As more viewing occurs across platforms, TV Everywhere continues to be an area with increasing competition from vendors. Ericsson, a relatively new player in the TVE space, launched its MediaFirst TV Platform last week, looking to use cloud-based technology to enable large-scale video services despite platforms. The service is currently in trials with “a targeted set of operators,” said Ben Huang, head of Ericsson Mediaroom global marketing. No further details are available at this time, but the company will make additional announcements. Ericsson entered the TVE space with the acquisition of Mediaroom from Microsoft in 2013. Microsoft originally launched the platform as Microsoft TV. While MediaFirst-powered services will be initially offered through a cloud service model, cable ops will still need to integrate it with their existing OSS/BSS systems, Huang said. On the devices side, cable MSOs will have devices that they manage (e.g. set-top boxes, gateways) and others that consumers will bring themselves, such as tablets and mobile devices. The platform was designed to have a universal client approach that aims to let ops quickly deploy their TV services across all devices, according to Huang. It also seeks to enable ops to work with partners to innovate on those experiences. In addition, cable ops considering a specific broadcast technology such as DVB-C or QAM are expected to be accommodated by the universal client, he said. The exec sees MediaFirst as more than just a TVE platform. “Its strength is that it is an end-to-end TV platform, enabling Pay TV providers to deliver consumers a complete TV experience [e.g. live TV, VOD, DVR, time-shifted content]. There is a broad range of technical challenges that must be addressed when powering the TV experience, but unless you can deliver live TV at scale, you will not be the TV experience of choice for consumers.” In addition, the platform aims to offer personalized service leveraging data about the content and the user and incorporating contextual data around where and when the service is being used and the operator data around those services, Huang said. The platform’s built on open standards, meaning it can be configured through a unified backend that would allow for release cycles to all devices. Delivery of service is achieved through a shared operational model in partnership with the operator, enabling deployment of new features. “An operator still controls when and how a consumer gets the service or specific features,” said Huang. “Most people today still talk about cloud technology and cloud services as if they are all that matter, and while important, they are really enablers in our view. High velocity innovation and bringing that innovation to market just as quickly is the key. We call this Pay TV at web speed,” he said.

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