The TV middleware market, long led by Nagra (25 per cent worldwide 2011 market share) and NDS (24 per cent) worldwide and Motorola (19 per cent) and Cisco (11 per cent) in the US, is in a massive state of upheaval as Cisco’s bid for NDS waits to close – it is expected in early August 2012 – while Google has yet to give a clear direction for its recently acquired Motorola Home business unit. “Operators are reluctant to significantly change direction with the current uncertainty, except where they decide to bring middleware development in-house,” according to Sam Rosen, practice director, TV & video at ABI Research.
The Cisco-NDS and Google-Motorola acquisitions, together with the increasing role of traditional IPTV vendors, such as Orca Interactive point the way to a future where the middleware provider offers an open software platform with key features, while operators can innovate experiences using common software techniques. Middleware companies will follow the system integrator model, where they look to bring in best of class technologies and focus on integration rather than innovation.
Cable operators are currently upgrading middleware platforms to support the migration to IP video within the home – slowly transitioning away from legacy QAM modulation. Meanwhile, cable, satellite, and IPTV platform operators worldwide are investing in multiscreen or TV Everywhere capabilities. Sam Rosen explained that “more online-savvy companies, especially Comcast-owned thePlatform, have been offering solutions, displacing spending from traditional middleware companies.”