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Espial Swings Deal for Arris’s Whole Home Solution

Espial, a Canada-based company that specializes in multiscreen video interfaces and software clients, is deepening its IP video expertise and adding hosted cloud video capabilities via a deal to acquire Arris’s Whole Home Solution (WHS), a multi-room video and apps platform that supports traditional TV services as well as over-the-top content.

Financial terms were not announced, but the deal includes WHS’s infrastructure, client and server software products, a development and operations team primarily located in Kirkland, Wash., and a network operations center and two WHS cloud data center operations.

Update: During a conference call about the deal, Espial execs emphasized that it will enable it to push a strategy centered on a video-as-a-service platform rather than on hardware and set-top boxes. Notably, Arris will continue to provide media gateways, set-top boxes, support and solution deliver for the Whole Home Solution. 

Arris’s WHS was spawned by its $20 million acquisition of the Digeo set-top and software business from Paul Allen in 2009, and later extended a bridge to third party apps through what it called the “Arris Market.”  Examples of MSOs that have deployed Arris’s WHS include Shaw Communications, WideOpenWest, Buckeye CableSystem, EastLink, Comporium, Consolidated Communications and Service Electric Cable TV.

Espial said it will support current roadmaps, and look to accelerate future product roadmaps, for more than 40 service providers that use WHS in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

They expect to close the deal in Q3 2016. After which, Arris said it will continue to work with Espial to support WHS with join integration and co-marketing activities. They also intend to establish a reseller agreement, noting that they worked together on the development of a 4K-capable platform launched this month by Portugal-based cable operator NOS that relies on the Reference Design Kit (RDK), a preintegrated software stack being managed by Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications (via Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable).

Arris’s sale of the WHS product line and associated assets comes more than six months after it acquired U.K.-based set-top maker Pace plc. Arris acquired Motorola Home in April 2013.

“WHS expands our solution portfolio with a cloud-hosted Video-as-a-Service platform that is complimentary to and will leverage Espial’s current solutions for next-generation IP video services,” Jaison Dolvane, Espial’s CEO, said in a statement.

“Combining the WHS technology and ARRIS team with Espial will broaden the capability of the overall organization and accelerate the pace of innovation,” added Bruce McClelland, president of Arris’s Network & Cloud and Global Services unit. “ARRIS will continue to focus our R&D investment on the greater broadband and video ecosystem, dedicated to enabling next-gen entertainment and communication experiences that are connected and personalized.

“We’re excited about the future of the WHS solution and look forward to working with Espial and ARRIS to enhance it further,” Cash Hagen, WOW’s CTO, said. 

Notably, WOW has begun to deploy a new hybrid QAM/IP platform in partnership with Evolution Digital and TiVo for a service called “SW!VEL” that includes the broadcast basic channels and integrated OTT apps. WOW is using that product to target a segment of the market that wants a slimmed down pay TV package, while continuing to market its full-freight HD-DVR offering with the Arris Whole Home Solution, which also supports integrated OTT apps.