Comcast's thePlatform launches Unified Ingest Service for cable providers, others

Comcast's thePlatform announced today the release of its Unified Ingest Service, which the company said will allow cable operators "to centrally manage all of the video and related metadata files that operators want to publish to subscribers' set-top boxes (STBs) and other IP-connected devices."

The new offering from thePlatform is intended to simplify the entry of content and data into cable operators' systems. Specifically, the company said its new Unified Ingest Service can accept and categorize live broadcast video, VOD, IP video and the associated metadata for shows and movies, including TV listings and program descriptions from traditional metadata providers such as Rovi, Gracenote, Red Bee and others. Other data supported by the product includes episode and movie descriptions from both the TV VOD Asset Distribution Interface (ADI) ingest standard and online video sources, as well as complete cast and crew lists and other metadata directly from networks and studios.

On the output side, thePlatform said its product focuses on one high-definition mezzanine file that can be modified for both traditional cable delivery (MPEG2/QAM) and IP delivery, along with closed-captioning versions and images. And it can send the content to legacy STBs, next-gen IP STBs, game consoles, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

The product is aimed at cutting operators' costs, as well as simplifying the management of video. Sometimes, thePlatform said, the same show or movie can be duplicated and processed due to the disparate ingesting services that cable operators use today. Thus, the company said, details like the actors in a show, or online video search tags, don't make their way back into the traditional TV user interface "perpetuating a subpar search and discovery experience in the living room."

"We've invested in our Unified Ingest System to help operators tackle this issue and create a new foundation for innovation. In fact, we already provide this kind of functionality to support more than 20 million pay TV subscribers across STBs and other devices," said Marty Roberts, co-CEO of thePlatform, in a release. "So, we decided to productize it, and make it generally available to the broader cable, telco, and satellite TV provider community, starting today."

With its new product, thePlatform will run up against Ericsson, Cisco, Clearleap, Ooyala and other established vendors in the video management world. ThePlatform is selling its new Unified Ingest Service as part of its flagship publishing platform, mpx, or as a standalone service.

Comcast acquired thePlatform in 2006, and since then, the independently operated business has created a solid position for itself in the pay-TV industry by offering a wide range of video-management services to cable companies and others. Indeed, thePlatform handles the management and processing of most U.S. cable companies' TV Everywhere services.

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article
- see this release

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