Pace Launches Microsoft Mediaroom-Based IPTV Set-Top Box Platform

--Orca, Viaccess Powering White-Label IPTV Platform
--ITU Announces First IPTV Interop Event

UK-based set-top box company, Pace, on Wednesday launched a new set-top platform that uses Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV software. According to the company, its engineering team developed the customizable platform in order to enable operators to quickly and easily roll out IPTV, hybrid broadcast/broadband and OTT services.

Pace--which claims to have developed custom IP technologies for major pay-TV operators around the world, including Canal+ in France and Viasat in Scandinavia and the Baltics--says that its "Mediaroom-specific credentials" include a long relationship with BT: in January, 2007, the company developed the first set-top box for the Microsoft Mediaroom-powered BT Vision service, and in 2009 it launched the Vision+, a hybrid DVR for BT Vision. "We continue to lead the industry in developing converged solutions that help pay-TV operators to deliver compelling, accessible and innovative services, and to share pay-TV content around the home," Pace's chief technical engineer, Oliver Thivolet, said in a prepared statement. "Pace's expertise is in bringing together software (including middleware and applications), conditional access and cutting-edge hardware in a service-ready, high-quality, stable product. This development is a natural progression for Pace as we build on more than three years of successful product development and deployment incorporating Microsoft Mediaroom. Our IP connectivity capabilities mean we're able to create robust IP set-top box platforms which enable new operators to build out exciting digital entertainment services."

Microsoft claims that Mediaroom is the most widely deployed IPTV platform in the world, powering the delivery of IPTV services for over 25 of the world's leading service providers and over 4 million subscriber households. The platform supports such offerings as interactive TV applications, instant channel-changing, HD VOD, whole-home DVR and remote recording. Pace says that its new IPTV set-tops have been tested and certified by S3, which was appointed by Microsoft as the first testing partner to deliver set-top testing services to Mediaroom OEM's and manufacturers that want to build set-tops that are fully compatible with Mediaroom.

In other Pace news: The company has been tapped by Philips to design two new HD set-top boxes for the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview. The boxes--which are slated to be available in retail in time for soccer's upcoming World Cup--are the lower-end DTR5520 HD and the higher-end T8520 HD PVR, both of which will be marketed under the Philips brand. According to Pace, the latter device features dual tuners and a 500GB hard drive, and both devices feature automatic installation and channel update, 1080p HD upscaling, USB and Ethernet ports for enhanced connectivity, and compliance with EU power-consumption/environmental impact regulations.

In other IPTV news:

  • France Telecom's conditional access and DRM subsidiary, Viaccess, and Viaccess's IPTV middleware subsidiary, Orca Interactive, have been tapped by Belgian systems integrator, Alpha Networks, to power a pre-integrated white-label IPTV solution that the latter is offering to service providers under the brand name, turnKeyTV. The first operator to launch the new solution is Alpha Networks-owned triple-play provider, Billi. "Orca fully believes that its RiGHTv middleware platform will empower Billi to fully offer an array of dynamic IPTV services to its customers, that include broadcast TV over IP, video-on-demand (VOD), personal video recording (PVR), home media, gaming, personalized services and much more in the future," Orca Interactive CEO, Haggai Barel, said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to working closely with both Alpha Networks and Billi to provide them with the right tools to deliver first-class IPTV services that will drive growth and generate revenues."
  • The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced its first IPTV interop event. According to the organization, the event, which will take place in Geneva, July 20th-23rd, seeks to demonstrate the state of maturity and industry adoption of ITU-T standards for IPTV (e.g., H.701, H.721, H.740, H.750, H.761, H.762 and H.770). Online registration for the event, which is targeted at manufacturers of set-top boxes, content servers and other equipment, is scheduled to open next month.


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