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NOS Rolls RDK-Based Hybrid Platform in Portugal

Amping up competition with traditional MVPDs and new over-the-top rivals, NOS, a primary cable operator in Portugal, has launched a premium video platform that supports 4K video and a cloud interface that is underpinned by the Reference Design Kit (RDK), the preintegrated software platform for IP-capable set-tops and gateways that’s managed by Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications (via the latter's recent aquisition of Time Warner Cable).

NOS, which has more than 1.5 million video subs, is implementing Espial’s G4 set-top box cleint, a 4K hybrid IP box from Arris (the ZD4500) that runs the Broadcom 7251S chipset, Nagra’s anyCAST Connect content protection platform, and Nuance’s Dragon TV voice navigation system. Espial also handled the system integration for the new platform.

Espial said the offering, which lets NOS users personalize the experience down to the individual viewer, marks Europe’s first deployemnt of the RDK 2.1 environment, and enables the integration of live, VOD, OTT, catch-up and cloud DVR content via a unifed interface.

Among traditional competitors, NOS will use the new premium service to tangle with Portugal Telecom, the Altice-owned telco, and Vodafone. NOS is also seeing increased pressure from Netflix, which launched service in that country last fall.

“Our true competition is starting to appear through the Internet, through the web offers of players like Netflix, and we needed to be prepared,” Pedro Bandiera, head of development at NOS, explained in this video about the rollout, which also explores some of the personalized recommendations supported by the service, its integrated voice navigation system, and a fast channel-change (300 milliseconds) capability.   

NOS, which also offers a satellite TV service in areas where it doesn’t run a service on an HFC network, is booting up consumer marketing around the new premium offering during the weekend, and is making a more formal announcement about it today.

NOS will also offer a growing mix of 4K fare that includes rights to several matches from the 2016 UEFA European Championship and coverage of the NOS Alive music and arts festival.

NOS’s deployment is a signficant win for the RDK, which continues to seek adoption by pay TV providers around the globe, announcing in May that more than 15 million devices are now running the platform and that its membership has pushed past 275 companies, a group that includes more than 25 pay TV operators.

Espial, an Ottawa-based company that introduced its G4 set-top client in May 2015, is also working closely with Tele Columbus, a German MSO that is developing a new platform that will also be powered by the RDK. Tele Columbus conducted a field trial earlier thisyear and expects to launch its new platform commercially later this year.

“We absolutely have seen an increased level of interest from operators” in the RDK and G4, including in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, Jeff Huppertz, Espial’s vice president of marketing and business development, said, noting that the company generated significant interest in those technologies during the recent INTX show in Boston.

“We congratulate the exceptional work of NOS and Espial,” Steve Heeb, president and general manager of RDK Management, in a statement. “NOS’ deployment of the RDK software framework allows everyone to focus more of their efforts on developing the kinds of compelling consumer-facing applications and user experience showcased by this deployment.”