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UPC Hungary delivering YouTube app hosted in the cloud

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Brian Santo

UPC Hungary is delivering YouTube content to its subscribers entirely through the cloud, using ActiveVideo’s StreamCast platform and associated cloud service.

While delivery is through UPC Hungary’s set-top boxes, there is no software resident in the box to enable the delivery, according to the companies involved.

UPC Hungary is, in a way, hosting a YouTube app in the cloud. Although a box is involved, UPC’s rollout of a YouTube app is significant because it takes the box out of the equation.

MSOs have long complained about the legacy boxes they have installed – boxes with limited processing and memory resources, because they pose a significant constraint to rolling out new services. If companies such as ActiveVideo can perform all the functions of a set-top in the cloud, those constraints are loosened, and perhaps can even be removed entirely.

UPC Hungary, part of Liberty Global, has had the service up and running for a few weeks. ActiveVideo said it has already exceeded both usage and engagement targets for the first six months, as well as previous industry benchmarks for YouTube on pay-TV, though it said it could not provide numbers.

UPC Hungary’s success in bringing YouTube directly to D4A boxes has broader implications for Liberty Global and the pay-TV industry, said ActiveVideo chief marketing officer Murali Nemani:

  • Liberty Global can quickly use the same virtualization of CPE functionality to bring YouTube to its entire footprint of millions of D4A boxes throughout Europe and Latin America;
  • Other pay-TV operators can break the logjam of device fragmentation to accelerate the availability of new sources of content that provides sustainable differentiation for pay-TV and materially impacts customers;
  • Pay-TV’s own “TV Everywhere” services – most notably HBO GO and Showtime Anytime – can unlock vast new opportunities by combining for the first time the flexibility of the Web with the power of the 10-foot living room experience; and
  • Marquee online video services such as Amazon, Hulu and – of course – Netflix can strike carriage agreements with operators that don’t limit access to a fraction of the pay-TV customer base, but rather open the gates to entire footprints of existing cable STBs.

“Maybe all of this can be done using high-end STBs,” said Murali in a blog post, “but here’s my two cents: such an approach would take years to achieve critical mass, would cost orders of magnitude more than a cloud-based platform and never would be able to provide the win-win of access to millions of STBs for online video providers and a limitless supply of new video content for pay-TV.”

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