Relief is in sight for two systemic problems faced by service providers. One gives a new lease on life for existing IPTV set-top boxes. The other helps smooth the way for a much more reliable operator Wi-Fi solution.
Leveraging the STB to improve Wi-Fi
30% of support calls service providers receive from customers stem from, or are directly related to, home Wi-Fi problems. Understandably, controlling the cost of Wi-Fi related calls is of the highest priority to operators.
Mesh home Wi-Fi products look very promising as solutions to this problem. An operator can deploy as many access points (APs) as needed in a customer’s home to make sure there is complete coverage. These flexible APs work together to make sure devices in the home are always routed through the fastest wireless path available.
A new agreement between AirTies and Broadcom could reduce the operator’s cost of deploying a Wi-Fi mesh solution. Going forward, all of Broadcom’s wireless platforms for video decoding customer premises equipment (which are used to build residential gateways and set-top boxes) will come with AirTies’ Wi-Fi mesh compatibility built in.
This is important, because it could save the operator the cost of an extra mesh AP when deploying an AirTies mesh Wi-Fi solution. If a customer already has an STB or gateway deployed in the home with the new Broadcom chipsets, that device can act as an extra mesh AP. Since Broadcom is also adding AirTies support to DOCSIS, DSL, GPON, and router platforms, these devices can also be used as an AP in a mesh Wi-Fi network.
Don’t replace that IPTV STB, upcycle it!
Pay TV operators are facing a difficult problem. They are desperately in need of a modern, graphics rich user interface for their TV service to compete with SVOD and vMVPD services. However, the cost or replacing all those old set-top boxes is prohibitively expensive. In many cases, those costs can easily reach $500 or more per set-top box.
This morning, Amino introduced a new virtual set-top box software solution that the company says solves this problem. The software product is called Enable and has been shipping as part of Amino’s View solution for over a decade. Enable can be installed onto legacy IPTV set-top boxes, and is also compatible with a range of new devices from makers such as ZTE, Samsung, Hybroad, and Xavi. The product also works with a range of software integrations including CA, DRM and media management.
Amino Enable is already deployed with Cincinnati Bell and PCCW in Hong Kong. These, and other, early adopters already show how effective upcycling existing set-top boxes can be. The ability to deploy advanced user interfaces is proving an effective churn reducer. What’s more, Amino says some operators have seen a 200% growth in subscribers after deployment.
Amino says operators upgrading existing STBs have saved 80% or more over replacing them. As well, the virtual STB approach takes a quarter of the time to deploy. This time saving is important since pay TV subscriber losses seem to have taken a sudden turn for the worse.
Operators need to work hard to contain costs and reverse flagging subscriber numbers if they are to remain competitive. Solutions like Amino Enable and AirTies mesh Wi-Fi could be very helpful in achieving that goal.
Why it matters
Operators need to find a way to reduce the huge costs of Wi-Fi support.
Modernizing interfaces and capabilities of existing set-top boxes helps retain subscribers without incurring huge capital costs.
Solutions are appearing to address both these issues for service providers.
They are needed to help keep provider services competitive.