Cable Technology Feature Article
Cable Technology Week in Review
By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor
It’s a mixed bag of news this week, ranging from mobile apps and mobile services to set-top innovation and quality assurance.
First up: Disney (News - Alert) and ESPN both famously tried—and failed—to start brand-based MVNOs a few years back, and since then broadcasters have stayed away from the mobile service space. But the content-based MVNO is back thanks to a deal between Univision Communications and T-Mobile, who have launched Univision Mobile. With a combination of voice, texting, the ability to watch TV fare and a Univision Rewards program and portal with content, events and apps, can it be successful where others have failed? Our columnist breaks it down.
The ability to port content around from device to device is a functionality that many have rolled out solutions for—from Apple AirPlay to Google’s Android (News - Alert) “casting” ability. But these are streaming solutions that require the devices sharing the content to be on the same network or in the same room. iTunes lets Apple (News - Alert) users download things to go—but requires sideloading. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a better approach without the catches? To that end, Wondershare has issued an update to its video software that it says solves the hurdles.
Comcast (News - Alert) is investigating bringing advanced search, program guide and video-on-demand (VOD) to low-end boxes that are typically provided with entry-level cable packages and for additional TVs in a residence, via a software upgrade. The Comcast undertaking-in-progress is in keeping with several of its ongoing initiatives, such as providing broader access to VOD. It doesn’t pay for Comcast customers to encounter challenges in viewing and re-viewing shows, considering the tens of billions of dollars it has committed to carry compelling content. But the proof will have to be in the pudding.
When you think “online video,” it’s natural to picture yourself balancing a laptop on your legs, or possibly using a tablet to stream Netflix or the like. But new research has revealed that TVs are actually outpacing computers as the key platform for Internet video. One of the main drivers for the shift is the rise in easy-to-use connected devices that can bring video to a regular HDTV. Set-tops like Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV are one category; but increasing penetration of gaming consoles and cheap dongles/streaming sticks are contributing too. And, let’s not forget TV Everywhere. But don’t cry “cord-cutting” just yet: the research also found that multiscreen viewing is still an overlapping activity.
Facing financial struggles and looking to protect its 4K TV lead, Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Sony is taking the axe to one of its more advanced product lines: OLED TV sets. OLED uses a higher-contrast color palette than the industry-standard LCD panels, with deeper blacks that really make regular HD really pop and make the 4K resolution more visible from farther away—but it’s expensive to bring to market. With Sony just recently seeing black ink again in its TV division, it clearly doesn’t want to take a risk on an unproven technology, particularly one where Samsung (News - Alert) andLG already claim leadership.
Increased competition means TV service providers need to deliver better quality services and improve customer service experiences in order to differentiate themselves. So, the global cable network industry, feeling the heat from Internet streaming services and satellite television providers, has turned to quality assurance programs to defend market shares and improve customer retention rates. In Switzerland, Finecom Telecommunications has joined the fight by partnering with Agama Technologies, a video service quality assurance company. Agama will provide its digital television (DTV) solution for TV service quality monitoring, assurance and analytics to Finecom, which is the second largest cable network provider in Switzerland.
To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!