A VR Alliance, Acquisitions and a New TiVo: A Look at IBC 2016’s Top Newsmakers

The 2016 edition of IBC bid farewell to Rovi and saw a number of companies changing hands
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Complete Coverage: IBC 2016

Here’s a brief look at some of the more interesting announcements to come out of the 2016 edition of IBC:

TiVo

Farewell Rovi. Hello TiVo.

Completing it’s $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo during IBC, Rovi not only adopted the TiVo brand, it also debuted a new TiVo user interface, and the results of a new consumer survey (interviewing 5,500 pay TV and digital content users).

“We are transforming TV viewing into an easy, personalized experience,” Margret Schmidt, chief design officer for TiVo, said in a statement. “The new [TiVo] UX brings the content the viewer wants right up front faster through expanded discovery and predictions from their own cable subscription and the best online video sources. In short, we designed this UX so the viewer spends less time searching channel guides and opening apps and more time enjoying their favorite shows.”

The survey — “2016 Consumer Trends” — found that consumers are quick to abandon TV shows due to pay TV and digital subscription costs, with 37% saying they’ve walked away from a series due to the costs involved with accessing it.

“Shifts in viewer engagement, like show-dumping, impact the whole value chain, further challenging business models in a fragmented marketplace with many different viewing choices,” Paul Stathacopoulos, VP of strategy and strategic research for TiVo, said in a statement.

Acquisitions Abound

During IBC more than one major broadcast player made an acquisition move: Telestream acquired quality control specialist Vidcheck; Cobalt Digital picked up ImmediaTV; Broadcast Pix finished its acquisition of ioGates; and Blackmagic made not one, but two deals, adding Ultimatte and Fairlight to its portfolio.

Ericsson and Google

Heavyweights Ericsson and Google announced a combined offering that sees Google's Android TV platform integrated with Ericsson's cloud-based MediaFirst TV system. The partnership promises simple content distribution on a single, integrated platform.

“Our partnership with Google will empower operators of all sizes and resources to take control and leverage multiple monetization and partnership opportunities offered by Android TV, enabling them to deliver experiences to their audiences that fully integrate their pay TV services with Android TV applications and OTT services,” Shiva Patibanda, head of business line TV platforms for Ericsson, said in a statement.

VR Alliance

Video platform company Kaltura used IBC to launch the VR Alliance, a virtual reality group that focuses on making the technology play well on OTT platforms. VR content and distribution (Inception), app players (24i), digital supply chain specialists (Encompass) and video tech companies (Harmonic) are founding members.

“The opportunities for creating exciting, immersive viewing experiences for sports events, concerts and other types of content are endless, and also open up new monetization options,” Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Our experience in helping customers negotiate their OTT journeys means that we are ideally placed, together with our ecosystem partners, to help them navigate the emerging VR landscape.”

UHD Forum

The cross-industry coalition Ultra HD Forum — geared toward setting standards for the delivery of 4K linear services — used IBC to unveil its first industry guidelines for UHD content.

Under the group’s guidelines, services and technologies delivering 4K content will be looking at frame rates of up to 60 fps and color gamut recommendations of BT.709 and BT.2020.

“Making our UHD guidelines public just before IBC 2016 was an important milestone,” Don Eklund, co-chair of the Ultra HD Forum’s guidelines working group, said in a statement. “There are already several products displayed at the show that implement our recommendations.”

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