NDS announced at IBC that Sky Deutschland deployed NDS' MediaHighway middleware for the new pay-TV service (a rebrand of the former Premiere) it launched in Germany and Austria this summer.
As part of the deal, Sky and NDS redesigned the user interface and EPG for all MediaHighway-based satellite STBs to incorporate Sky's new branding and design and to take advantage of new features in the latest-generation HD MPEG-4 Sky set-tops. The latest version of the MediaHighway middleware uses a Flash-based engine for an enhanced user interface and graphical experience and allows Sky to combine broadcast and broadband content on the TV screen, including the use of an HTML-based Internet browser.
"NDS MediaHighway played a pivotal role in enabling a smooth and successful launch of our Sky pay-TV service this summer," said Sky Deutschland SVP of technology Gerry Duffy in a statement. "The advanced features now supported by NDS MediaHighway put us in a great position to add exciting, new services to our subscriber base in the future."
Also at IBC, NDS introduced a pre-paid add-on module for its popular VideoGuard conditional access software, "NDS VideoGuard Pre-Paid," which allows pay-TV subscribers to purchase and store credit for future viewing. Once they decide to purchase content, the set amount is debited from their stored credit and VideoGuard Pre-Paid then sends the entitlement rights from the operator's head-end directly to the individual's smart card inside their set-top box (STB) to allow access.
NDS has been growing its footprint in the U.S. cable market by providing conditional access technology to Cablevision and performing a range of software integration work for Cox, including revamping its electronic program guide and porting a number of interactive applications to the Tru2way software specification.
NDS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abe Peled says that increased competitive pressure on cable operators from telcos, particularly Verizon's FiOS service, is pushing U.S. cable operators to improve the user experience of their services. He is optimistic that will drive more business for NDS, which he says is providing a level of software customization and hands-on integration that U.S. MSOs aren't accustomed to.
"We're basically going to them and saying, 'What would you like us to do?'" says Peled. "For them, it's a bit refreshing."