Video services

Ericsson Helps Take HBO Over-the-Top

Here's what's shaking today in the world of broadband and cable.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has inked a five-year deal with Urho Digital Services Oy (UDS) to manage the playout and media management components for HBO's big push into Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. HBO Nordic, a joint venture of HBO and Persifal International, will pitch the carriage to pay-TV programmers while also teeing up the launch of a stand-alone streaming service in the region that's expected to cost less than €10 (US$12.58) per month and debut in mid-October. That launch is getting a high profile because HBO has so far resisted the temptation to offer a stand-alone subscription service in the U.S. HBO's experiment in the Nordic could serve as a blueprint for other OTT ambitions. (See HBO, Netflix Set for OTT Video Clash .)

  • Ziggo B.V. , the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, will deploy a cloud-based video-on-demand (VoD) interface in tandem with ActiveVideo , marking the vendor's first deal with a major European service provider. By placing most of the processing at the headend, ActiveVideo's CloudTV platform lets operators deliver graphics-rich navigation to older QAM-based digital cable boxes. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is its largest customer, and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) recently tapped ActiveVideo for a VoD user interface trial in Chattanooga, Tenn. (See ActiveVideo Breaks In at Comcast.)

  • SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) posted a second-quarter net loss of $6.8 million (21 cents per share) on revenues of $36.7 million, citing a dip in legacy VoD backoffice software sales to North American service providers. SeaChange also attributed the decrease in part to a new deal with Comcast that called for certain product revenue to be classified as service revenues. SeaChange also took a $1.5 million restructuring charge that included $400,000 in severance linked to a recent layoff of 21 employees from its finance and accounting and manufacturing departments. (See Is the Worst Over at SeaChange? )

  • Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) is using a new line of tuners from MaxLinear Corp. to help power a family of Docsis 3.0 CPE that will be capable of bonding up to 24 channels and get cable within spitting distance of a 1Gbit/s downstream pipe. The tuners use full-spectrum capture, meaning the modems can grab channels from anywhere on cable's spectrum (up to 1GHz) rather than from fixed 100MHz-wide blocks.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s YouTube Inc. will add paid movie rentals to its app for a range of connected TVs later this year, offering some added competition to cable VoD, as well as to over-the-top sources such as VUDU Inc. , Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), reports GigaOm.

  • And there were some recent personnel moves in cable. Gregg Graff, late of Insight Communications (now part of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)), has joined Suddenlink Communications as SVP of sales. Patrick Knorr, a former exec with Sunflower Broadband (now part of WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) ), has been named GM, regional accounts for Synacor Inc. , a company that makes TV Everywhere authentication systems and develops Web portals for service providers.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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