HBO GO Thinks Inside The (Set-Top) Box

HBO GO, the popular multiscreen TV Everywhere service, could soon show up on cable set-top boxes in Europe after the premium programmer struck up a partnership with ActiveVideo, maker of a cloud-based platform that delivers apps and services to IP- and non-IP devices.

Under a partnership announced at the IBC show in Amsterdam, HBO Europe said it plans to bring HBO GO (its content and the interface) to set-tops, both young and old, using ActiveVideo’s CloudTV StreamCast platform.

Introduced in April, the new StreamCast component for ActiveVideo’s CloudTV converts user interfaces, video and other content from Web formats to versions that can be rendered and displayed by non-IP set-tops. That conversion and bridging process covers elements such as content protection and content delivery. As designed, the system delivers an MPEG/QAM or H.264 stream packed with the content as well as the UI.

HBO Europe, which operates in 14 territories in eastern and central Europe and the Netherlands, said it intends to bring HBO GO to full footprints of existing set-top boxes, targeting existing HBO GO affiliates.

HBO and ActiveVideo didn’t announce if any affiliates have agreed to jump on board, but Liberty Global’s UPC Hungary unit is the first announced MSO to deploy the CloudTV/StreamCast combo, using it to bring YouTube, Picasa, Flickr and other Internet-based apps to non-IP boxes. Ziggo of the Netherlands and Deutsche Telekom are among other MSOs in Europe that work with ActiveVideo.

“The marriage of libraries of the very best online content and the 10-foot viewing experience of television holds tremendous potential for pay-TV - online video collaboration,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of ActiveVideo, in a statement. “Virtualizing STB functionality in the cloud is the key to creating partnerships that can drive audience reach and content expansion for the benefit of both parties.”

In the run-up to IBC, ActiveVideo also announced that it has become a licensee of the Reference Design Kit (RDK), and has boosted the scaling capabilities of its “virtual” set-top architecture by supporting off-the-shelf network servers outfitted with Intel’s new Quick Sync Video technology.