Pay-TV companies are struggling to keep up with video experiences enabled by connected TVs and iPads. Their situation, caused by a slow-moving business model as well as serving less technically savvy consumers, is exacerbated by suffering a hardware disadvantage as they rely on set-top boxes that are typically five-to-seven-year-old technology. “To meet this demand, pay-TV operators are adopting search, recommendation and discovery technologies that can help viewers find the right content at the right time. These systems typically leverage cloud-based technologies to compensate for the older technology in the home,” says Sam Rosen, practice director/TV & Video at ABI Research. Rovi and Technicolor, and TV middleware companies (notably, Viaccess Orca with its Compass recommendation technology) together with companies like DigitalSmiths, Aprico and Gravity R&D are competing to offer the core technologies rolled out by cable, satellite and IPTV pay-TV operators. In addition, second-screen experiences, designed for use on a tablet while in front of the TV, are gaining more attention from service providers…A new white paper from Infonetics Research examines how integrated OTN switching is bringing the concept of data-center virtualization to optical transport networking. “The ‘optical reboot’ that we’ve been predicting is here,” says Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst/Optical and author of the white paper. “All the low-hanging fruit has been picked from existing 10 Gbps networks, and carriers view the transition to 100 Gbps as a once-in-a-decade chance to reboot their core and regional network architectures. They’re seizing the opportunity and introducing meshed networks that employ integrated OTN switching”…Fitch Ratings says Verizon Wireless‘ new price plans for sharing data are expected to encourage additional uptake of multiple data devices. In particular, it adds, operators hope shared data plans will increase the attachment rates for tablets which have been lower than desired by giving consumers more flexibility with their data consumption. The pricing for the unlimited text and voice plans also locks in value for services that would further erode due to cheaper substitutes. Data revenue for 1Q12 at Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile USA grew 19 percent year over year to $14.2 billion, representing 41 percent of service revenue, compared with 36 percent one year ago. Fitch expects AT&T Wireless likely will adopt a similar, less aggressive strategy focused on subscribers paying for the value of added data services, based in part on AT&T’s current lower-priced tiered data strategy versus Verizon’s higher-priced data plans.