Conax rebrands for multiscreen

Norwegian content security specialist Conax rebranded itself as a provider of pre-integrated multiscreen platforms aimed at small and mid-sized pay TV operators at IBC, while announcing its first customer for the package.

Conax had announced its Conax Xtend Multiscreen pre-integrated solution together with Cubiware and MPS Broadband in June, but has now decided to make this the centerpiece of its strategy, even though, for now, its contribution will still be confined to content security.

Unlike some of the other providers of pre-integrated services, Conax now has a customer it can talk about, Finnish cable operator DNA, announced at IBC. With 600,000 subscribers, DNA is in the sweet spot for pre-integration, according to Conax product management director Tor Helge Kristiansen. While the huge operators, such as Comcast and Liberty Global in the cable arena, or DirecTV and Sky for satellite, have the resources to build their own multiscreen infrastructure, albeit using external CDN providers, for smaller providers with under 1 million customers the project is usually too big.

This, by itself, is not an argument for pre-integration involving multiple vendors, because a single large player such as Cisco, Ericsson or Alcatel-Lucent can effectively offer a one stop shop. But, the pre-integration camp argues that it can bring OTT to market more quickly because it is better geared towards smaller operators and still have all the pieces ready in place. It also offers some choice for those elements that are not pre-integrated, which in the case of Conax Xtend Multiscreen include the CDN and encoder. Cubiware provides the middleware, MPS Broadband the video publishing platform, and Conax itself the content security. More to the point, perhaps, pre-integration allows smaller vendors to deal themselves into the multiscreen game and compete with the big players.

Conax also announced one of the world’s first integrated CI+ modules bundled with a smart card chip into one single, integrated and pre-paired solution. Conax called this “a smart card for the TV”, which depends of course on the TV having a CI Plus slot.