MRG Client side MW 2014This report by Steven Hawley of tvstrategies, a contributing analyst for Multimedia Research Group (MRG, an SNL Kagan company), provides an in-depth examination, category analysis and global forecast for client-side TV software solutions that are implemented with TV set-top boxes and home media (video) gateways (also known as IP gateways or home media servers). It also provides a comprehensive and in-depth resource for operators in the process of implementing new services, or to those updating their existing service platforms.

The report identifies client-side software, application development, device, and technical standards environments. An overview of software pricing practices, pricing models and additional costs is also included. The report also identifies and evaluates consumer, service model, and technology trends; as well as the opportunities and threats associated with this solution category. The report concludes by making recommendations for service providers, as well as for software developers in the category.

This report evaluates eleven vendors, and how well they rise to the challenges of new multiscreen service models and evolving technologies. It also provides company snapshots and detailed tables with facts about these vendors and their solutions, including their product ranges, the regions in which they operate, key customers, more than 150 features and use cases supported (or not supported) by their solutions, device support, and vendor partnerships.To accommodate today’s ‘any content to any device, anytime, anywhere’ consumer expectations, the software that enables TV services has had to evolve rapidly. While set-top box delivery was once sufficient, recent multiscreen TV service models have prompted a dramatic diversification of consumer-side form-factors. A discrete set of target device types and software environments has become well defined.

Time-to-market concerns have moved software vendors away from proprietary solutions that take months to port to every new device.  Client-side technical standards like Java, HTML5 and DLNA, region-specific hybrid standards like HbbTV, and YouView, and vendor-driven standards like the Comcast RDK (which, in turn, incorporates several standardized components), are all intended to create a predictable and consistent basis on top of which software developers can provide “write once, run anywhere” applications. De-facto-standard mobile device environments like iOS and Android also help.

It isn’t all quite plug-and-play yet, but the vendor community has embraced the standards, despite the initially perceived risk that standards could reduce their solutions to commodity status (they haven’t).

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