While HDMI streaming sticks haven't spread beyond the retail channel in the US yet, French telecom company Orange (NYSE: FTE) recently became one of the first European operators to experiment with using an HDMI adapter for TV service delivery.
The new Orange TV Stick, which was announced last month, is trialing in Romania before making its debut in France later this year. Today, Espial Group Inc. revealed that its HTML5 client software is powering the new device.
Espial's HTML5 middleware is already embedded in TV set-tops around the world, but the Orange deployment marks the first time the company has integrated its software with an HDMI adapter. Like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s popular Chromecast device, the Orange TV Stick plugs into the HDMI port on a TV, creating a wireless link that lets viewers stream video and control Internet-based services from a computer or mobile device. The platform will enable Orange subscribers to access live TV, catch-up TV, on-demand video, music, over-the-top video services and "an ecosystem of applications."
Despite initial interest from pay-TV operators stateside, HDMI adapters haven't yet made the service provider rounds in the US. Both the cost and the customer appeal of the smaller form factor are attractive, but MSOs still want a lot of functionality that's difficult to cram into a tiny HDMI stick. That may change as both the adapters get more powerful and new competitors get serious about OTT video services. (See 5 Things Cable Didn't Deliver In 2014 and Can Amazon Light a Fire [Stick] Under Cable?)
"We're excited to work with Orange -- one of the world's most visionary network operators -- on innovative services for their customers," said Espial CEO Jaison Dolvane in a statement. "Leveraging our software, Orange has created a world-class video user experience which will give them competitive advantage, as well as a platform which can be enhanced rapidly to incorporate new services and applications."
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading