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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 18, 2014

RCN Becomes First Cable Customer for Opera TV Store

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

U.S. cable operator RCN (News - Alert) has become the first pay-TV cable operator to launch the Opera TV Store, as part of its deployment of TiVo set-top boxes. This is also the first TiVo operator deployment since the partnership between the Opera TV Store and TiVo (News - Alert) was announced.

RCN is a smaller cable operator – its primary service areas include Boston, Chicago, Lehigh Valley, Pa., New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. – but it’s a significant milestone for taking the TV Store mainstream in the United States. Opera's application platform will be available on all of RCN's TiVo set-top boxes, including those already deployed in homes.

The Opera TV Store, an HTML5, cloud-based application solution, enables premium, over-the-top (OTT) content (like video, music, games, social media, news and utility apps) for smart TV devices. Pay-TV operators who are shipping TiVo Roamio devices will be able to offer HTML5 apps and content to their consumers through the Opera TV Store too, by writing their own made-for-TiVo apps using the Opera Devices SDK.

Opera’s been working on expanding its HTML5-based TV app store, which houses hundreds of applications for a range of connected devices. In 2012, more than 25 million connected TVs and devices shipped with the Opera Devices SDK, and the Opera TV Store has shipped on tens of millions of devices globally. The new Opera TV Snap, a tool to convert online videos into connected TV apps, is expected to bump up usage even further.

“Not only is Opera’s Devices SDK best-in-class, but its standards-compliant HTML5 engine will enable a household name like TiVo and its cable operator customers to bring the best and latest of OTT Web content quickly to the end user,” said Aneesh Rajaram, senior vice president for TV and devices at Opera Software (News - Alert).

He added, “In addition, app and content developers will have another avenue to reach many active and loyal TiVo users through their apps in the Opera TV Store.”

The integration is part of a wider plan on the part of TiVo to bring HTML5 content to operators. In addition to the applications available in the store, Opera works closely one-on-one with content providers like YouTube (News - Alert) that are moving to HTML5 to integrate them onto its platform.

The Opera TV Store is also providing RCN with a back-end system for advanced statistics on Opera TV Store usage, such as the popularity of individual apps, so they can make continued improvements to bring customers the best apps available. The managed cloud solution can also offer customization and branding possibilities, as well as enabling operators to prioritize local apps and content.

"The TV space is changing rapidly, and a viable application platform is a must for staying ahead of the game," said Jason Nealis, VP of video operations at RCN. "Opera Software provides the most mature HTML5-based application platform, enabling us to expand our entertainment offering for RCN customers. We are pleased to come on board as the Opera TV Store's landmark first operator deployment. This partnership is another example of RCN’s commitment to creating a superior customer experience."

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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