All posts by Robert Briel

Streaming Video Alliance announces new specs

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The Streaming Video Alliance has announced two new technical specification documents from the Open Caching Working Group.

In addition, the Open Caching Working Group has introduced a new sub group for Edge Storage, led by Western Digital. The technical specifications were ratified by the Alliance Membership earlier this week.

The Open Caching Logging Specification includes the Open Caching System (OCS) technical specifications for logging data to help track data acquisition and the delivery of it to the end user.

Open Caching Service Provisioning Specification includes the functional specification of open-caching service provisioning interfaces enabling a CDN and a service provider (SP) to exchange information to enable the delegation of CDN content requests to the SP Open Caching system.

Both of the new specifications can be downloaded from the Alliance website here.

“We’re making significant progress toward educating and supporting the streaming video industry as well as putting the Alliance’s work into practice; this is another proof point in that journey,” said Jason Thibeault, Executive Director of the Streaming Video Alliance.

“In addition to the new technical specifications, the Open Caching Working Group is gaining traction in the second phase of the Open Caching POC and earlier this year initiated the first Open Caching trials.”

As the Open Caching Group expands, a new subgroup has been formed. The Edge Storage Subgroup will be led by Western Digital with the goal to create the functional technical requirements for storage and optimal architecture when streaming online video. “Download to go” features of OTT services are very popular amongst consumers, enabling them to fill their device with content that they can watch when not connected to the Internet. Currently, guidelines or best practices do not exist for offering such a service.

“We are excited to lead this new Open Caching Subgroup on edge storage,” said Enosh Levi, Director, Connected Home Marketing at Western Digital.

“We believe that storage at the edge of the distribution network, be it the home gateway or an end user mobile device, will be a critical component of video streaming and watching experience in the coming years. Now is the time to provide some guidance to the industry in how to architect online video solutions with edge storage components.”

Hulu’s live TV service launches on Amazon Fire TV

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Hulu’s OTT live TV service will be available on the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The service, which offers more than 40 channels of live TV, originally launched on five platforms – Apple TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android mobile devices, and Chromecast.

Viewers who watch on the Amazon devices will be upgraded to Hulu’s newly revamped user interface and will now also have the option to subscribe to the Hulu with Live TV (beta) plan, costing $39.99 (EUR34.25) a month.

The new interface offers streaming live channels as well as being able to personalise the service by creating a personal profile and picking favourite TV shows, networks and movies

Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick users can add premium add-ons HBO, Cinemax and Showtime to their Hulu subscription.

Hulu said they will continue to roll out to more devices soon.

Orange battles TF1 over carriage fees

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Orange is taking its dispute with TF1 to the French court of commerce, claiming the private broadcaster is misusing its dominant position on the viewers and advertising market.

TF1 is asking millions of euros from the various French distribution platforms including Orange, Free and SFR, who until now distributed the channel without paying the broadcaster.

Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, has constantly refused to pay for any channel that is available free of charge on all platforms.

In the past, Richard said the two parties have been talking about adding new services, such as re-start of programmes on the Orange set-top boxes, or a network-PVR service, but without any concrete results.

TF1 points out that in Belgium cable operators pay tp carry the channel, as does the new OTT platform Molotov. However, under French media law, TF1 is one of the must-carry channels, so Orange §has to carry the channel.

Interestingly, just this week in Germany a court ruled that public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have to pay distribution platforms, such as cable operators, rather than the other way around.

42% of Dutch homes have a connected TV

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According to the Media Standard Survey (MSS) conducted by Kantar TNSInterne 42% of Dutch households have their TV set connected to the internet.

88% of households have digital television, and a tablet is present in two out of three households.

The number of households with direct internet access via television (Connected TV) is growing sharply from 37% in the second half of 2016 to 42% in the first half of 2017. In 15% of households there is a media centre or dongle on the TV, such as Apple TV or Google Chromecast..

88% of Dutch households have digital television on one or more devices. This percentage of digital reception remained at the level of the second half of 2016.

Half of the households (50%) have a digital connection through the cable. 18% percent of the households have digital connection over the internet (IPTV). In 11% of households fibre is found as source of digital reception.

DTT reception via KPN Digitenne is slightly down from 6.4% tp 5.6%, while satellite DTH reception is also down from 3.9% to 3.3%.

Households with analogue reception on one or more TV sets are further down from 22% in the second half of 2016
to 18% in the first half of 2017.

35% of households have a hard disk recorder connected to one or more devices. This percentage is comparable to the second half of 2016. 25% of Dutch households have one Hard disk recorder integrated into the set-top box.

In 78% of households there is a laptop and in 45% a desktop computer. The number of households with a tablet has risen from 63% in the second half of 2016 to 67% in the first half of 2017.

YouTube TV launches in 10 new markets

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Google’s OTT TV service YouTube TV expanded into ten new markets, including Dallas, Atlanta, and Washington DC .

The service is streaming live local programming from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. YouTube TV is available in 15 metropolitan areas across the US, making it available in over a third of the country.

YouTube TV originally launched in five cities on April 5: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, and was first announced last February.

The company is facing competition from other OTT streaming services (which the Americans call virtual MVPDs), including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu and fuboTV.