Entone is now offering a managed service, initially targeted at telco operators, to offer an over-the-top video service.
Called FusionTV, the idea is to enable telcos that currently have no video service, or that are reselling a satellite video service, and can't afford a big switch to IPTV to provide their own video over a broadband connection, explained CEO Steve McKay.
With FusionTV, linear HDTV is delivered by traditional programming sources such as cable TV, IPTV or over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts. Live HDTV programming is complemented with online media services such as VOD, music streaming, photo sharing, social media, and other popular Web content and services.
The IPTV Edition of FusionTV is based on Entone's recently announced WebVOD platform  that allows IPTV operators to offer Web-based VOD services via a software download to Entone's media hubs.
All that's required is a 2 Mbps connection. "Above two megabits, it looks great," McKay said. It'll be an incentive to move subscribers into a higher tier, he noted.
The approach was pioneered and proven in overseas markets, McKay noted, but he claims Entone now has six operators "knee-deep in this."
Although the first iteration of FusionTV is aimed at phone companies, McKay said a version configured specifically for cable operators is in the works.
With FusionTV, subscribers receive:
- High-speed Internet
- Live HDTV programming
- Full-featured DVR and electronic program guide (EPG)
- Web media services (VOD, photo sharing, music streaming, etc.)
- Personal media sharing within a home network
- Place-shifting of content throughout the home or on the go
The DVR can be given away as an acquisition cost, or leased for a fee, or distributed under any model the service provider sees fit.
While the solution might not be the most high-end approach, it is a practical one for a large segment of TV viewers, a category McKay referred to as the TV middle class. That class might include the 12 million people whose main source of TV is OTA broadcasts, who might be "fatigued" by their communications service bills, who are aggravated by spats like the one between Fox and Cablevision, who would be willing to cut the cord, but who have realized that "free" isn't really free.
"This solution is targeted at the TV middle class," McKay said.
As for the forthcoming cable version, once again it's the if-you-can't-beat-'em philosophy: "Cable is worried about cord-cutting. This is an opportunity to integrate instead of resist," McKay said.
The service, which is commercially available across the United States, will be on display at next week's TelcoTV convention in Las Vegas.
– CED's Mike Robuck contributed to this report