Vewd Can Co-Exist with Android TV

Vewd has a new product manager, Sascha Prüter, who is from Google, where he was head of product for Android TV, so he has a very good sense of the strength of his opposition. Having said that, he confirmed to us that although Vewd has a full OS and everything up to the UI and an apps store with more than 1,000 apps. As he emphasised, Vewd is more than just a browser for Smart TVs (it was originally the TV group of Opera). The company is actually able to supply not only the client side, but can also support the operator side of the business. As well as working on client devices, the company can create the UI in the cloud and send it down to the set where it can be combined with video content. This is in contrast to others that offer cloud-based UIs, where everything (cloud and content) has to be sent from the cloud (and which causes issues with the cost and scale of the CDNs needed). The new product is called Vewd Atom and the client-side requirements are very light.

Vewd is flexible in how it licenses its technology with no necessity for a company to sign up to ‘everything’ and potential clients can ‘pick and mix’ (our phrase) different parts of the Vewd product range.

Features that it has that might be useful include support for HbbTV and also for FreeView Play, which is essential for retailers to accept products in the UK. The lack of support for FreeView Play is a barrier to Android TV in that country. At IFA, TCL told us that the lack of the feature is why it doesn’t ship Android TV in the UK. We asked Google about this and initially we heard that there are issues, but then, thinking about saying this out loud to the press, the company tried to back track to say that things weren’t that clear.

Vewd Go is a reference design developed by the firm with HiSilicon and allowing the creation of low cost or dongle-based OTT STBs. Although the company claims a low capex service, it can support FullHD or UltraHD. The hardware has been optimised for ‘skinny bundles’.

Vewd can work on top of Android. Image:Meko

At the show, Tivù, the company that manages Italy’s free-to-view satellite TV platform, tivùsat, has become the world’s first operator to deploy an HbbTV Operator App (OpApp) together with Vewd. Tivùon, Tivù’s OpApp, creates a virtual set-top box with the operator’s own UI and applications and is intended to offer a more engaging and branded user experience.

Vewd supplied Vewd Core, the most-chosen HTML5 SDK for connected TV devices, and three Vewd Core modules: the HbbTV module, newly released Operator Applications module and industry-leading Media Player module. The Media Player module enables OTT video playback in the tivùon app and leverages modern streaming and DRM technologies, such as MPEG-DASH (DVB-DASH), and Marlin DRM.