End of cablecard coming?

An interesting article for those that follow cablecard: the FCC forced solution for CA in the US cable market. It presents the positions of industry players. It takes a rather ambiguous point of view on the need to support 3’rd party consumer devices directly on the cable network: it pleads to abolish the mandate for cablecard (for cable operator settops) but it also pleads to have a solution for 3’rd party equipment; though clearly abolishing the mandate won’t exactly stimulate that solution to move forward.

DCAS was killed 5 years ago. Maybe it is time for a new kind of DCAS; interesting to see if Comcast would be interested in that…. probably not.


A roundabout step forward for set-top integration — Gigaom Research.

Dutch delay HbbTV must-carry enforcement

The article below on BroadbandTVNews gives a reasonable reading of the current non-carry of HbbTV from the public stations on the cable networks of Ziggo and UPC in the Netherlands. It is somewhat of a shame if the suggested tactics are being used by the cable operator to prevent HbbTV being available to customers. Ziggo has a somewhat reasonable claim for their non-carriage: their latest interactive TV common interface module requires the use of the red button to launch interactive VOD applications. The issue is probably trivial to solve if there would be a genuine interest to serve the end customer. The UPC reason is even less clear. Maybe HbbTV itself is not a killer app at this stage, and the public operator catchup TV is already available on the settop boxes (not on TVs with CI+) of these operators for free as part of the most basic subscription, but HbbTV is an important trend in TV services that cable operators should support towards the future. The argument of competition between cable and operator services seems too far fetched in the author’s opinion.

Dutch delay HbbTV must-carry enforcement.

Ziggo reports 150,000 Cloud TV users

This is cloud-tv going extreme done by Ziggo. It is based on ActiveVideo (former Avinity) technology that can stream the graphics on top of the video in a one-to-one VOD channel from server to client. Ideal for lower end settop boxes and retail CE devices, where it avoids the complex APIs for running applications locally on the client.

Still: even with a thin client there are some issues: CI+v1.3 based TVs have to provide IP connections to the modules, but unfortunately the response time of some of the TV implementations is poor, leading to sub-par user experience. Ziggo is addressing this with TV manufacturers.

Nevertheless:  despite this small hickup, the seamless  launching of new applications on a uniform platform will be the greatest asset of this approach.

The most typical alternative to this approach is to use HTML4 or 5 browser technology on the client. That is also coming along of course. But some older clients haven’t got such browsers, and could not even be upgraded to run them. Browser implementations always have their individual quirks however. But browsers mix well with OTT, the ActiveVideo technology cannot work in high latency video environments and needs a direct low latency cable or IPTV connection.

Ziggo reports 150,000 Cloud TV users.

Dutch parliament to enforce HbbTV on cable

The two large cable operators (joint market share 70%) in the Netherlands are blocking the HbbTV signals from broadcasters on their networks for no stated reason. It is speculated that the reason is to prevent competition with their own interactive services. The Dutch parliament want to have this block ceased now. This would enable many smartTVs with CI+ modules to receive enhanced programming (interactivity). People using cable-boxes (and older TVs without HbbTV) would still not be able to access such services.

Note: there could be some interference between HbbTV applications and interactive applications from the operator on the CI+ module. I.e. at minimum some technical testing work may have to be conducted on already deployed products.

Nevertheless, there seems to be significant room for a more constructive solution.

Dutch parliament to enforce HbbTV on cable.