World Premiere: Ziggo's fully cloud-based interactive DVB-C TV service

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 
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Even non-interactive devices become interactive

Ziggo today launched the first fully cloud-based interactive DVB-C TV service in the world. By combining IP protocol use with the DVB-C television standard, even devices without in-built hardware functionality for interactivity can now make use of interactive services via cable. Until now, clients who wanted to make use of interactive services such as Video on Demand or TV Gemist had to have a special and relatively expensive digital receiver at their disposal. Now, a reasonably simple and cheap digital receiver will suffice for the newly-introduced service.

The first to make use of the new interactive service will be thousands of users of Humax (5100, 5200 and 5300) and Samsung (7140A, 7140B) digital receivers. Ziggo will extend the number of devices in due course because it wants as many of its clients as possible to be able to make use of its interactive services. With the introduction of this fully cloud-based solution, Ziggo will increase the number of its potential interactive customers by more than hundred thousand.

Apply via the Internet and watch via DVB-C HD

The new Ziggo service combines the strengths of the DVB-C High Definition cable TV network and the capabilities of the Internet. The interactivity is provided by the Internet, while the actual watching takes place in the usual way, via the HD DVB-C signal. This way, Ziggo does not depend on the IP network at the customer’s home for its video quality, like its competitors do.

This new development sees Ziggo migrating the complexity (the logic) and the graphic user interface (GUI) of interactive receivers to its own network, the “Cloud”. The company has, as it were, managed to integrate a large-scale “virtual set-top box” in its network, making interactive functionality available to all sorts of relatively simple peripherals. The virtual set-top box assesses every action taken by the user – i.e. pressing the buttons on their remote controls – and subsequently addresses the relevant network equipment to execute the command, such as starting a film going to a TV catch up item.

Ziggo has also migrated the GUI that is required for this interactive service to its network. The GUI, which is based on HTML5, is streamed to the user over the DVB-C network via a “temporary personal TV channel.

“The cloud-based nature of the service makes it possible to render several different devices interactive, while at the same time adapting the GUI with extremely short lead times in a very flexible way, without needing software updates to the peripherals – as is the case with our current Cisco interactive receivers.