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Cloud TV platform looks for content providers

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Seemahale Telecoms has a platform to make cloud TV a reality for South Africans.

The telco is the first African company to win the rights to deliver Nangu TV, an interactive TV solution, to operators in the region.

However, Seemahale is still entangled in discussions with various content providers to secure viewing content, which will then be disseminated into various offerings for potential subscribers.

Once a user has subscribed to a service provider, they will be able to view TV anywhere at anytime, the company says.

According to Seemahale Telecoms chairman Dr Thabo Lehlokoe, there is no need for additional devices to receive Nangu TV content. “If your smartphone, tablet or PC has the capacity to browse the Internet, then you have access to IPTV.”

Czech Republic-based Alnair AS appointed Seemahale Telecoms as a reseller of its Nangu TV solution to the African market.

Nangu TV is operational in over 20 European countries. It gives subscribers access to both live TV and non-linear TV features, including pause TV, start over TV, catch-up TV and video on demand services on various devices.

According to Lehlokoe, service providers operating on the Nangu TV platform will be able to offer the platform via a wholesale model once a content provider has been secured.

This will allow other operators, including ISPs, to deliver a fully-branded service to existing clients.

ISPs will also be able to run a complete portfolio of multimedia services within Nangu TV's network.

This means viewers will be able to watch TV anywhere at anytime without purchasing additional devices.

“We are living in the age of cloud computing and cloud services. With support for over the top (OTT) delivery, Nangu TV is well-suited for building cloud TV services. This will help democratise television services in SA and the rest of the continent,” he notes.

TV anywhere, anytime

Using Verimatrix, a content-securing download app will be sent to a user's device once they have registered as subscribers with a distributor of the Nangu TV offering, he explains. “This app allows the subscriber to have access to TV anywhere at anytime.”

Lehlokoe says bringing Nangu TV to SA and the continent as a whole provides different avenues for different players to provide TV services, and will result in a boom for ADSL and wireless connectivity providers.

Cloud TV stands to revolutionise the manner in which pay-TV operates within SA, especially because no additional devices are required to view content, he adds.

“This service will increase data consumption and also increase the demand for more bandwidth,” notes Lehlokoe.

Bandwidth worries

Roman Hogh, head of technology, strategy and development at MWeb Business, believes SA has adequate bandwidth to handle increased data consumption and bandwidth demand that comes with IPTV.

“Putting brakes on evolution and development because of perceptions that there might be insufficient bandwidth at any given time is short-sighted because when there is increased demand for bandwidth, the supporting infrastructure is upgraded or evolved to higher specifications, which usually goes quite smoothly,” Hogh points out.

In a market economy, he adds, it is not possible to determine when and where demand will originate.

“The result is that there will be times when there is a shortfall of available bandwidth. Matching demand to availability is not an exact science and telcos may sometimes be caught off guard,” Hogh explains.

Further, he says, what is required is a way to improve planning and speed up the processes involved in infrastructure enhancements.

Howard Earley, COO of Plessey, echoes these sentiments, saying the ongoing roll-out of terrestrial fibre networks will more than compensate for the increased data consumption which will arise from the introduction of broadband services like IPTV.

Earley adds that in the short- to medium-term, data speeds will improve as more bandwidth becomes available.

Lehlokoe explains: “As an authorised reseller of this solution, we are now poised to start liberating the airwaves with cloud TV services because now even ISPs can provide OTT video services without actually owning the infrastructure used to do so and, at the same time, the platform owner becomes a wholesaler of this content and services.”

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