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Leading Lights Finalists: Best New Product (Cable)

5:30 AM -- This year's finalists in the Best New Product (Cable) category of Leading Lights 2011 have that distinct TV Everywhere flavor -- quite fitting because cable operators and programmers are both looking to extend their services to a growing number of devices both inside and outside the home. (See Light Reading's 2011 Leading Lights Finalists.)

The shortlisted companies touch many points of the TV Everywhere product ecosystem, including consumer premises devices, video processing, encoding and transcoding, video publishing systems, video backoffice platforms, user interfaces and that all-important security element.

  • Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)'s Whole Home Solution Media Gateway. Arris knows a bargain when it sees one, and it's figured out how to turn its US$20 million acquisition of Paul Allen's Digeo Inc. into a money-making business. Rather than spinning its wheels on a largely useless retail strategy, Arris has smartly stuck to what it knows best -- developing products tailored for cable that can be sold directly to MSOs. And its timing couldn't be better as Arris's hybrid QAM/IP video gateway reaches the market just as MSOs seriously begin to blend Web-fed video and apps with their traditional video services. Arris's latest wares have drawn interest from MSOs of all sizes, from a Tier 2 such as BendBroadband to Shaw Communications Inc. , a major Canadian cable operator.

  • BNI Video 's Evolution Video Control Plane. BNI's vision for the video back office of the future has helped it get off the ground with millions in backing from some pretty good companies, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). The idea is to give cable what it needs to manage video services and apps as they break away from the set-top environment to tablets, Blu-ray players, smartphones and other devices. It's still being quiet about trial and deployment wins, but our sources see these guys taking a serious run at SeaChange International, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and other video back office incumbents.

  • Clearleap 's Stream On Demand. Clearleap is rapidly becoming one of cable's key links to Roku Inc. boxes, iPads and other consumer electronic devices that will support HBO Go and other coveted authenticated TV Everywhere services that require a pay-TV subscription. On the flip side, MSOs are increasingly eager to add Clearleap to the mix so they can gain some app presence alongside Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) on a new breed of connected TVs.

  • Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI) 's Elemental Live. Elemental's video processing and transcoding technologies have seemingly come out of nowhere to take on and beat rivals such as Cisco, Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) and Envivio Inc. (NASDAQ: ENVI) for high-profile TV Everywhere deployments at Avail-TVN and Comcast. After storming the market for TV Everywhere's on-demand component with its adaptive bit rate techniques, Elemental's now positioned to win more business as operators start to target any screen with a broadband connection.

  • Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s Televation. This Slingbox-esque transcoding appliance developed in tandem with Comcast converts QAM video into IP-based MPEG-4 streams that can be accepted by iPads, PCs and Xoom tablets. It's a nifty TV Everywhere tool for cable operators before they start to employ IP video simulcasts and something Comcast is expected to deploy soon under the AnyPlay brand. The initial version of this device will limit streaming to within the reach of a subscriber's home network, but with some tweaks (and some additional content rights), we see this becoming a fully fledged place-shifting device that will keep cable customers connected to their home TVs while they're on the move.

  • NDS Ltd. 's VideoGuard Connect TV Everywhere will struggle for traction if MSOs can't convince the content owners their valuable video cargo is adequately protected as it's piped to iPads and Android devices. In this case, NDS has adapted the security it's already brought to the set-top and extended it to all the other screens. We suspect that advances like this will help NDS continue its push into the U.S. cable market by staying in favor at Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) while also winning some new MSO converts that are trying to break free of the Cisco/Motorola video security duopoly.

  • SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC)'s Nitro Multi-Screen User Interface Software. SeaChange has made good use of its 2010 acquisition of VividLogic to develop an intuitive user interface that retains the same look, feel and general functionality, whether it's appearing on a TV screen, tablet, PC screen or smartphone. And it's a hosted platform, meaning MSOs can make tweaks, changes and upgrades almost on the fly and finally move away from the sluggish, ugly world of set-top based interactive guides and the kind of headache-inducing regression testing that can make a simple color change a weeks-long process. Don't forget: Leading Lights winners will be announced at an Awards Dinner at Hudson Terrace in New York City on Nov. 8, following the first day of Light Reading's Ethernet Expo Americas 2011 event.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 4:51:14 PM
    re: Leading Lights Finalists: Best New Product (Cable)

    This is a great list of nominees and, you're right Jeff, it really reflects cable's growing appetitie to get more IP technology into its diet and eventually migrate to all-IP service delivery. These companies and products address many key industry needs today. Any of them will be a worthy winner. Congrats to all of the finalists! 

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