: Clearleap, IBBS Take MSOs to the IP Video Bridge

Good point. And I can't imaging the operators will want to limit the content available to their subs, so that gives all the leverage to the CE providers.

But also, will CE app store providers be able to customize the interface based on geography? After all, why have an Xfinity app highlighted if a consumer isn't in the Comcast footprint? Can't imagine Comcast would pay for that.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:50:58 PM
re: Clearleap, IBBS Take MSOs to the IP Video Bridge

Makes me wonder how much an MSO will have to pay to get a premium spot on the interface of the connected TV, Roku, Xbox 360 or whatever retail device we happen to be talking about.  They'll want to be on that opening page and I imagine the device guys will want to feature the best stuff up front, but it'll be prime real estate that I imagine the CE guys would want to charge a premium for. Or perhaps it's some negotiation leverage MSOs can use in terms of how much of their content can be fed to these retail devices.  JB


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