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Comcast builds out Chattanooga VOD service in the cloud

As multichannel systems operators (MSOs) continue their inevitable migration to a unicast distribution network—in order to support “TV Everywhere” business models that accommodate multiple portable devices in addition to the home TV set—they are taking advantage of remotely based signal processing infrastructures to drive personalized, on-demand video to every customer.

As one example, Comcast is testing the CloudTV H5 platform from ActiveVideo Networks for a video-on-demand (VOD) service in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Comcast “Xfinity On Demand” service leverages a cloud-based user interface to allow subscribers to search and retrieve on-demand content. The remote-processing technology enabled Comcast to quickly launch the new service with minimal CapEx costs and deliver a consistent look and feel across thousands of set-top boxes in the market.

The scalable CloudTV H5 platform utilizes HTML5 browser technology running on remote servers to execute and render complete user experiences in the cloud. The fully formed user experience is then streamed to the user’s device. ActiveVideo Networks said subscribers control the experience by using their remote controls to send key presses to the remote server, which in turn controls the application. Latency between a customer key press and the UI response is “minimal,” according to the company.

ActiveVideo Networks’ said its patented technology allows MSOs to create and deliver pixel-accurate applications and user experiences across any digital set top box or connected device. In-home device capabilities are irrelevant to the application designer because the application is fully executed and rendered on the cloud-based server, making it possible to create complex animations and functionality without worrying about device capability.

The CloudTV H5 platform is designed to interface seamlessly with any existing cable operator network infrastructure and its “total cloud” approach can be completely deployed at low cost without changing or adding a single device in the home.

The CloudTV platform is currently available on approximately 10 million screens in the U.S. among such MSOs as Cablevision Systems, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and other operators, as well as on Philips-branded Internet-connected TVs.

ActiveVideo Networks is based in San Jose, CA, with offices in Los Angeles and Hilversum, the Netherlands.