Ericsson launches multiscreen platform targeting pay-TV market

AMSTERDAM--Ericsson opened a new front in its multiscreen strategy, launching MediaFirst, an extension of its Mediaroom IPTV platform that will enable the company to target cable and satellite pay-TV operators as well as its current base of telco/IPTV providers. The provider is demonstrating the new service here at IBC 2014.

Ericsson TV3 hub demo

Ericsson's proof of concept user interface for MediaFirst and Reach services. (Source: Ericsson)

The SaaS (software-as-a-service)-based platform is an end-to-end service that Ericsson says "embraces all content sources and delivery networks." It will most likely be available in the second quarter of 2015.

"Ericsson MediaFirst brings the agility, innovation and economic benefits of modern cloud technologies and web services to Pay TV operators, representing a big leap forward in TV technology," said Per Borgklint, SVP and head of business unit support solutions at Ericsson, in a press release.

Ericsson also updated its core Mediaroom platform, announcing Mediaroom Reach. Developed through its February acquisition of Azuki Systems, Reach provides a multiscreen component to IPTV operators' architecture.

The company has no plans to replace Mediaroom anytime soon. Pete Thompson, SVP of the Mediaroom Business Group, told reporters at IBC that with over 80 IPTV operator customers using Mediaroom, the platform is unlikely to change. "We don't want to rush their business decisions," Thompson said.

Largely silent about its plans for Mediaroom over the past several months, the shift toward a TV Everywhere focus isn't surprising, as it's clearly part of Ericsson's plan to expand what it calls "TV Anywhere." Ericsson acquired Mediaroom from Microsoft, finalizing the deal in September 2013. Several other key acquisitions, such as Red Bee Media and part of Technicolor, are also part of its TV Anywhere strategy.

Other updates to the Mediaroom platform include 4K capability, also slated for availability in the first half of 2015. Unified search capabilities and what Ericsson calls "true restart" TV--providing viewers with the ability to return to the beginning of a program with little fuss--are also being made available for IPTV providers.

"We're innovating in the current platform of Mediaroom," Thompson said, "but pushing into the new MediaFirst platform."

For more:
- see the release

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