Thursday, December 15, 2016


Alticast today announced that CJ Hellovision, the largest cable operator in the Korean market, has completed the largest seamless overhaul of a content security system using Alticast’s AltiProtect download and replace conditional access solution.

CJ Hellovision installed the cardless, software-only AltiProtect system remotely and transparently to more than 4 million subscribers, using Alticast’s patented remote switching technology.  The deployment has enabled migration to AltiProtect CAS on all of CJ Hellovision’s legacy set-top-boxes, allowed unification of CJ Hellovision security across legacy and new devices and provided a long-term solution for UHD content protection – all while reducing system maintenance costs.

"We selected Alticast because their solution was backed by a patent for remote switching technology, and the service was completely transparent to subscribers during the conversion process," said Dr. Hong-Ik Kim, Head of Engineering for CJ Hellovision.  "Thanks to Alticast’s security team, we were able to successfully commercialize the software platform without any customer calls. The superiority of Alticast's patented technology gave us confidence for success, which was solidly proven during the implementation. Also, the service quality has been much improved with AltiProtect.”

Working together with Alticast, CJ Hellovision created an action plan for migrating CAS security over 22 individual business areas and 13 different set-top box types, including bi-directional and uni-directional models. During a 28-month period, the system was remotely installed and provisioned specifically for each customer without costly truck rolls or the interruption of subscriber services. 

As the provider of the core STB software for CJ Hellovision, Alticast was uniquely positioned to facilitate any necessary integrations between AltiProtect CAS and the CJ Hellovision deployed devices. In addition, Alticast leveraged its expertise in content security to manage the project closely, allowing flexibility as needed for meeting CJ Hellovision’s infrastructure and service delivery needs. 

Studio-approved and highly rated by Telcordia, AltiProtect uses well-defined industry standards to ensure reliable content protection for broadcast and VOD, and can easily adapt to unique network infrastructures. Alticast now has converted more than 90 percent of Korean domestic cable operators’ legacy conditional access systems to AltiProtect CAS.

“Our industry-leading know-how in content security and our prioritization of client needs were key to the successful and seamless completion of this project,” said Dr. Mi-Sung Cho, Executive Director of Security Division.  “We look forward to helping other pay-TV operators replicate CJ Hellovision’s success of migrating efficiently and without schedule delays to stable, highly-secure content protection systems.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

App Fatigue Revisited: Growing Problem, Pay-TV Opportunity?

Since we first raised the concept of “App Fatigue” during the summer, additional data has surfaced indicating that more is not better when it comes to application availability.  Most recently, Adobe’s 2016 Mobile Benchmark Data showed the limited utility of most media and entertainment applications, with fewer than half being used 10 times or more.  Equally concerning is the finding that 24% of media and entertainment apps were used only once.

The Adobe report suggests a variety of reasons why certain apps are unable to compete, even in the short term, including poor app performance, availability of superior applications or even the inferiority of a given app when compared to a browser experience.  Colin Dixon points out that the months spent on app development -- Nine Hertz, an app development company, has pegged time-to-market for a standard native mobile app at 18 weeks – are only the first step to success; the bigger challenge is getting people to download and use it.

Although Adobe’s research shows that media and entertainment apps have had the highest app install rate (14%) of any industry over the past year, Dixon points out that user tendencies toward the Web and social media on mobile devices presents media and entertainment companies with a significant challenge: ensuring that their apps are relevant enough to attract and retain users amidst the competition for user engagement.

The pay-TV industry itself proposed an app solution as a counter to the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” concepts over the summer.  While action on the FCC proposal has been postponed since the November election, we continue to believe that pay-TV is uniquely positioned to thrive in an “App Fatigue” environment.

We believe operators are well positioned to deliver services – either securely to set-top boxes or as an app to third-party devices – that leverage troves of subscriber data and analytics.  Using that information, they can fine tune strategies and applications for mobile or other consumer devices, enabling them to understand the reasons behind abandoned apps and develop successful mobile media delivery solutions that best meet consumers’ needs.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Value of Voice Control Coming Through Loud and Clear

Voice control has come of age, with greatly improved voice recognition, natural language and machine learning. The amazing ability to understand any voice with any accent is a huge achievement. Pairing that with the ability to respond in a conversational manner means voice control will become the de facto user control interface for many devices.

Millennials are probably the biggest users of voice control: more than 50% use Siri, Google and other systems to get answers for anything from restaurant recommendations to the distance to the moon. In the home there is increased reliance on “intelligent personal assistants” such as Alexa and Google Home.  Comcast is heavily promoting its Xfinity TV voice control system, and considering moving away from traditional remote controls altogether.

When machine learning is involved, the ease of voice control and the power of big data can transform lives.  Combining video or audio search data, all other searches on the Web and conversations with a personal assistant can inform the music you play or the content you watch, recommending a wider breadth of content choices that are tailored to consumers’ lifestyles.

But the real pleasure is the simplicity of acting hands-free. The ability to easily ask for something and quickly get the results may be ending the days of mind-numbing up-down flipping through a guide. You don’t even need to go to the Internet.

Here’s a scenario that might take place in the my house when the “Sports” command is given and a filtered list appears:  A more specific request – “Broncos” – might offer choices of multiple teams, but based on location and viewing history, we’d get information on the Denver Broncos and their upcoming games.

Pay-TV operators have had voice control on their lists for some time, but the technology has needed fine tuning to avoid adding to consumer frustration. The advancements in technology mean that now, for good reason, they are all clamoring to put voice control into their ecosystems, providing a much easier and much more intelligent user experience for their subscribers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Pay-TV Can Spur 4K UHD Growth

From industry chatter, sometimes it’s hard to tell if Ultra High Definition television is coming like an express train or a stop-and-go city bus, but one thing is universally acknowledged: pay-TV operators need a plan as 4K video, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and ultimately 8K transform the quality of video delivered to the home.

While IHS points out that the 4KTV market will total 55 million units and more than 100 million units by 2019, a panel at SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo last month pointed out that operators still are wrestling with how to support 4K with HDR on legacy systems, as well as competing formats such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

Here are some of the things that need to be on pay-TV’s front burner as the 4K/UHD transition moves forward:
·      Set-Top Box Capabilities – Operators need to aggressively follow the lead of innovation leaders such as Videotron, whose illico 4K Ultra HD PVR deployment has become a blueprint for market-wide 4K UHD STB penetration.
·      Content Security – Given the higher value placed on 4K UHD content, operators and their content partners need to step up their security games to include more specialized content protection techniques, including use of the Advanced Encryption Standard with 128 bit keys.
·      Content Availability – Operators such as Rogers and Comcast have shown the value of 4K UHD with HDR, but production and distribution need to be ramped up if pay-TV is going to help subscribers gain full value from their 4K UHD television investments.

It’s clear that manufacturers are moving quickly to integrate 4K compatibility and even 4K capability into displays coming to market.  No matter what obstacles there might be to the new technology, it’s clear that addressing the market quickly and comprehensively will spur market growth that will benefit consumers and the television industry.