“UPC Hungary has stated that the hardware cost of the service is ‘a very small addition,’ less than 1 Euro per set-top box.”
Liberty Global’s UPC Hungary system became the first pay-TV operator to bring online video to existing set-top boxes at scale, virtualizing set-top box functionality to deliver the full YouTube user experience without the cost or time-to-market of deploying new, high-end STBs in customers’ homes.
Using the cloud, UPC Hungary overcame the three technological obstacles that had barred online video from pay-TV: the inability of existing STBs to render rich, online video user interfaces; the incompatibility of online video and pay-TV content protection formats; and pay-TV STBs’ need for video to be delivered as MPEG-2 or H.264, rather than as adjustable bitrate streams.
UPC Hungary is using ActiveVideo’s CloudTV™ StreamCast platform to render the existing YouTube Leanback interface, conduct media manipulation and combine the UI and the online video into a single video stream – all in the cloud. The stream is delivered with full interactivity as a managed network channel to UPC Hungary STBs.
Available at launch to more than 200,000 STBs, the service grew by 150% in nine months, to more than 500,000 STBs. Usage has far exceeded UPC Hungary’s expectations, including: millions of minutes per day of YouTube content streamed; 68% initial usage, 83% repeat usage; and average engagement that has surpassed 45 minutes per session.