Set-top boxes

Eurobites: OTT Feel for Sky's New Set-Top

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Facebook promises Internet.org expansion; Orange increases stake in Morocco's Méditel; Altice eyes French broadcaster.

  • Sky is hoping to offer its customers an "Apple and Netflix-style" experience with its new SkyQ set-top box, according to a Daily Telegraph report. Citing industry insiders, the report says that SkyQ will allow subscribers to watch and record at least four programs at the same time, with viewing options presented more visually than on its current Sky HD+ box.

  • Facebook is looking to scale up its Internet.org platform, which provides free but limited mobile Internet access, bringing it to more unconnected communities in developing countries. It is a year since Internet.org was launched, in Zambia. (See Zuckerberg Defends Internet.org Against Indian Critics, Eurobites: Facebook Brings Internet-Lite to Europe and Internet.Org: Small Data Bites Into the Digital Divide?)

  • Continuing its policy of expansion outside Europe's overcrowded mobile market, Orange (NYSE: FTE) has increased its stake in Moroccan operator Médi Télécom S.A. (Méditel) , acquiring an additional 9% of capital. Méditel has more than 13 million mobile subscribers, equating to a 31% market share at the end of 2014. (See Orange Ups Stake in Morocco's Méditel.)

  • Altice , the acquisition-hungry French group, is planning to form a new company to launch a tender offer for 100% of French broadcaster NextRadioTV's share capital, reports the Financial Times. In May, Altice, having already swallowed SFR and Portugal Telecom, agreed to buy US cable operator Suddenlink for $9.1 billion. (See Altice to Buy Suddenlink in $9.1B Deal and What's It All About, Altice?)

  • Worrying times at Ooredoo Kuwait, a subsidiary of the Qatar-based mobile operator Ooredoo , where second-quarter profits fell 30% year-on-year to 12.6 million dinars (US$41.6 million), reports Reuters. Revenues were also down, to KWD184.8 million ($610.3 million) from KWD196.7 million ($649.5 million) a year ago.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has been chosen by Airtel Gabon to supply the technology for its new LTE network and make improvements to the operator's existing WCDMA/HSPA network. Gabon, on the Atlantic coast of central Africa, has a population of around 1.5 million.

  • The compact European country of Luxembourg is to deploy an Internet of Things network from Sigfox . Post Luxembourg and RMS.lu will partner with Sigfox on the project. Luxembourg is the eighth country to deploy a Sigfox IoT network, which uses Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology in combination with existing cellular systems. (See Luxembourg to Deploy Sigfox IoT Network.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • kq4ym 7/29/2015 | 7:47:03 AM
    Re: Show of hands I can't imagine many people actually watching all those recorded programs. But, with our human tendency to want to accumulate as much stuff as we can and all the compulsions attached to that, it's not too hard to believe folks will actually record multiple programs and think they'll somehow find time later to watch.
    Kruz 7/28/2015 | 3:05:33 AM
    Oreedo Kuwait Oreedo's revenue fell short due to the currency changes in Algeria and Tunisia where currencies fell 11 and 13 percent against KWD.

    PaulERainford 7/27/2015 | 1:45:32 PM
    Re: Show of hands Yes, that thought did cross my mind as I bashed out those words, Dennis. So many platforms, so little time. (And so little decent content, come to that.)
    mendyk 7/27/2015 | 1:28:34 PM
    Show of hands I wonder how many people have low enough entertainment standards to want to record four linear TV programs simultaneously. And then I wonder how many of those people actually end up watching all four of those programs.
    [email protected] 7/27/2015 | 12:50:42 PM
    How long before Sky's STB is in the cloud? Sky has about 10 million customers -- that's a  lot of set-top boxes 'in the field.'

    How long before a company such as Sky makes the break and replaces traditional STBs with a 'virtual' home gateway that can be programmed remotely and have additional functionality updated without a physical box replacement?

    Or are we entering a new STB era, with a hybrid approach as suggested by my colleague Mari SIlbey last week?


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