Thursday, February 26, 2009

Parks Associates research finds free content is main lure for Western Europeans watching video online

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit examines impact of consumer preferences on future services--

Adoption of online video has increased in Europe, but international research firm Parks Associates reports that the vast majority of usage is not generating any direct revenues. The firm, which recently released the white paper The Impact of Online Video in Europe, reports that 31% of broadband households in Western Europe have downloaded a movie or TV show for free in the last six months while only 8% of households have paid for an Internet download.

The Impact of Online Video in Europe addresses these changes in viewing habits, a key area of focus at the upcoming CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, hosted by Parks Associates on March 31 in Nice, France.

Over 80% of broadband households prefer traditional options for viewing video, including going to the cinema or watching a DVD. Since so many users are watching online video only because it is free, they will likely step away from the computer if they have to start paying for it.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit focuses on new strategies for service and technology providers, media companies, and manufacturers in creating new entertainment and communications solutions.

Event sponsors include Affinegy, Enure Networks, and HomeGrid Forum. Global Sponsors include ActiveVideo Networks, Affinegy, Cloakware, DSC, HD-PLC Alliance, Icron, Macrovision, the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), ProVision Communications, Radialpoint, Telcordia, and Zilog.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Current Economy: Opportunities in customer support

Things are tough for broadband service providers. They face slower subscriber growth and increased competition. At the same time, their costs for supporting home networks could total hundreds of millions of dollars annually. But — to borrow a cliché — when one door closes, another opens.

Changes in consumer spending are reducing dollars spent on entertainment outside of the home, but with people staying inside for their entertainment, they develop a greater dependence on at-home services. This greater level of dependence opens new areas for growth in customer support, self-diagnostic, and troubleshooting solutions. These opportunities could benefit a diverse batch of players, from broadband, communications, and entertainment providers to retailers and CE manufacturers.

CONNECTIONS™ features the track Support & Management for its 2009 events. The sessions in this track will address, among other topics, how service providers can implement remote support capabilities and turn customer support from a liability into an opportunity – and a service differentiator. Operators can put a renewed focus on building customer satisfaction and ultimately improving subscriber retention, all of which fits nicely with their new strategies for gateway-supported advanced services.

Mobile carriers working to increase ARPU

There will be over 4.5 billion mobile phone users worldwide by 2013, of which over 3.5 billion will be served by 3G technology, and there will be no shortage of competition for this immense population of users. Mobile carriers have to provide enhanced and personalized services in order to reduce subscriber churn while also building average revenue per user (ARPU). Samsung, now the No. 2 mobile handset maker, is unveiling its mobile applications storefront for users of Samsung Symbian and Windows Mobile devices (an extension of the Samsung Mobile Innovator developer program) during the Mobile World Congress event in February 2009. Although this store will be open only to U.K. consumers initially, the company will expand it to other nations if the U.K. store is successful with consumers.

This development is one more significant step in the mobile app space, which has been under accelerated development since 2008 following Apple’s success. The market has included these developments:

>> September 2008: The press first reported Microsoft’s mobile app store SkyMarket, followed by rumors that Microsoft will announce it at Mobile World Congress in February 2009.

>> October 21, 2008: Research in Motion announced its Blackberry application storefront will open in March 2009; developers will get 80% of the revenue from sales.

>> October 22, 2008: The Google Android Market went live with 50+ applications; Google promises to give developers 70% of the sales, with 30% going to carriers and for billing settlement.

>> January 9, 2009: Palm announces plan to launch its WebOS App Catalog.

As the consumer app download market grows, fragmentation could become a negative factor in the mobile OS market. Will Apple leverage its App Store’s success to lock in users just as it did with its iPod+iTunes franchise? The more fragmented the market is, the more leverage Apple could gain. CONNECTIONS™ will feature multiple sessions discussing the implications of such a move in the mobile industry.

Monday, February 23, 2009

SPiDCOM unveils the first “no-limits” HomePlug AV SoC

SPiDCOM unveils the first “no-limits” HomePlug AV SoC

The silicon provider will present the SPC300 HomePlug AV SoC during CeBIT 2009. The SPC300 is based on an open dual-core architecture, enabling innovative product developments. The introduction of the first second sourced fully compliant HomePlug AV SoC is a significant milestone for the Powerline Communication industry.

CeBIT 2009
Hanover – March 3rd-8th
Hall 13, Stand D29

Paris, France, February 23rd, 2009 – SPiDCOM Technologies today announced that it will present its new SPC300 HomePlug AV SoC during CeBIT 2009.

HomePlug AV technology is already widely deployed worldwide, a notable share of it being by European Internet Service Providers. SPC300 will accelerate the process; a second source being a constant demand from the industry players.
“The SPC300 HomePlug AV SoC product introduction is a landmark in the Powerline Communication industry because HomePlug AV technology really becomes multi-vendors today” said Radomir Jovanovic, President & CEO of SPiDCOM Technologies. “The SPC300, thanks to its “no-limits” design approach, will change the way product designers implement HomePlug technology by allowing innovative solutions with less complexity and lower cost.”

SPC300 is the first HomePlug AV “no-limits” platform
SPC300, based on a dual core architecture, sets no processor limits:
The first 32-bit processor is dedicated to the physical layer management and to all the real-time requirements. It enables the SPC300 to adapt to changes in the electrical power lines and to react accordingly in order to keep the highest levels of performance possible. The second processor is dedicated to customer applications. SPiDCOM provides a Linux software and the development tools so that its partners can customize “no-limits” added-value applications and this way differentiate themselves from their competitors. They will do it with “no-limits” network interface, because SPC300 has a Gigabit Ethernet port.
This creates a new frontier in HomePlug technology based product development ; SPiDCOM puts “no-limits” on the imagination of its partners!

About SPiDCOM Technologies:
SPiDCOM Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company. It specializes in integrated circuits and Linux-based software bundles for Multimedia Home Networking, EoC (Ethernet over Coax), BPL Access, Smart Grid and other any wire based applications (powerline, coax, phoneline).
SPiDCOM provides both proprietary & HomePlug AV standard based open solutions to its partners for “no-limits” product developments.
HomePlug AV is the technology baseline of the IEEE P1901 Powerline Communication standard.
Press Contact:
Tel : +33

Trends impacting service providers in 2009

Several factors in 2009 will make the service provider industry more diverse and competitive:

>> The commoditization of voice and bandwidth — voice is evolving from a service to an application, and consumer bandwidth cost per Mbps has decreased by roughly 60-70% in the past five years

>> The growth of bundled services — major carriers around the world are trying to fulfill consumer needs for data, voice, mobility, and video with quadruple-play packages

>> The growth of over-the-top service providers — companies such as Google, Hulu, the major broadcasters, and others are threatening service providers

>> Convergence of platforms and networks — companies are building Internet protocol into core and edge networks as well as a wide array of consumer devices, promising new ways of delivering consumer services

This market will reward creativity in service design and forethought while maintaining (and even increasing) the emphasis on customer service. Competition will come from new entrants and previously unseen market sectors, but service providers should be able to overcome and thrive in this environment. They have existing billing relationships with consumers, networks and platforms that provide better Quality of Service and other features, multiple touch points in the home, and existing relationships with content and application service providers.

CONNECTIONS™ sessions throughout its 2009 conference will analyze these advantages and how providers can best leverage these factors to build success. For one, current market conditions require service providers to transform into experience brokers, something new for them but a role that can develop naturally from the advantages cited previously.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does WebTV 2.0 Mean Convergence We Can Believe In?

Just when you’ve run out of room on your power strip, there’s another new Web-to-TV box coming to market. The New York Times reports that a new adapter coming to market later this quarter will enable consumers to make televisions fully Internet-enabled.

Over the past dozen years, there’s been no shortage of consumer devices for bringing all or part of the Web to television. But they’ve always been hobbled by a variety of factors: the conflicting nature of PC vs. TV displays; the frequency of PC software upgrades; the cost and perceived technical difficulty of integrating yet another box into the home entertainment system; and the inevitable cost pressures on consumer electronics manufacturers which often lead to devices with inadequate memory and processing power.

What consumers really want is not the Web on TV, but a Web-driven experience, complete with access to the vast catalog of video available on the Web and the personalization and rapid browsing the Web brings. They want an experience which fits seamlessly into the 10-foot viewing experience of television. They want immediacy and remote-control navigability. They want the same consumer-friendly approach that TV offers, including ease of set-up and an avoidance of PC plug-ins like Flash, Silverlight and others that need to be upgraded periodically to accommodate requirements of driven by personal computer users.

Ultimately, what consumers need is a Web-infused television experience that combines the choice and control of broadband with the quality, reliability, immediacy and remote control navigation of television not just the PC Web projected onto a larger screen. The Web-to-TV issue finally will be settled for good when we have mass deployments of services that are being deployed today in the United States and abroad. These services intelligently stream video from servers in the network to any set-top box or CE device in the home, giving consumers the optimal combination of Web and TV functionality.

It is hard to imagine why WebTV will enjoy greater success than its predecessor in its 2.0 encore tour through a store near you, later this quarter.

Parks Associates research finds 80% of broadband users in key European markets prefer traditional video viewing

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit examines impact of consumer preferences on future services--

Broadband has transformed video viewing habits in Western Europe, where over 20% of broadband households have watched a film or TV program online in the past six months, according to international research firm Parks Associates.

A new white paper, The Impact of Online Video in Europe, addresses these changes in viewing habits, a key area of focus at the upcoming CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, hosted by Parks Associates.

European consumers are adopting online viewing habits with some reluctance, however. The white paper reports that for all the countries surveyed, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, and France, over 80% of broadband households prefer a more traditional option for viewing video, including going to the cinema or watching a DVD. Many consumers are watching video online only because of the availability of free content, both legitimate and illegitimate.

It will be difficult for companies to sell video streams and downloads to consumers in Europe when there is this undercurrent of reluctance. Even if all piracy issues are resolved, the realities of consumer preferences could still undermine the service plans of content providers, if they don’t understand their customers.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, a one-day event held March 31 in Nice, France, focuses on new strategies for service and technology providers, media companies, and manufacturers in creating new entertainment and communications solutions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

HomeToys releases February/March 2009 Issue

Home Toys, a CONNECTIONS supporting media organization, released their February/March issue of Home Technology eMagazine.

To read these topics in depth, please click here to view this month's issue.

For more information about HomeToys, visit .

VUDU slashes prices

Vudu has cut the price of its set-top movie-on-demand box in half, to $149 (down from $299). In addition, the professional grade Vudu XL box drops to $499 (down from $999), and the "no-hassle wireless kit" drops to $79 (down from $99).

With a successful holiday season and lower component prices, Vudu can afford to drop theses prices and bring its products within consumers' reach. The VUDU Labs feature (streams web-based content directly to the box) has also been quite successful.

For more information, visit

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ericsson 's Connected Home Gateway enables remote access to multimedia devices

Ericsson will launch Connected Home Gateway software at Spain's Mobile World Congress later this month. Consumers can then use their mobile phone or laptops to interact with their computers, TVs and/or media players. This allows the sharing of photos and videos without even being home.

By being the main multimedia outlet, the Connected Home Gateway acts as a single service-delivery platform and allows remote management for service provisioning and maintenance. As a single point of entry for IPTV and other communication services, it creates a secure connection between the digital home network and the telecommunications network.

For more information, visit or

To read the full press release, click here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Imerge and HDGiants Partner to Deliver Enhanced Digital Entertainment Features

Imerge Set to Enhance Its Newly Launched MS1 MediaServer with Embedded HDGIANTS MediaStore™--

Imerge, the UK based pioneers of hard disc media servers, and HDGIANTS, the leading distributor of high definition entertainment directly into home theaters, announced plans to integrate the HDGiants' HD MediaStore™ into Imerge's new MS1 MediaServer video server resulting in a complete home media solution for customers seeking a premium entertainment experience.

Imerge is well known for its exceptional multimedia devices and its new MS1 Media Server is no exception. Key features of this system include 1080p video playback via HDMI, non-PC Audiophile-grade audio board with Wolfson Delta-Sigma 24 bit DACs, an improved XiVA link, comprehensive connectivity and supreme configuration. Additionally, the use of external XiVASafe storage solutions provides a near silent operating system.

And now, with an impressive flash-based GUI (graphical user interface) and the addition of the integrated HD MediaStore™, Imerge customers will have a convenient and easy way to purchase and download movies and music in the highest quality available directly into their MS1 MediaServer.
The HD MediaStore™ is a one-of-a-kind technology from HDGIANTS designed to deliver high quality content directly to consumers through its hardware partners' media server devices. It provides media server customers instant access to hundreds of top-rated movie titles, as well thousands of popular songs from major music labels. Purchasing, downloading and managing HD entertainment has never been easier.

For more information about HDGIANTS, visit

28% of Broadband Households in Western Europe watch online TV monthly

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit examines new opportunities in broadband, video services, digital media, CE ---

International research firm Parks Associates announced today the topics and preliminary list of speakers for CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, March 31, 2009, in Nice, France. This executive event addresses the new strategies for service and technology providers, media companies, and manufacturers in creating new entertainment and communications solutions.

Summit sessions include broadband and value-added services, the evolution of video services, digital media, connected CE, digital home services and customer support, and the future of consumer technologies.The agenda includes consumer and industry research on CE ownership and purchase intentions, interest in advanced television and video services, and digital entertainment habits, including attitudes toward content copying and piracy.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe features Roger Pitton, Program Director, TV Business, Microsoft Corporation, delivering the keynote “IPTV and the keys to keeping customers.” The event also features:

Michimasa Aramaki, Director, Industrial Standardization, HD-PLC Alliance
Thierry Boudard, IPTV Strategic Innovation Manager, Thomson
Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision
Mark Cavicchia, CEO & Founder, WhereverTV
Brian Donnelly, VP Marketing & Business Development, Icron
Margot Dor, Director of Strategy, ETSI
Paul Entwistle, Chief Technologist, Pace
Milan Erbes, Ambassador, HGI; Standardization & Business Development Manager, DS2
Gil Eyal, CEO, Enure Networks
Ed Forman, EVP, Products and Services, ActiveVideo Networks
Peter Galyas, CTO, Tilgin
Trevor Izsak, Director, Business and Market Development, Cloakware
Stefan Jenzowsky, CEO, moreTV Broadcasting GmbH
Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
Dr. Ulrich Leiner, Head of Department Interactive Media - Human Factors, Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, HHI
Dr. Anton Monk, CTO, MoCA; Co-Founder, Entropic Communications, Inc.
Trond Neergard, Vice President, Sales and General Manager, EMEA, Radialpoint
Dr. Randolph Nikutta, Head of Project Field "New Media", Deutsche Telekom AG, Laboratories
Frederic Onado, Vice President EMEA, HomePlug Powerline Alliance; COO, SPiDCOM Technologies
Eric Plesner, Director of Business Development, IO-Homecontrol
Eran Rom, CEO, Jungo
Micha Risling, VP of Marketing, Valens Semiconductor
Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia

Event sponsors include Advisory Sponsors Affinegy and Enure Networks and Supporting Sponsor HomeGrid Forum. CONNECTIONS™ Global Sponsors include ActiveVideo Networks, Affinegy, Cloakware, DSC, HD-PLC Alliance, Icron, Macrovision, MoCA™, ProVision Communications, Radialpoint, Telcordia, and Zilog.

For information, visit

HGI Adds Arcor to Growing Membership

The Home Gateway Initiative (HGI), the industry body representing players in the home networking space, announced the addition of Arcor to its operator members. As Germany’s second largest telecom operator, Arcor offers voice and broadband services over ISDN and IP networks to over three million users.

The current list of operators includes Belgacom, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Fastweb, France Telecom, KDDI, KPN, NTT, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telecom Slovenije, Telekomunikacja Polska, Telenor, TeliaSonera and Telstra. The main tasks of the HGI are to establish home gateway-related technical and interoperability specifications and provide input to standardisation bodies.

Other recent HGI members include Comtrend, a supplier of advanced networking solutions; D-Link, a manufacturer of communications solutions for the digital home and Small Office/Home Office (SOHO); Ikanos Communications, a provider of advanced broadband semiconductor and software products for the digital home; Mitsubishi Electric, a manufacturer of communications equipment; Sercomm, a developer of wireless and IP network products; and Soft At Home, a software company providing operating platforms for the digital home environment.

The HGI was founded and launched by nine telecom operators (Belgacom, BT, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, KPN, TeliaSonera, NTT, Telefonica and Telecom Italia) in 2004, and now has members from five continents, representing the spectrum of actors in the broadband home arena.

For further information, please visit

HGI is a supporting organization of the 2009 CONNECTIONS(TM) events.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Control4 Announces New Line of Home Energy Manager Products at Distributech

Control4 Corporation, a leader in affordable IP-based control and entertainment systems, announced a new line of Home Energy Manager products that will use the Control4® Operating System to provide a platform for consumers to connect their home to the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) being developed by the major utility companies worldwide.

Control4 is among the first companies to announce a complete solution for the home area network. The Control4® platform will provide programmable thermostat control, load disconnect measurement and control, and allow consumers the flexibility to add lighting control, pool/spa control, sprinkler control, and other features to their control system.

The Control4® Home Energy Manager will provide the utility industry with a practical, reliable and affordable platform for the home. Control4 is among the first companies to offer all of the critical pieces of technology for the home environment including a Home Area Network, an In-Home Display and a Smart Thermostat. The Control4® platform will let utility companies offer customers an intuitive interface that integrates usage analytics with software and hardware solutions for the home and that complements the utility’s load management software. Homeowners enjoy real-time information retrieval regarding their energy usage, greater energy savings and more control over their energy consumption.

The Control4® platform is based on standard technologies such as ZigBee, Wi-Fi and Ethernet to facilitate interoperability and integration between the Control4 platform and leading consumer electronic systems in the home, including temperature control, smart lighting, security, home theater, audio and video applications.

For additional information about Control4, visit .

CONNECTIONS welcomes Syabas as newest sponsor

Parks Associates welcomes Syabas Technology as a 2009 Emerging Technologies CONNECTIONS Sponsor.

Syabas Technology is a leading software and middleware solution provider for wired/wireless home entertainment networks (a.k.a. Digital Home) as well as Digital Signage applications. They focus on software and middleware development that enables users to access content such as HD (High Definition) & SD (Standard Definition) video, music, photo and services over a local network and the Internet, for purposes such as home entertainment or multimedia advertising. In addition, they emphasize on making solutions cost effective and tailored to the needs of clients.

For more information about Syabas, click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New white paper expose security risks within next-generation set-top boxes

Consumer demand for media-rich home entertainment services is driving innovation and new revenue opportunities in the set-top box (STB) industry. Next-generation STBs will integrate video content from multiple signal sources such as broadcast television, premium video-on-demand and Internet-based services, provide value-added capabilities like time-shifting, and allow content to be distributed to a variety of viewing devices including multi-room TV networks, personal computers, portable media players and other mobile devices.

Cloakware's latest whitepaper, Security Impacts of Next-Generation Set-Top Boxes, describes the market and technology trends that are influencing set-top box designs and explains how advanced features are creating new content security challenges for set-top box manufacturers. This paper is intended for product and business managers, security architects, development managers and other technical staff who are directly involved in the specification, design and development of advanced set-top boxes.

This white paper is available for download at: