Entone rolls out hybrid TV offering for telcos

IPTV set-top box residential gateway vendor Entone is rolling out a hybrid TV product called Fusion TV that gives telcos a new, low-cost, rich-media offering that could help them appeal to potential cord cutters, providing a middle ground that lets them keep the best of linear TV and also delivers web media services over a standard Internet connection.

"The cord-cutting threat is very real," Entone CEO Steve McKay told FierceIPTV. "But the killer app for TV is still TV and we believe a lot of companies have lost sight of that. We think the core is still the TV experience."

McKay said Fusion TV combines linear HDTV programming and OTT media into a single, unified user experience. With Fusion TV, linear HDTV is delivered by traditional programming sources such as cable TV, IPTV, or OTA broadcasts. Live HDTV programming is complemented with online media services such as video on demand, music streaming, photo sharing, social media, and other popular web content and services.

"The demand for hybrid solutions among pay-TV operators continues to rise, as consumers become accustomed to greater diversity in content choices and access to online services," commented Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst at IMS Research. "As such, we expect hybrid pay-TV services to reach more than 380 million households worldwide by 2015."

The IPTV Edition of FusionTV is based on Entone's recently announced WebVOD solution which allows IPTV operators to offer web-based VOD services with a simple software download to Entone's media hubs. The Broadband TV Edition creates a completely new service model for telco operators that have not deployed IPTV, either entirely or in certain markets. McKay said it allows telcos to bundle video services with their broadband Internet service without the cost of deploying a full-scale IPTV system.

In a nutshell, Fusion TV can give subscribers:

  • High-speed Internet
  • Live HDTV programming
  • Full-featured digital video recorder (DVR) & electronic program guide (EPG)
  • Web media services (VOD, photo sharing, music streaming, etc.)
  • Personal media sharing within a home network
  • Place shifting of content throughout the home or on-the-go

"The sweet spot for this is really Tier 2 telcos," McKay said. "Those are the guys really feeling the pressure from consumers wanting additional options and who are being pressured by competitors. This gives them an opportunity to give the consumer what they want without having to buy a bunch of different boxes."

Fusion TV currently is deployed in beta with a Tier 1 operator, two Tier 2s and three Tier 3 operators. McKay says Entone has a target of 25 operators by the end of next year. It's available immediately for deployment in the U.S.

"This is, especially for the IPTV edition, low-hanging fruit," McKay said. "If, with a software download, you can enable all of this, it's easy."

For operators, the business case is pretty straight forward, McKay says. Telcos that already offer blanket IPTV service can add value with a Fusion TV offering at low cost to themselves. For operators who don't have an IPTV service, and who are reluctant to make a major investment in IPTV, Fusion TV gives them the ability to offer Internet to subscribers, with the added rich media options many users are looking for.

"Fusion TV allows them to offer a much more strategic solution without the investment of IPTV," he said.

For more:
- see this release

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