NDS Powers Progressive Download-Based VOD Service for Israel's Yes

--Partners with China's Changhong on Interactive TV Apps that Support China's NGB Initiative

Interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, announced Tuesday that Israeli satellite TV operator, Yes, has launched an NDS-powered VOD service, based on progressive download (PDL) technology, for its hybrid satellite/IP DVR platform. According to NDS, the service, which allows users to download movies or series to their MaxTotal HD DVR over the open Internet to watch immediately or later, currently provides access to 5,000 free and paid titles, including HD content, and will add hundreds of new titles each month.

NDS claims that its PDL technology removes the buffering problems associated with low bandwidth to deliver uninterrupted viewing. It allows Yes to deliver IP content even over low-bandwidth connections, while ensuring quality equivalent to that of traditional VOD, the company says: the content is downloaded to the DVR hard drive, and, once enough content is cached, viewers can start playback while any remaining content is downloaded in background mode. PDL is designed to serve as a cost-effective way to deliver HD VOD without requiring video servers: content is stored on less expensive download servers (FTP or HTTP Web servers) and deployed at the edge of the network.

According to NDS, the new service was developed as part of the company's MediaHighway roadmap program, which it says enables operators, such as Yes, that offer services based on its flagship middleware platform to introduce "new and revenue-generating features, along with further enhancements to their existing services as part of an ongoing partnership." "In the past few years we have introduced a number of technological advances in partnership with NDS," Yes CTO, Itzhak Elyakim, said in a prepared statement. "As we took these pioneering steps, NDS has always been at our side with confidence in our vision. Both ourselves and NDS could see the potential of hybrid platforms as they emerged and we ensured that all the STB's and DVR's we have deployed since 2005 have been IP-enabled." Other NDS technologies employed by Yes, in addition to MediaHighway, include VideoGuard (conditional access), PC Show (DRM for broadband video content), Unified Headend (enables distribution of content across multiple different devices) and Dynamic Audience Measurement (measures viewer interaction with content, advertising and advanced services).

NDS also announced Tuesday that it is partnering with set-top box manufacturer, Changhong, to develop a range of interactive TV applications for the Chinese cable market. The company says that it will also play a key role in marketing the applications in other global markets, as part of a drive to increase export opportunities for Chinese consumer electronics and set-top companies.

According to NDS, the partnership with Changhong will see the companies working together to develop two-way services for Next Generation Broadcast (NGB) platforms (note: China's NGB initiative, which is intended to enable operators to offer subscribers interactive services and a broad selection of content on multiple devices, is backed by the country's Ministry of Science and Technology and its State Administration of Radio, Film and Television), focusing on applications that provide public information and enhance the viewing experience, while offering new advertising opportunities, including interactive TV ads. NDS claims that its MediaHighway platform supports NGB initiatives by offering such SD and HD services as EPG's, DVR, VOD and interactive TV across broadcast and hybrid platforms. "NDS supports the government's initiatives by providing tailor-made solutions for NGB and Three Network Convergence, while forging stronger links with local vendors to jointly develop solutions for the Chinese market," Sue Taylor, NDS's SVP and general manager for the Asia Pacific region, said in a prepared statement. "We have increased our team in China by 73% in the last year, and we plan to triple our investment over the next year. NDS's growing R&D center in Shenzhen puts us in a strong position to partner with Chinese CE and STB manufacturers and play a key role in helping them to increase export revenues."

In other NDS news: The company has announced the line-up of technologies that it will be showcasing at this week's CCBN 2010 and Convergence India 2010 trade shows.