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Ericsson strikes partnerships with Intel and Google for pay TV

Let it rain down from the cloud

By Faultline, 12 Sep 2016

Ericsson said at IBC this week that it will partner Google to allow Android TV set tops to work with its MediaFirst TV Platform. It will also partner Intel to look for ways of bringing video processing more efficiently to the cloud.

It has been re-engineering Microsoft’s Mediaroom since it acquired it three years ago, and many operator partners have felt their multiscreen needs were too urgent to wait around for the MediaFirst architecture to fully emerge and have deserted it.

The integration of Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform with Android TV will provide an additional pathway to extend MediaFirst cloud-based TV services, including 4K-UHD live TV channels, video-on-demand, catch-up TV and cloud DVR.

When you talk to anyone in the pay TV-Ecosystem they say that they little reason to allow Android TV into it, because it allows a creeping influence of Google into the pay TV operators. But there are pay TV operators that talk differently and there have been some successful implementations around Android TV.

The partnership will give operators the opportunity to benefit from Android TV's growing presence on connected TV operating systems, without the need for additional hardware costs. Operators will be able to partner with manufacturers of Android TV devices to deliver new hardware as well as niche OTT programming, or deploy additional applications within the Android operating system. Additionally, the collaboration will enable Ericsson to deliver multiple, flexible, pre-integrated set-tops which sup-port hybrid configurations for TV.

In a separate blog and announcement Ericsson also said it would begin a collaboration with Intel which seemed to point more to encoding than anything else, although there was not much detail given. There were hints that Ericsson will perhaps give up its dedicated encoding chips and work with Intel on cloud infrastructure, not only for video processing, but also mobility and cloud infrastructure. Ericsson and Intel research centres will also explore joint innovation around video processing, which to us reads code for the Envivio team will get hints from Intel on how best to lay software encoding onto modern Intel cloud servers.

The aim to build a foundation for a cloud-centric media infra-structure using virtualized media applications. Intel has plans to release Intel Xeon processors with integrated FPGAs ton accelerate the performance of a software-defined data centre. Also perhaps the Ericsson encoding chip the AVP4000 or some derivative of it could become one of those FPGAs which plug into Intel chips.

That would be a mistake we feel, since the entire thrust of encoding has been to go software only and given new encoders coming down the track in the form of AOMedia, and others, its best to retain the constant flexibility of a software only approach.

The two also said the combination of Ericsson’s HDS8000 Hyperscale data centre system and Intel Rack Scale Design will help to transform the media data centre by enabling a disaggregated hardware approach that will dramatically improve efficiency, utilization, automation and total cost of ownership. The potential media use cases for data centre workloads include media processing, media delivery and cloud DVR, enabling TV players to build trust in their service delivery while embracing new technologies at the same time.

Ericsson and Intel will work together to enable agile service delivery, giving media players the opportunity to drive organisational flexibility and bring new and compelling services to market. For instance, Ericsson’s MediaFirst TV Platform and its native cloud and SaaS approach already leverage DevOps models for continuous development and deployment in live systems. Ericsson is adopting virtualized micro-service based applications in all of its solutions to give complete flexibility to deployment and operational models.

Moving beyond the media experiences, Ericsson and Intel are already working together to accelerate the development of 5G-ready networks.

Copyright © 2016, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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