Video services

MediaKind Tries to Do More With Mediaroom

Enabling a long-time Mediaroom customer to squeeze more capabilities from its IPTV platform, MediaKind said Telefonica Brazil has become the latest to fully integrate Netflix at the set-top box.

That integration, enabled to more than 350,000 Vivo Fibra IPTV subscribers across São Paulo, also enables those customers to search for content across Telefonica Brazil's pay-TV service as well as the Netflix library.

The Netflix integration with Telefonica Brazil is another example of how MediaKind (now owned 51% by One Equity Partners and 49% by Ericsson) has started to expand the capabilities of Mediaroom, the IPTV platform that Ericsson acquired from Microsoft in October 2013, by forging links to some of the more advanced features supported by MediaFirst, the company's next-gen, cloud-powered multiscreen platform.

By tapping into its relatively new microservices architecture, MediaKind has established a "connector" between the legacy Mediaroom set-top boxes and the cloud-based apps and capabilities of MediaFirst, including the ability to integrate OTT video apps, explained Arun Bhikshesvaran, MediaKind's chief marketing officer.

That connection is being forged through the teaming of MediaKind's small "Napa" client in Mediaroom boxes with MediaFirst's cloud-based platform. That means those older Mediaroom boxes can become MediaFirst-compatible via in-field software upgrades that sidestep the need for box swaps and truck rolls.

"The heavy lifting is being done in the cloud," Bhikshesvaran said, noting that this approach could help to bring MediaFirst capabilities to some 40 million Mediaroom-powered boxes that are in the field today.

MediaKind has a similar project underway with video software specialist Zodiac Interactive to extend MediaFirst capabilities to older, non-Mediaroom boxes. Bhikshesvaran said that option is of particular interest to service providers that want to bring a higher degree of unity across markets that use Mediaroom and others that are using another IP-based video platform. (See Zodiac Names Former Comcast Exec as CEO .)

Integrating Netflix at the set-top box is one step toward adding MediaFirst capabilities to Mediaroom, Bhikshesvaran said, noting that MediaKind has similar work and testing underway with integrations of YouTube and Hulu with multiple service provider partners. Migrating Mediaroom's traditionally TV-based video services to more screen types are among the additional steps that are available to service providers such as Telefonica Brazil, he said.

Bhikshesvaran said MediaKind still sees a strong appetite among cable ops and other service providers that are interested in developing and launching next-gen video products, even as some players, like Cable One, deemphasize their own TV products in favor of their higher-margin broadband offerings.

"We don't see a whole bunch of players jumping onto that bandwagon," he said of the latter example, noting that most providers are still interested in delivering a bundled TV experience.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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