CommScope's COVID-19 Customer & Partner Hub Visit
Pay-TV service providers are seeking to deliver differentiated experiences to the main screen in the home (the TV) that attract and retain customers. This requires solutions that deliver a consistent, reliable experience and allow for accelerated innovation and deployment.
Set-tops enable service providers to consistently deliver high-quality, secure, premium video services with apps and web services, such as Netflix® and YouTube®, into our homes. Devices with the processing power, configurability and connectivity options enable service providers to rapidly evolve their services to keep their subscribers’ attention.
CommScope is evolving the set-top with Smart Media Devices, a new category of devices that integrates speaker, smart assistant, and far-field voice command technology into a single piece of hardware—presenting service providers with an exciting new framework for personalized and aggregated services in entertainment, e-health, education, utilities, productivity, and more.
For service providers, the user experience on the TV is an important part of their brand. A set-top manages that experience as a platform on which the service provider’s experience can be built—including co-hosted services such as Netflix™, exclusive services, etc., ensuring:
The latest set-top platforms enhance the consumer experience with:
For service providers, set-tops reduce the costs of content delivery and support by:
The consumer experience on the set-top is an important part of the service provider’s brand. It needs to be distinct within their market based on consumer demands and competitive alternatives, with an agile approach to service creation and development to be more responsive to the market.
Our approach is to offer choices in the user interface by enabling a wide range of third-party software middleware—user experience products on our video devices. We also offer service providers the ability to develop their own UI using CommScope software and services. Our Professional Services team has industry-leading software engineers, solution architects, project managers, and test and validation experts to help customize your customer-premises equipment (CPE) portfolio to deliver a consistent, intuitive and optimized experience for your subscribers.
There is a growing industry trend in “software platforms” or “hardware abstraction layers,” which perform the common functions of set-tops while providing an API (Application Programming Interface) that enables the development of custom, branded user interfaces.
|User interface application|
|Device drivers/Linux OS|
|Set-top hardware - SoC|
CommScope has over 20 years of experience in this set-top software approach with KreaTV and many other middleware software solutions. Today we offer set-top solutions that support:
Android is an attractive option due to its common development environment for the set-top, tablet, automotive and smartphone. Android TV Operator Tier enables a service provider to offer a branded user experience along with the familiar Google services such as YouTube, Chromecast built-in and the Google Play app store. Alternatively, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) allows operators to take greater control of the user experience but with no integrated Google services or application store. CommScope has developed Android TV Operator Tier and AOSP solutions for a number of years, with successful deployments at tier-1 service providers.
Press release: CommScope and TDS Telecom to deploy Android TV™ set-top
Pioneered by Comcast, RDK-V is an open-source software platform seen as an alternative to Android TV, with its own app store. CommScope is a worldwide leader in RDK development—contributing to the code-base and having delivered many successful customer deployments around the globe, with tens of millions of RDK set-tops. CommScope provides RDK-based set-tops for Comcast’s X1 platform, which is being syndicated for use to other service providers.
Our RDK Video Accelerator Program helps the RDK community rapidly develop, test and deliver innovative services.
A mature software platform for CommScope set-tops, KreaTV enables a wide choice of user interfaces (UIs) and Apps from third parties and is popular among service providers due to way it simplifies integration of services, eases migration to new hardware and reduces cost of ownership.
CommScope also works closely with third parties offering solutions for user experience software that integrates directly onto the hardware—providing a breadth of choice for the service provider.
|RDK-V||Android TV||CommScope KreaTV|
|Licensing model||Free license||Free license||Royalty based on features|
|Open standards||HMTL5, Linux, GStreamer etc.||Android Java API Framework, Kotlin, HTML5, TIF, ExoPlayer, Linux||HTML5, Linux, Open Source Initiative etc.|
|Application support||HTML apps, YouTube and Netflix need agreement||GTVS (including YouTube, YouTube for kids, Assistant etc), Play Store (5 000+ apps including regional OTT, games etc), Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+||HTML apps, YouTube, Netflix and BBC iPlayer
integrated (need agreement)
|Multiscreen support||Cloud and Set-top||Cloud, Chromecast Built-in||Cloud|
|Industry adoption||Major cable operators||Major cable, satellite and IPTV operators. TV set manufacturers.||European telcos & broadcast|
|Portability||Hardware independent gateways and set-tops shared codebase||Hardware independent. Android for TV (Android TV), mobile (Android), cars (Android Auto) and wearables (Android Wear)||CommScope hardware only|
A compelling, modern user interface helps gain new customers, but it’s important to offer a similar experience to your existing customers. The installed base of set-tops may not have the processing power and memory to render the graphics or run an HTML browser. The options are:
Virtualizing set-top functionality allows service providers to offer a consistent user experience on new and current set-tops without having to do a “rip and replace.” By rendering the UI in the cloud and delivering the resulting interface as an image in a video stream to the set-top, richer graphical and visual user experiences can be supported. A small-footprint “nano client” is installed in the set-top—relaying the remote control key presses back to servers in the data center. These are processed and the relevant UI is delivered as video in a format suitable for the set-top.
Using the ActiveVideo® CloudTV platform, service providers can simplify the migration from an existing middleware platform to another—avoiding the need to replace the set-top or undertake complex integration. It can support different levels of virtualized functionality, including the complete EPG, cloud-based VOD libraries, and OTT service applications.
OTT services and applications that cannot be supported by the legacy set-top hardware can now be supported. Run in the cloud, the new applications become available to any device with the nano client installed—reducing implementation and accreditation timescales.
CommScope is joint owner of ActiveVideo, a vendor of virtualized solutions for video and App delivery.
As service providers know, it’s not just about the lowest cost hardware. Today, success requires the right combination of software and hardware to fit into a high-quality, reliable overall service delivery platform, combined with know-how and scale. It’s what makes us the global set-top leader.
We bring together hardware, software platform, UI, software enhancements, and services to deliver complete, deployable solutions that minimize risk and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Our solutions are a valuable investment, with features like:
20 manufacturing sites
across, North America, South America,
Europe, Asia and South Africa
CommScope-owned sites in Brazil,
Taiwan and Mexico
42 distribution centers
120 repair/service locations
Operations in 97 sites serving operators,
Anthony Zuyderhoff, SVP Video Systems, discusses how set-tops remain relevant in today’s media market, with an increase in investments due to the emergence of UHD and HDR and the expansion of Wi-Fi connectivity.