Cablevision Taps Humax, Samsung for Next-Gen Box

Cablevision Systems has selected Humax and Samsung to develop a next-gen “Future Services Portal” set-top that will utilize HTML5 and an array of cloud-based services and applications, multiple industry sources tell Multichannel News.

Sources said Cablevision selected the vendors following an request for proposal issued last year, and that Cablevision expects to begin deploying the new class of devices sometime in 2014. Future Services Portal is believed to be an internal label designated by the MSO, and not a consumer-facing brand.

Full specs on the new box were not immediately known, but the device will not house internal DVR storage, as it will instead hook up to DVR Plus, Cablevision’s network-based, remote-storage DVR. One source said the new class of box will utilize Cablevision’s downloadable security system but will not house the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP), the CableLabs-specified middleware platform that’s also known as tru2way.

The boxes are also expected to support a new, graphical, cloud-based user interface that will share some of the traits, look and feel of the interfaces Cablevision has developed for IP-connected devices such as the iPad.

That meshes with a trend seen among other major U.S. cable operators – Comcast’s next-gen X1 video platform uses a cloud-based UI, as will its coming “X2” upgrade. Time Warner Cable is also testing a cloud-based UI ahead of a broad, national deployment expected to get underway in 2014. 

Cablevision said in a statement that it is “working on a next generation box and other initiatives that will leverage the power of our entire network, but we have nothing to announce at this time.” The MSO did not comment on vendor selections or device specifications.

But the operator has already indicated that it’s a fan of HTML5.

“Cablevision is committed to providing the highest-quality TV, phone and Internet service and HTML5 will help us to further enhance the television user experience across devices,” Cablevision EVP of corporate engineering and technology Yvette Kanouff said in a statement issued in June, when ActiveVideo announced upgrades to its HTML5-capable CloudTV H5 platform. 

Cablevision uses ActiveVideo’s cloud-based system to deliver interactive apps to the set-top box.

The value of the set-top deal isn’t known, but it should solidify Samsung’s existing position at Cablevision and represent another significant U.S. cable win for Humax, which recently won a deal to make the Xi3, an all-IP based HD client device that will support Comcast’s X2 platform and a Cloud DVR service that the MSO is testing in Boston and Philadelphia.

Cablevision’s other set-top supplier is Cisco Systems, which led the market with a 16% cut of global revenues in the category in the first quarter of 2013, according to Infonetics.