Conax to provide solution for live OTT

Conax is planning to target pay TV operators that want to launch live OTT services with a new product later this summer.

The content security provider will in August launch a ‘live TV app’, enabling operators to launch a live service for multple devices, along with OTT Access, a new, basic security solution that is designed to enable the secure delivery of mostly free-to-air live content to multiple devices.

Pricing for Conax OTT Access will be revealed at CommunicAsia and the product will be launched in August. The product is described by Conax as a SDK supporting live TV and VoD, providing individualisation, authentication and secure playback . OTT Access works with standardised HLS adaptive streaming, with AES encryption, and supports delivery to devices based on iOS 6.0 and Android 4.0 and above. The product is fully interchangeable with the Conax-hardended PlayReady client, enabling migration later on, according to Tom Jahr, EVP, products and services, Conax.

OTT Access does not include DRM functionality but makes sure content is securely delivered to multiple devices, by providing authentication and secure delivery of keys. “That is what people are looking for today,” said Jahr at ANGA COM in Cologne.

“Our operators want to launch basic live channels on tablets and smartphones – either FTA or public channels. When you need pay TV you can migrate to Conax-hardened PlayReady,” he said.

Jahr said that, by and large, content owners are not demanding full DRM for live TV, but platform owners want to make sure that only their customers get access to the content they provide for multiple devices.

The TV app will be provided as an additional basic UI to allow viewers to perform basic functions such as channel change, enabling operators to then use the OTT Access product quickly, without the need to invest in their own OTT user experience.

“At some stage in time the security requirements for DRM will increase signficantly,” said Jahr. To make the investment worthwhile, online video providers will offer new services like network DVR. However, there is relatively little sign of money being made from investment in online video so far, he said.

Also speaking at Conax’s ANGA COM press event, CEO Morten Solbakken filled in some details on the company’s recent acquisition by Kudelski, owner of rival conditional access provider Nagra.

Solbakken said he had been searching for a new owner for Conax for over a year. “Telenor has been an excellent owner of Conax but it was time to look at how we could grow the company beyond the scope of what Telenor was enabling us to do.”

He said Kudelski was an ideal candidate to fill the role because it is “an industrial owner” with a different client base and because there is space for each to contribute to the other’s porfolio of products.

Kudelski has committed to run Conax as a separate entity in the near term. In the long run technologies will converge, said Solbakken. However, he said, “in the short to medium term NK has seen that we have strengths in serving relatively smaller customers with standardised scalable solutions.”

Conax has previously forged alliances with middleware providers including Cubiware, while Nagra is integrated with the former OpenTV.

Conax launched Conax Connect partnership programme at the last IBC and has started discussion with OpenTV to include it in that programme, said Solbakken. He said OpenTV is different from Conax’s existing middleware partners and that the solutions offered by OpenTV and Conax’s existing middleware partners are complementary. “From a group perspective, when we have something we can put to market together we will do that. If there is something else that will fulfil the needs of our customers we can do that as well,” he said.

Solbakken reiterated that Conax will continue to be run as Conax within the Kudelski group. While there will be coordination between the pair’s respective sales forces, there is no current plan to merge those, he said.

In terms of product lines, Conax will likely source secure-client solutions from Nagra if that makes sense, said Solbakken. He said that while Conax has historically not been strong in IP video, access to Nagra’s solutions “will give us something to plug that hole pretty quickly”.

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