Orange to stick with set-top boxes

November 7, 2013 09.15 Europe/London By by Robert Briel, IPTV Seminar, Amsterdam

Orange reception“The set-top box is still the preferred the device in the living room [for Orange],” said Erwan Nedellec, senior expert on TV services, Orange.

Although Orange has been very active in getting its services directly to smart TVs and connected devices, Nedellec says the process hasn’t always been smooth sailing

“We work on the same ecosystem, but we come from different planets. The telco’s goal is to keep STBs in the field as long as they can, while the CE manufacturers’ goal is to sell as many TVs as they can.”

Orange has launched its live streaming directly to XBox 360 Live (April 2012), Samsung (February 2013), and LG (July 2013). VOD is now also available on XBox (April 2013) and Samsung (July 2013)

“Our experience has been positive in many ways. There are innovative devices, we have a good relationship with partners, constructive exchanges, and there are co-marketing opportunities. But we also identified several topics thet we must improve together.”

Problem with smart TVs is the fact that the development cycle is different from that of the telco’s ecosystem. Every CE manufacturer has between two and four different platforms and also has several firmware versions in the field.

At Orange “we have reference of all possible configurations of our ecosystem; this is not possible with CE devices, so it is very hard for our hotlines and technicians to help our customers when they call us with problems.”

So Orange will stick with STBs for the time being “Yes, STBs represents an important part of the capex, but relying on CE devices include costs side effects as well.”

So for the telcos “it is crucial to use technologhies used by the whole ecosystem and avoid specific developments.” For CE manufacturers “there is a mismatch between develoipment lifecycle of services, sand the development of smart TVs.”