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Netgem uses partner Monaco Telecom to test new tablet TV architecture

Netgem has lined up Monaco Telecom to be the first to try out its new generation of home gateways that it is pushing under the heading of a home multi


Published: 7 July, 2011


Netgem has lined up Monaco Telecom to be the first to try out its new generation of home gateways that it is pushing under the heading of a home multimedia cloud. In a very similar way to the way that Motorola launched its Televation and its home video gateway, the DCX3600M, announced two weeks ago, Netgem is taking TV both from tuned and encrypted services such as DTH and cable TV, as well as over the internet. Both are delivered in aWiFi stream to tablets.

This has always been our preferred way forward at Faultline because when you watch the TV, you want to watch the TV, not watch the highlights which run 30 minutes behind or see clips, and may operators would only slowly move to offering full TV channel content from a cloud server, to play on Tablets.

For instance when conditional access firm NDS came up with its own Service Delivery Platform (SDP) back in March, it relied on a strategy which allows for offering additional content on a tablet to a TV program. But in order to sync the tablet with the TV programming, the system has to swap data from the playout servers on the live TV system, with the cloud server, just so it knows which TV is watching which program in the home. NDS says it is just as open to offering tuned services around the home, but so far has not come up with any instances of this.

The Netgem approach is almost identical to the Motorola one, with a home gateway being created for the cable system of Monaco Telecom, which at present only tunes two programs, one for the TV set and another for a tablet (or two tablets or two TV sets), and which doesn’t yet go through a transcoding stage to downsize the screen resolution or recode into H.264, as the Motorola box promises to do. “Both of these steps are on our roadmap,” said Yann Courqueux, chief marketing officer for Netgem, “as well as generating an HTTPS adaptive stream within the home, which will need a more powerful processor.”

The new platform for Monaco Telecom uses a mid-range Sigma Designs set top chip, says Courqueux, to demonstrate that you don’t have to pay top dollar for these types of applications.

Another difference between the two systems is that the conditional access is used to decrypt the tuned cable signal and then it is protected using DTCP-IP and sent as an HTTPS (HTTP secure) stream, which uses Secure Sockets layer for protection. In future implementations it can also be used with a domain aware DRM such as Microsoft’s PlayReady. This is seen by Netgem as secure enough to hold commercial content even though the receiving player is a software only application with no extra hardware support. So far this has been implemented in iOS and versions for Android and Connected TVs are planned.

“But the important thing,” says Courqueux, “is the way non-commercial content on phones and PCs and tablets, as well as tuned pay TV services as well as cloud based VoD over the internet, are all merged into a single user experience where no-one would know the difference in how each type of content is being treated.” This is easier to say than to actually achieve, but we certainly agree with the sentiments. Netgem says that it effectively creates a multimedia “cloud” within the home,

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