ANGA Cable 2012

Conax launches Xtend Multiscreen including P2P for live content

Content security specialist Conax (Stand K21) has used ANGA Cable to launch Xtend Multiscreen, a pre-integrated ecosystem to add multiscreen and OTT services to existing pay TV operations, in partnership with middleware provider Cubiware and MPS Broadband.

At a press conference to mark the launch, Conax’s director of product management Tor Helge Kristiansen said that consumers increasingly were looking for multiscreen services and a unified user experence. This required integration of a large number of systems and products. “Xtend allows you to delver broadcast and OTT from the same headend,” he said, adding that it designed to enable the delivery of video-on-demand, catch up and live TV content to set-tops, smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs.

Functionaility enabled by Xtend includes ‘follow me’ and smart remote control, allowing smartphones or tablets to be used to control the main screen. Also included is a new file-sharing technology, Peer2View, developed by MPS Broadband, that is designed to facilitate the delivery of live content over the internet.

Xtend Multiscreen covers content and metadata handling, transconding and encryption, and workflow management, and has been integrated with multiple DRMs and CA systems.

Kristiansen said it enabled OTT services to be added on top of broadcast with minimum effort. The fact that the offer was pre integrated meant that risks to platform operators and broadcasters were reduced, he said. Kristiansen said the solution was designed to work on very low cost set-top boxes. Integration with existing broadcast operations is relatively simple, he said.

Conax teamed up with Cubiware and MPS Broadband to develop the solution, and Kristiansen said this would be the first of many pre integrated solutions that Conax planned to bring into the market. He said that possible use cases for further integrated solutions included home gateways and home networking.

Maciej Gombowski, chief technology officer of Poland-based Cubiware, said that Xtend Multiscreen effectively productised in the form of a pre-integrated solution various technology solutions that the different companies had already deployed. Cubiware is responsible for the UI, which Gombowski said was consistent across devices. The CubiTV client runs on multiple low-cost platforms, which he said meant that the solution could be deployed for lower tier subscribers within a pay TV service. Cubiware has already worked with Conax on deployments for Toya in Poland, DNA in Finland and Cablemas in Mexico. The latter has deployed an OTT on-demand system.

Pontus Eklöf, CEO of MPS Broadband, a Swedish-based publishing platform provider, said that MPS had developed Peer2View as a peer-to-peer technology for live events and linear TV distribution over the internet and closed networks. Peer2View is a software application stored on each device. Eklöf said that MPS was the first to develop an HTTP-based live peer-to-peer distribution technology. This acts as a proxy that communicates with other viewers’ devices as well as a central stack of servers that helps viewers’ devices communicate with others in the most efficient way. The system keeps the traffic as local as possible. Viewers have to be located fairly close to each other geographically and Eklöf said a high degree of efficiency is reached with 30 viewers while diminishing returns set in at 500. The system creates ‘pools’ of viewers when the audience for a live event rises above this level. Eklöf said the technology could be used for catch up TV in the period immediately after shows were broadcast but that, for non-linear content, diminishing returns set in quickly after the initial period.

The solution is now in a testing phase.

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