ARRIS and Charter Announce Joint Venture to Acquire ActiveVideo

ARRIS and Charter – with a shared vision – joined forces today to acquire ActiveVideo.

ActiveVideo developed CloudTV™, the only cloud-based software platform that enables service providers, content aggregators, and consumer electronic (CE) manufacturers to rapidly deploy new services – such as next-gen UIs, online content and interactive advertising – by virtualizing CPE functions in the cloud.

A new JV company was created to own ActiveVideo and operates independently of ARRIS and Charter. ARRIS will be the sales channel for ActiveVideo’s CloudTV platform. ARRIS’s service provider relationships, global scale and installed base of CPE will support the accelerated adoption of CloudTV – giving CloudTV the clout to reach a worldwide customer base.

ARRIS will be the majority owner of ActiveVideo, with a 65% stake in the JV. Charter will participate as a minority owner. Jeff Miller will continue to lead ActiveVideo as CEO. The transaction – which is subject to customary closing conditions – is expected to close within the next 30 days.

Charter and ARRIS came together due to our shared vision for enabling an all-IP network and the software-defined TV experience that will allow our industry to quickly move in response to subscriber trends. For Charter, this represents its commitment to the success of the CloudTV platform and its confidence in CloudTV’s value proposition for customers and consumers around the world. For ARRIS this represents a compelling opportunity to partner with a strategic customer and expansion of our cloud portfolio with CloudTV, a disruptive cloud technology already adopted by Tier 1 customers. Together, we see the opportunity as an ideal way to accelerate the adoption of CloudTV’s innovative platform that enables the delivery of powerful consumer and subscriber experiences….quickly and with lower CapEx.

This is another example of ARRIS’s ongoing legacy of collaboration with customers to Invent the Future.

Stay tuned here for more updates in the coming weeks.

John Ulm Talks ABR at NAB Show

How do you cut the costs of delivering IPTV services in half?

The answer starts with Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) protocols. And our Engineering Fellow of Broadband Systems, John Ulm, will discuss that and ABR’s other implications for IP video delivery in his presentation on Cloud-based ABR – Unified Managed Linear Service for Multiscreen at NAB.

In it, John will reveal how Multicast-assisted ABR (M-ABR) completely changes the economics of delivering IP video services—significantly reducing capacity requirements resulting in lower costs, reduced CDN requirements and enhanced Targeted Advertising delivery.

He’ll also talk about its distinct service quality advantages for precious linear broadcast content across a wide range of devices in the multiscreen environment. Be sure to stop by Room S227 at 9 a.m. PT on April 16th.

ARRIS @ NAB 2015

Thousands of attendees are making their way to the 2015 NAB Show to discuss the future of content delivery. Our focus at this year’s event is an increasingly important part of that conversation: 4K delivery and network evolution.

As service providers prepare to deliver new content services like UHD/4K, ARRIS is keeping its partners ahead of the game with new solutions aimed at scaling today’s networks to support tomorrow’s services. At NAB, we’re demonstrating two new HEVC next generation compression products that are a vital part of the evolving content chain: the SE-7100 HEVC Encoder and DSR-7400 HEVC Transcoder IRD. These solutions leverage HEVC technology to achieve new levels of efficiency in delivering 4K and HD content, while maintaining compatibility with legacy deployed STBs.

The DSR-7400 and SE-7100 are part of our end-to-end content delivery portfolio that’s on display, in addition to our ME-7000 converged compression platform, the latest audio codecs, and our industry-leading SecureMedia™ content security platform.

ARRIS and Conax will also be demonstrating the joint capabilities of ARRIS’s DASH repackaging and Conax’s multi-DRM encryption at  booth SU8517.

Check out a few photos below from the show below.

 

Ultra HD – The future is clear, but why can’t I see it?

Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow, ARRIS

The landscape is shifting in the world of entertainment, content and delivery. The last few years have seen the world’s biggest brands touting their latest and greatest TVs, most of which boast some form of Ultra HD (UHD) capability. But how many people actually know what this technology is. And for those who have already purchased it, why doesn’t their favorite TV show look wildly better?

Within our industry, UHD, 4K, HDR, 8K, etc. are all common, well-known terms, but we recognize that the majority of consumers out there are unfamiliar with the next generation of HD technologies. So, this year, we would like to take a step back and work to set the stage for what new standards for TV are coming very soon (and are already here).

For those early adopters who already own a UHD TV, you might be frustrated that the UHD content currently available is so limited and difficult to stream. Right now, your smart TV uses several third party apps/monthly services to provide this content, but most of us are wondering the same thing – when will my service provider start programming sports and other content in the resolution my TV is able to deliver?

This is where ARRIS can help. ARRIS is working with programmers and content distributors to develop efficient, reliable, high-quality infrastructure to make UHD a reality. Building out this infrastructure enables a UHD “workflow” to evolve that will get UHD pictures to your living room.

The network matters because workflow matters. How will those who create and deliver content be able to provide these experiences at the highest possible quality, in an efficient way, allowing the service to be affordable for everyone? If the workflow is too complicated, it will drive costs up and even hinder quality. ARRIS is ahead of the curve on this front. We have developed several new technologies that simplify these processes, making them more efficient, and enable cable, IPTV, satellite, and OTT providers to deliver better and richer UHD experiences to customers.

Needless to say, the way we see content on our TVs and smart devices is in the midst of a massive transformation. Over the coming months, we will break down these elements to their core truths to give you a clear picture of what’s to come, how you can prepare, when you should upgrade devices, and much more. So, stay tuned and be sure to send us any questions below.

We’ll also be at the NAB show next week in Vegas, so drop by our booth SU7121 to hear more.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of April 6, 2015

 

This week, Light Reading highlighted the results of a study conducted for ARRIS by Heavy Reading, which found that cable operators and telcos anticipate strong growth in both the deployment and adoption of their multiscreen video services over the next couple of years.

In other industry news, Rapid TV News reported that over-the-top (OTT) content paid for via carrier billing is expected to provide operators with upwards of $14 billion in revenues over the next five years, according to Juniper Research.

However, Daniel Frankel of FierceCable noted that we are very much in the early stages of OTT and that it is still unknown how fast the earliest OTT business models put forth by the pay-TV industry will grow.

Separately, Advanced Television covered the results of a YouGov poll, which found that the average UK household now owns 7.4 connected devices.

Finally, Huffington Post included an article on how the difficulties faced by consumers when streaming TV are leading many to reconsider cutting the cord.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. Pay-TV Providers See Multiscreen Promise (April 8) By Alan Breznick, Light Reading: Despite still relatively low consumer awareness of its benefits, multiscreen video is offering service providers more hope in the fiercely competitive pay-TV market.
  2. OTT carrier billing to generate $14BN (April 8) By Michelle Clancy, Rapid TV News: In the ongoing quest to combat the threat of over-the-top (OTT) applications, network operators are looking for ways to distribute cloud-based and mobile content to consumers themselves, bundled with their broadband.
  3. Pay-TV operators writing the rules for their OTT future (April 8) By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable: In the area of over-the-top distribution, there are plenty of known unknowns, to borrow some rather infamous political phrasing.
  4. Average UK home owns 7.4 connected devices (April 9) By Staff Writer, Advanced Television: The average UK household now owns 7.4 connected devices, with four out of 10 households buying a tablet in the last year, according to YouGov.
  5. Streaming TV Is Bigger Than Ever — But Pause Before Cutting The Cord (April 7) By Timothy Stenovec, Huffington Post: A colleague of mine was considering ditching his Time Warner Cable subscription in favor of PlayStation’s new Vue TV service, which streams live TV over the Internet.

Interview with Charles Cheevers: Internet of Things

Charles Cheevers, CTO, Customer Premises Equipment

Charles Cheevers, CTO, CPE, ARRIS 

Today is the Fifth Annual Internet of Things (IoT) day. And while IoT is a hot industry topic that continues to make its way into our lives, it’s one that’s still evolving and often misunderstood. In celebration of IoT day, we sat down with ARRIS CTO Charles Cheevers to demystify IoT and shed some light on the ways it’s changing our industry and creating new opportunities ahead.

The Internet of Things means different things to different people. How do you define it and what does it mean to you?

It’s simply the ability to connect more end devices over wireless technologies and affect actions and operations across these devices – typically for a better user experience in the home as well as the ability to interact with devices outside the home.

An example of such a service is home automation where a homeowner can manage their heating and lighting remotely through the Internet – setting the lighting or heating to come on even if they are not in the house.

But what IoT means to the consumer can vary immensely, because of the sheer number of related devices and potential services.

What can IoT look like from a consumer’s perspective?

Currently, it’s unclear and even confusing.

Consumer are already involved in IoT, and getting more and more involved with each device they connect to a network – from smartphones on LTE to smart features in connected cars, smart TVs at home, wearable fitness devices, and Connected Home or Home Automation systems.

The problem with the consumer experience is that it’s fragmented and not consistent across different classes of services and devices. Many of the current solutions are proprietary and don’t play well in a diverse IoT environment, despite efforts to standardize them.

There’s a big opportunity to create simple, standardized solutions that minimize the number of different applications, instructions and services a user has to access to benefit from improvements in their digital lives. Often, the best IoT applications are the ones that are fully automated and work without human intervention or simple solutions that solve a distinct use case, like home camera solutions that allow you to check on the well being of a pet. Additionally using your voice to set house commands instead of costly products like keypads is both easier and more cost-effective for home automation.

Why should people care about IoT?

It’s about cost vs. value. There are many Internet-connected and -controlled devices and there’s an opportunity to create a lot of value here, but what it’s worth is different for different people. For example, people value convenience and simplicity, but while it may be convenient and therefore valuable to set your thermostat remotely, the cost to do so may or may not justify the convenience.

In general, however, these connected devices are becoming more capable, connected, and affordable. And this growing collection of connected devices creates the foundation for unprecedented levels of convenience and simplicity in everything from entertainment to transportation and medicine. As that value to consumers overcomes the price of entry, more and more people will jump on IoT to improve their lifestyles. One of the ways to ensure this is to collapse more functionality into existing devices like Broadband Gateways, Wi-Fi extenders, set-top/video gateways and remote controls. Including IoT onboarding functions in these devices reduces capital expenditure investments in IoT and allows service providers in particular to play a direct role in the IoT home experience.

The promise of IoT sounds a lot like Home Automation years ago; how is it different? 

IoT is much bigger than Home Automation; that’s just one of a thousand potential applications.

One can already see new services emerge, like connected automobile applications, where new levels of connectivity enable new services to be delivered to the car, which one day could include driving the car remotely because of the presence of a high-speed connection.

And then there’s the fundamental repositioning of the consumer’s involvement in these services… The future is not giving consumers the ability to control and manage more and more things, but anticipating, recommending, and eventually automating these actions.

The implication is a much greater connection between businesses and consumers that allow this exchange of services in the many facets of consumers’ lifestyles. A great example is in the verticals of Medicare and Energy management…

In the case of Medicare, consumers — if sent home from a medical treatment — can continue to be monitored in the home and stay in contact with their caregiver. Through reliable connectivity over wireless devices and leveraging things like the TV and Cameras to engage with physicians, the cost of aftercare or aging in place can be greatly reduced and the services enhanced.

In the case of Energy Management — think of a future where the washing machine could declare that it is now ready for a two-hour wash cycle and looking for a utility company to offer the best rate of energy for this cycle. These types of B2C operations can start to take place to create benefits for both businesses and consumers alike.

What’s the opportunity for Service Providers?

Service Providers have 2 basic choices regarding IoT in the coming years:

1.)    Focus on the connectivity and onboarding of devices and become a connectivity provider – extending the broadband network into the IoT realm but remaining a pipe for over-the-top (OTT) services

2.)    Extending their current demarcation of having gateways, extenders and set-tops in various locations of the home and adding 802.15.4 and Bluetooth low-energy radios to these devices to create multiple IoT hubs in the home by:

  • (a) Leveraging their own vertical IoT devices and services like Security and Automation
  • (b) Adding value to BYoD devices by partnering with the top IoT device and service providers and integrating their solutions into the overall Home experience — effectively becoming the aggregator for all connected services in the home. An example of this may be a partnership with a Smart Garage Door Opener where the notification of the door opening may also appear in the TV User Experience of the MSO.
  • (c) Partnering with large verticals of Medicare and Energy and Utilities to extend their current service offerings to include other OTT services and IoT derived connected home services. They can range from the traditional ones like Home Security right through the range of M2M and B2C opportunities with the service provider offering secure onboarding and integration into the multiscreen devices in the home.

The latter approach seems to be within the reach of the service provider by leveraging existing devices and adding new service layers to their backoffice.

How will IoT change our entertainment and communications? What’s the promise of IOT?

Entertainment and communications will be more automatic and more personalized.

The preferred experience is one in which the user does very little. Enter the room, and the music audio level increases. The phone rings, and the audio level decreases.

The success of IoT will be how simple it is and how little we have to interact with it… We don’t want to push three buttons over and over again to get the content we want.

There are already published applications where wrist-based wearable devices are integrated in the TV-viewing experience: when the person leaves the room the TV pauses or if they fall asleep the DVR kicks in automatically. The technology is already here; the test is its value to consumers.

The ultimate promise is improving our lives while reducing our interaction with technology—letting us focus on other things in life.

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