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Tele Columbus unveils advanced TV service

Tele Columbus CEO and chairman, Ronny Verhelst.

Tele Columbus CEO and chairman, Ronny Verhelst.

Germany’s number three cable operator Tele Columbus has unveiled its new advanced TV service ahead of a commercial launch of the service in January.

The service, called simply advanceTV, is based on the Comcast-driven RDK platform. Espial provided the user experience and acted as lead integrator. Cisco provides conditional access technology, with Verimatrix providing DRM for on-demand services. VOD encoding and origin server are supplied by Elemental, while set-top boxes are being provided by Humax.

The 4K UHD TV-enabled IP video service will include integrated access to ProSiebenSAT.1’s SVOD service Maxdome. This will be offered as part of two bundles – HD Maxdome Plus and Maxdome Flat.

In addition to Maxdome, advanceTV will provide DVR, a set of web apps and multiscreen access.

Speaking to Digital TV Europe ahead of the launch, Jeff Huppertz, vice-president of marketing and business development at Espial, said that the service would include a simple user-friendly interface that will enable users to navigate direct to recordings as well as sarch for content online and on Tele Columbus’s managed VOD platform.

Huppertz said that one challenging aspect of Tele Columbus’s implementation of advanced TV services was that a number of parts of its network in eastern Germany are still being upgraded.

“We had to, as Espial and other technology providers, to design in the capability to work well in one way networks,” said Huppertz. He said that Espial had added enhancements to RDK, which was designed with two-way networks in mind, to enable data carousel delivery of services.

Huppertz said that future customers of RDK would be able to take advantage of these enhancements.

The service is multiscreen-enabled, with the box acting as a gateway. Espial developed and provided the client software for Android and iOS devices.

The app store, supplied in partnership with Metrological, will will include Vimeo, Flickr, DailyMotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, wetter.com, Deezer, TuneIn and Deutsche Welle among other services from launch.

The Humax-supplied set-top, in addition to being 4K UHD-enabled, comes with four integrated tuners and a 1TB hard drive. Up to two devices can be served with streams by the box at the same time.

Tele Columbus is deploying the service across the Primacom and Pepcom networks it acquired over the last couple of years as well as its own network.

“Our strategy is to deliver an unsurpassed video experience to German subscribers. We see the fragmentation OTT services are driving into the marketplace and resolved to provide a compelling one-stop shop for the widest range of content available to any cable connection in Germany: 4K TV, VOD, Maxdome SVOD, a rich universe of web apps, and timeshift viewing via an integrated DVR,” said Ronny Verhelst, CEO of Tele Columbus Group.

“Espial has proven to be an exceptional integration and solution partner, and we’re excited to deploy advanceTV beginning next month.”