Dutch No. 1 pay-TV operator Ziggo has shown that even legacy cable set-top boxes can exploit interactive cloud-based services and deliver an improved quality of experience. The cable operator, with 2.81 million pay TV users, has by now activated 230,000 legacy set-tops for cloud TV and claims that this has boosted ARPU by more than 5 percent through increased VoD sales.
Ziggo started deploying cloud TV in 2011 using the cloud platform from ActiveVideo, enabling the operator to implement a “Bring Your Own Device” strategy allowing customers to purchase their own digital receivers at retail outlets providing they had been certified as compatible with the operator’s network.
At the same time, Ziggo claimed to be the first operator in the world to deploy high-definition cable TV based on the CI Plus standard that enables CE devices to access encrypted services via plug-in conditional-access modules that can also be purchased at retail stores.
Ziggo has now migrated its UI to the cloud, with the key question being whether the remote rendering would impose unacceptable delay for programme guide functions. The operator insisted that this has not been an issue because its download speed of 150Mb/s, which can be upgraded to 400Mb/s, is sufficient to keep the latency down.
Ziggo has recently started to deploy the latest CI+ 1.3 conditional-access modules from CAM manufacturer SMiT, which will reduce processing overhead and provide smoother displays on TVs. This will enable smart TVs to access VOD without a set top at all. Introduction of CI + 1.3 will yield a further increase in the number of interactive receivers among Ziggo’s customers and boost VOD revenues, according to the operator. At present, 900,000 of its customers watch digital TV using the legacy version 1.2 of the CI.
Currently, around 250 different TVs models from Philips, LG and Samsung have been certified for interactive TV with the new CI+ 1.3 module, with more to follow.