Video Mobilizes

Sigma Designs and Quantenna today announced a set top box design with 4×4 MIMO Wi-Fi and Sigma’s SMP8652 media processor. This new design gives Sigma a full suite of solutions for STB manufacturers, and Quantenna a new solution with one of the biggest names in the STB business.

A full-11n 4×4 MIMO system with dynamic digital beamforming and MIMO receiver supports two maximum-rate data streams, 99 percent of the time. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard operates at 5GHz and is capable of speeds beyond 1Gbps — more than double the throughput of today’s fastest 3×3 802.11n products. 802.11ac components have also been announced from companies like Redpine and Broadcom. Most aren’t expected to be available until the later half of 2012.

In other video-related news, Roku, a maker of competitively priced set-top boxes that stream Web video on TVs, unveiled its Roku Streaming Stick, a flash-drive-sized dongle that plugs into the back of television sets to enable the same streaming capabilities as a Roku box.

The connected TV category is forecast to grow at a 30 percent compound annual rate between now and 2014 — up to more than 123 million shipments, according to a report from DisplaySearch earlier this year.

TiVo announced yesterday it has settled with AT&T, which TiVo had sued for patent infringement. Under the settlement, AT&T agreed to pay TiVo an initial sum of $51M, and additional, quarterly payments that will total $164M through June 2018.

Netflix’s 20M members streamed 2B hours in Q4 of 2011. The company is down from 25M+ streaming subscribers, but poised for growth again in 2012, says C/Net, and is investing in original content. Meanwhile, Google-owned YouTube, has recently put $100 million toward providing original content and in the coming months will be rolling out 100 channels created by the likes of Reuters.com, WWE Fan Nation, The Wall Street Journal, Bleacher Report and American Hipster.

In mobile video news, Dallas-based MetroPCS, the fifth-largest cellphone company in the U.S. with 9.1 million subscribers, is the first cellphone company to announce plans for a phone that can tune in to live, local TV broadcasts.

The capability will be part of a Samsung smartphone coming this year. It will use the mobile television standard adopted by local television broadcasters. Qualcomm’s MediaFLO, a competing system, was shut down a couple years ago and their frequencies sold to AT&T for LTE service using carrier aggregation.

The Samsung phones will receive special “Mobile DTV” signals broadcast by 72 stations in 32 cities. However, NBC and Fox will be encrypting their signals so they can only be received by the phone app that will be on the Samsung phone, according to Salil Dalvi, co-head of the Mobile Content Venture, which organizes the TV stations using Mobile DTV technology.

Typically ATSC-M/H service in the United States will offer two to three program channels. Some 4.4 Mbps may be allocated for the MPH stream, leaving approximately 15 Mbps for the main ATSC television programming. ATSC-M/H and the defunct MediaFLO require a special phone with a tv tuner. MobiTV, available from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, uses cellular channels. It costs about $15/month and may work with your current phone.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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