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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 10, 2013

Espial Makes Its Way into More Connected TVs

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

TV middleware provider Espial (News - Alert), which specializes in on-demand TV software and solutions, including a cloud-based program guide, will be showing up in more consumer homes towards the end of the year, as “two global consumer electronics manufacturers” have committed to building its technology into their smart TVs. That brings the total number of TV makers that it has deals with to nine.

The happy turn of fate for the vendor, who hasn’t announced which new vendors or TVs it’s currently partnering with, came to the deal via an OEM partnership with an also unnamed connected TV chipset vendor. The silicon company has signed a contract to license the Espial TV Browser for deployment in Internet-connected TVs, and will pre-package the software for use by the CE manufacturers.

Espial has added support for the latest hybrid broadcast broadband specifications (HbbTV 1.5), to simplify and accelerate deployment for smart TV manufacturers throughout Europe. In the United States, IPTV (News - Alert) providers in particular are embracing the hybrid TV phenomenon, which combines a series of cloud-based Web apps and over-the-top (OTT) content with standard linear broadcast fare. The result is a lower-cost option for some households that aren’t interested in taking a full tier of pay-TV programming, along with built-in access to alternate content sources to fill in the gaps. Connected TV vendors are either partnering with operators to enable this, or are going direct-to-consumer with the ability to add on Web content to whatever subscription a viewer may already have. In either case, considering the sheer amount of online content sources, Espial plays a role in content curation and discovery via its browsing function, which can be a differentiator for a TV set or operator.

"We are proud to now have nine consumer electronic brands deploying the Espial TV Browser with their smart TVs," said Dilshan De Silva, head of browser products at Espial. "The Espial TV Browser continues to lead the market with its advanced HTML5 capabilities, high performance graphics, high quality video and support for the most popular premium Web apps like YouTube, Hulu (News - Alert) and Amazon. We look forward to continuing to drive and lead smart TV innovation together with our partners."

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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