Canal Digital, the pan-Nordics Pay TV operator with 850,000 DTH households in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, has introduced a next-generation STB platform and UEX based on Android N, making it one of the first companies anywhere to use this latest version of the Android platform (Com Hem is another notable Android N user, deploying its next-generation of non-PVR boxes on the platform. Read more about that here).
In the case of Canal Digital, there is a PVR device (which makes it one of the first Android N PVRs deployed in the world) and a non-PVR STB. This deployment means that the Android open source middleware has been implemented (with publicly announced deployments) on DVB-C and traditional IPTV (at Com Hem) and for satellite (Canal Digital) in Europe – both in hybrid devices that combine streaming video (of course). Com Hem will also use the same core Android N platform for STBs that will go under the Boxer brand on DTT networks.
Canal Digital is not using Android Operator Tier (like Com Hem). The implementation uses a Customised Google Launcher. A common component in both deployments is 3SS. As we reported previously, the company worked on the Com Hem launch and Canal Digital used 3SS to design, develop and integrate a customised front-end and STB user interface for the new Android TV-based OnePlace platform, which is a UHD box.
OnePlace delivers next-generation entertainment to customers via satellite and streaming, also seamlessly combining linear and on-demand services. It features a backwards-facing EPG for catch-up content, gives easy access to Canal Digital’s own large VOD offer (movies and series) and features personal hard-disk recording (as a PVR).
Viewers are presented with a ‘channel array’ that is personalised for each customer and there is unified search across all sources, including the third-party apps from Android. The Google Play Store is integrated, the PVR supports Google Cast and Google Assistant is also onboard – providing voice control and voice-enabled search. Operator results are prioritised on voice search, in an example of how Android TV is working with operators to make a more ‘open’ content environment work for them.
Tone Krohn Clausen, Chief Product & Digital Officer at Canal Digital, says: “OnePlace provides a unique user experience, based on Android TV. The open ecosystem will ensure future innovation to the benefit of our customers. A number of suppliers have cooperated on developing the product. Being a successful super-aggregator of content requires us to seamlessly combine and display content to individual customers based on their preferences. The user experience is crucially important.”
This is another important win for 3SS, which delivered the first-ever major Android based TV platform (using AOSP – another of the Android open source ‘middleware’ options) for Swisscom in 2014. You can read more about that Swisscom deployment here.
Kai-Christian Borchers, Managing Director at 3SS, commented: “Android TV is bringing a revolution to TV. It is empowering service providers to realise unprecedented business opportunities to attract and engage viewers with capabilities and content they love.”
Interested in open source STB software?
At Connected TV World Summit next week you can hear Edward Corn, Head of Android TV Partnerships EMEA at Google, discussing the new Pay TV opportunities when Google Assistant arrives on Android TV set-top boxes. He is also discussing how Android TV is lowering the bill of materials cost and minimum hardware requirements for Android TV on STBs and what this means for the television market. Full details here.
If you are interested in open source middleware generally, Connected TV World Summit will also hear from key RDK users about how that initiative has improved their services – including helping to make cable ‘cool’.
- Steve Heeb, President & General Manager, RDK Management, reveals the latest device footprint figures.
- Pedro Bandeira, Director Product Development for NOS Portugal explains how his company raised the bar for the TV user experience (using RDK on its next-gen platform).
- Fraser Stirling, SVP of Devices and AI Systems at Comcast, explains how customers are getting used to cool new services on his company’s RDK-based video and broadband platforms, thanks to perpetual innovation.
More details on these presentations here.