DAILY NEWS Nov 20, 2012 12:25 PM - 0 comments

Eastlink Offers TV on the Go, Phone Service Coming

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Halifax-based Eastlink is launching a new ‘TV anywhere’ mobile video platform, and it will offer live and on-demand programming to its digital cable customers on the new service, dubbed Eastlink to Go.

The service targets Internet-connected devices, such as PCs and laptops, smartphones and tablets, among others.

Eastlink currently offers cable, Internet and home phone services, but it is not a mobile solution provider at this point.

But that will soon change – Eastlink is close to making a cellular announcement as well, said company CEO Lee Bragg during an online press event announcing the new video platform, and it will also provide Wi-Fi going forward.

Eastlink’s website indicates that the mobile phone service will start ‘in 2012’ in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; the company has also purchased spectrum in parts of northern Ontario and Alberta.

Eastlink is working with Cisco Systems on its new mobile video offering, and it will use Cisco’s Videoscape platform, a suite of tools that delivers digital media content across multiple screens, multiple protocols, multiple applications and multiple networks.

Described as an ‘end-to-end’ solution, the IP based network extends from source media ingestion through play-out, with encoding, asset management, authorization, and security and other content delivery tools available.

The adaptive bit rate system adjusts video delivery based on target device and available network connection, said Mark Kummer, Cisco Canada’s Service Provider VP.

The distribution network can also include cloud-based storage and caching capabilities, so new end user features can be rolled out in the future.

Eastlink’s On Demand library, now approaching some 10,000 titles, and its HD line-up of some 150 channels, are offered through the mobile service; Bragg noted that additional content offerings are coming.

He mentioned new services such as Treehouse TV, YTV, the Oprah Winfrey Network and Galaxy Music channels are among the soon to be included content offerings.

“Everyday we are in negotiations with content providers,” Bragg said. “We want to add as much as we can to the service, but some deals are easier than others.” Licensing deals and negotiations are also underway with regional sports leagues and rights holders, as well as with other broadcasters, media companies and content owners.

Eastlink digital cable customers can receive every channel in their digital cable package via the new mobile service, and both live and pre-recorded content will be available, Bragg noted.

Kummer added that the Eastlink/Cisco deployment is “unique in North America” for its end to end capabilities and comprehensive architecture that can work with legacy technology like existing servers, or be used to create an entirely new platform. Eastlink’s service will be centralized in its Nova Scotia data centre, he added.

Bragg added that the amount of video content his customers are consuming continues to increase, as do the number of screens on which they wish to watch. He said the new mobile service was Eastlink’s way of adapting to the rapidly evolving and very competitive video environment.

Cisco and Eastlink have worked together before, notably on the provider’s high speed Interent offerings. Cisco has also worked with IPTV provider Telus, and its Optik system.

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