Set-top deals: Russia's MTS boxes with Smartlabs; Rostelecom tabs Infomir

Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (NYSE: MBT)--better known as MTS--apparently liked the first batch of IPTV set-tops it got from SmartLabs that it's order a second delivery.

MTS calls itself the "leading telecommunications group in Russia," serving a subscriber base of more than 100 million total customers in 82 Russian regions, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan with fixed voice and cable-TV services. MTS said that its pay TV audience is in excess of 3 million households and its broadband subscriber base is more than 1.8 million.

SmartLabs LLC is a Russian company that builds service delivery platforms for IPTV, OTTtv, and hybrid IPTV/DVB, including set-top boxes.

In the latest instance, SmartLabs is providing its SML-292 premium set-tops for MTS customers who will receive HDTV and, in case you thought it was gone and forgotten, 3DTV. Embedded hard disk drives in the set-tops make it possible for MTS to offer features like Local PVR, Push VoD, Pause LiveTV, recording, storing and playback of user-generated content, the company said in a news release. The boxes also support multiple interfacs from USB to optical SPDIF, HDMI and HDCP.

The latest generation of SmartLabs gear will also include universal remote controls, "which can be easily configured to control multiple devices at once, including STBs, TVs, DVD players or even a sound system or audio receiver," the company's news release said.

SmartLabs isn't the only set-top box maker gaining ground on the Russian tundra. National operator Rostelecom (MICEX-RTS: RTKM) said it plans to buy 500,000 IPTV set-tops from Ukrainian vendor Informir.

For more:
 - see the release
 - and this post

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