Video software

Comcast Slots SeaChange Into Video Gateways

SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC)'s emphasis on software is starting to pay some dividends at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which has picked the vendor to power a new line of broadband-connected, hybrid gateways and set-tops that deliver the MSO's traditional QAM-based video services and a stable of IP-based content, Light Reading Cable has learned.

SeaChange confirmed its selection in the gateways and a number of other Comcast-led projects. "Yes, we are excited to be providing Comcast with our software for its next generation set-tops, gateways and back office, as we demonstrated at The Cable Show in June, along with our software for its linear and VoD advertising," a company official said via email.

SeaChange didn't go into technical detail, but sources familiar with the work say the software will be used to manage several key gateway components, including its multiple tuners, implementation of tru2way (for legacy video services), Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) and Wi-Fi connectivity, and management of IP-connected devices that are hanging off the gateway to receive and share content over the home network.

SeaChange joins a growing list of other vendors that are making or supporting Comcast's hybrid video devices, including the so-called "Parker" box that the MSO is testing in Augusta, Ga., and showed off in June at The Cable Show. (See What's Inside Comcast's Parker Box?, Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service and Comcast Demos New Web-Based TV Service.)

Comcast has already revealed Pace plc as the initial maker of the Parker box, which sports chips from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) alongside Comcast-owned thePlatform Inc. 's content management system. (See Comcast Confirms Xcalibur Partners.)

Comcast is also expected to use chipsets from its long-time partner, Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), and Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) appears poised to become the MSO's second source for its hybrid gateway boxes. (See Technicolor's Sneak Peek .)

Update: Comcast issued this statement via email to confirm that SeaChange is indeed involved, but clarified that other software partners are involved in the next-gen box:
    Comcast’s next generation Xfinity TV service uses a set top box based on the tru2way reference implementation. This set top includes software from multiple partners, including Seachange who provides select software components that enable elements such as multiple tuners, tru2way, and MoCA.

SeaChange has also developed a cloud-based user interface called Nitro that can run on the stack, but Comcast developed its UI for the boxes in-house. The SeaChange stack, meanwhile, is born out of its $12 million acquisition of software specialist VividLogic. (See SeaChange Snags VividLogic for $12M and SeaChange Navigates TV Everywhere.)

While SeaChange's new emphasis on software has opened up some fresh opportunities for some of Comcast's high-profile projects, it's come at some expense. The MSO, for example, is no longer using SeaChange servers, opting instead to standardize on gear from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Mobility LLC as it continues to build out its own content distribution network (CDN). (See Comcast Gives SeaChange Servers the Boot and SeaChange Softens Up, Cuts Staff.)

Comcast and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) were SeaChange's 10 percent or greater customers in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. SeaChange is slated to release second-quarter results later this afternoon.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:54:29 PM
re: Comcast Slots SeaChange Into Video Gateways


SeaChange just posted a few more details about its revised involvement with Comcast, stating:

SeaChange continues to maintain a strong relationship with Comcast and is working with Comcast on elements of its next generation network. The company currently provides:

1. the back office publishing gateway for their set-top boxes.
2. set-top VOD enablement software.
3. next generation home gateway software.
4. third-party set-top gateway software that enables MSOs to stream to new consumer devices.
5. current set-top based back office management for their VOD streams resource management.
6. linear advertising software.
7. VOD advertising play-listing software.

SeaChange also confirmed that it stopped providing srevers to Comcast in "early 2010" but was picked to be the MSO's sole VoD backoffice software provider.

SEAC's move away from hardware was  reflected in the numbers:

Servers & storage revenues dropped to $7.7M, down $5.3M year-on-year. Software revenues were up 10% to $34.6M.  JB


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