Tag Archives: VOD

Farncombe designs UI for Digiturk’s new hybrid digital TV service

Farncombe has announced that WeAreAka, its design practice, played a key role in the development of the user experience for Digiturk’s new hybrid IPTV service.
Targeting a launch at the end of 2011, the new digital TV service marries satellite with IPTV delivery through a hybrid digital video recorder from Sagemcom – providing sophisticated video-on-demand and catch-up TV features alongside the Turkish operator’s established linear multichannel satellite broadcasts.
The full press release can be found here.

Farncombe supports KBW VOD launch

Farncombe has played a key role in the creation and launch of Germany’s first VOD service on cable for Kabel Baden-Württemberg (Kabel BW).
In a press release out this morning, Kabel BW said the service, Kabel BW Videothek, had met with “enthusiasm” from its subscribers.
Kabel BW engaged farncombe to advise on the VOD project from its inception, with farncombe helping to define the requirements for the service and its features, then supporting Kabel BW with vendor selection, architecture definition and design, as well as advising on the contractual aspects of the project.
Farncombe went on to play a key role in project-managing the system integration of Kabel BW Videothek, working closely with Kabel BW’s Product Management, Engineering, Billing and CRM, Customer Support and Operational teams.
Full text of the press release here. German-language version here.

Kabel BW VideothekKabel BW Videothek

Verimatrix introduces StreamMark watermarking to protect early-release premium VOD

Security solutions provider Verimatrix has launched its new watermarking technology, StreamMark, to address the embryonic market for ‘early release’ premium VOD content in the USA.
The new market was engendered by an FCC waiver last year which allowed cable operators to use so-called “selectable output control” technology to prevent viewers from recording a movie while being shown on a TV set.
The studios had been reluctant to allow premium VOD content to be released ahead of the standard four-month moratorium between first-run theatrical showings and home video release without such a blocking technology being allowed.
The FCC’s attempt to introduce a similar control measure, the ‘broadcast flag‘, was over-turned by a court ruling in 2005.
StreamMark’s notable features appear to be that it works server-side (rather than in the set-top box), and can be applied to encrypted content without the need to access the keys, using a process called ‘byte replacement’.
The idea is that for each movie the system provides a set of marked/altered frames to substitute for the original ones. Then, each time the movie is streamed, the system designates a unique subset of these frames to be replaced on the fly at the server.
This unique combination of substituted frames identifies each one-to-one stream, and therefore the user ordering it.
If that stream is pirated – for example by the user recording the movie off their HDTV display using an HD camcorder and making it available online – the watermark should persist, revealing the identify of the pirating household.
ADD: Within days of the Verimatrix announcement, VOD specialists SeaChange International and watermarking firm Civolution said they would be collaborating to offer the latter’s NexGuard forensic watermarking for premium video-on-demand (VOD), targeted at cable operators looking to launch early release content.

Canalsat and Sky – who needs a dish?

French pay-satellite operator Canalsat is to offer non-subscribers access to a subset of its satellite channels over the Internet. Called Canalsat Web TV, the service is separate from the Canal+ VOD service Canalplay, which is available both in ‘over-the-top’ mode and integrated into French ISPs’ IPTV offerings.

Canalsat Web TV offers 63 of around 300 channels available from Canalsat using a dish and decoder. When launched a year ago, it was only available for free as an add-on for Canalsat customers subscribing to its top tier. Now non-subscribers can pay €25/m to access the service, with existing subscribers to the lowest Canalsat tiers paying €7/m extra.

The Web service – which is also available on the iPhone – offers less choice than its satellite equivalent: a mid-range Canalsat tier offering 230 channels via satellite is currently available for €23.90m. However, Canalsat Web TV comes with no strings attached: subscribers can enrol or churn out every month.

The Canalsat move closely resembles a similar initiative by BSkyB in the UK, which opened up its online Sky Player platform to non-subscribers in October. Entry-level is €18/m for just 20 channels.

Both can be seen as experiments which seek to establish the price consumers are willing to pay for the utility of ‘untethered’ viewing of premium channels anywhere in the home, in an environment devoid of contract tie-ins. Such offers also fulfil a secondary purpose for the operators: for existing subscribers, additional, more flexible viewing options help to keep them from churning and migrating to free OTT video; while it’s also an opportunity to showcase premium content to non-subscribers without requiring any commitment.