Istanbul-based AirTies has announced a “significant” contract with Orange Spain that covers the supply of an advanced hybrid set-top box to subscribers that handles OTT content as well as broadcast and on-demand programming for users. The deal will take the number of AirTies-supplied devices installed to more than 10 million devices. AirTies is also in discussion with a number of clients about deploying 4K/HEVC boxes.
“The Orange Spain STB project win is AirTies’ latest hybrid product deployment combining traditional broadcast technologies with the advanced features of IP/OTT technology using Microsoft Smooth Streaming and PlayReady DRM. Orange TV customers now have a seamless interface for both OTT and DTT channels alongside services like catch up TV, video on demand and multi-screen access,” said a company statement.
Orange Espana is a mobile operator, currently third in market size. It serves around 12 million mobile customers.
Bulent Celebi, Executive Chairman and co-Founder of Airties said: “Two years ago, AirTies adopted a futuristic strategy that OTT will have a disruptive impact on the pay TV market, not just with streaming services but also integrating these technologies in traditional pay-TV. Fuelled by the rollout and expansion of Digiturk’s premium content service offerings to international customers, AirTies has accumulated industry leading expertise. We are proud to work with a leading Telco such as Orange Spain, which is already an industry landmark deployment of hybrid DTT / OTT technologies in a pay-TV service. Using OTT and Cloud technologies has a number of advantages for pay-TV operators. A single head-end manages smart phones, tablets and the main TV via an integrated UI. The operator is able to address any consumer with a broadband connection, with the adaptive bitrate working to adjust to the available speed. Multiple rooms or TV’s can easily be supported without expensive media gateways. New marketing or services can be deployed easily in the Cloud.”
AirTies did not reveal the overall value of the deal, although Celebi, talking exclusively to Advanced-Television.com, said the deal grew to “three or four times the original size we were initially discussing with Orange. The scheme is now fully deployed. They launched at the end of September, and next year we see Orange becoming a major TV player in the Spanish market. We expect the deployment to grow as the scheme roils out.”
“The order is very important in the network architecture that it uses. We all know about OTT and the enthusiasm for services like Netflix. But what we have done is to marry these technologies into a premium service for a pay-TV operator. Physically you might have a managed IPTV network, or a broadcast network over satellite or terrestrially, but Orange is using an adaptive bit-rate for OTT and applying this with high-definition and with all of the extra benefits of V0D, catch-up TV, time-shifting and multi-screen and allows subscribers to access the open Internet. It also turns any set into a much better ‘smart’ TV with much faster connectivity than the ‘smart’ TVs currently on the market,” said Celebi.
Celebi explained that AirTies’ existing contracts with BSkyB and Swisscom had worked out very well, “and we have closed contracts with several other European clients and discussions are taking place with some key US-based clients.” AirTies’ major client is DigiTurk and he hinted that further announcements would likely emerge at CES in Las Vegas. “Our deployments are going extremely well,” added Celebi, “and we are working on High Efficiency Video Codecs solutions for our clients, both for pay-TV broadcasters and Internet-based content providers.”
Celebi added that 4K and HEVC set-top box solutions now represented a major slice of Airties’ R&D efforts. “We are already working with Octoshape [a specialist in Cloud-based OTT streaming] and integrating these new technologies so that operators can select very high-quality OTT streaming using HEVC or use the new compression to supply 4K/Ultra-HD services to subscribers. We see these being increasingly important in our business plans for the future.”