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Cloud-Based UIs Giving Cable a Welcome Makeover
There are good reasons why Brian Roberts has called Comcast's X1 platform "a game changer." The company's chairman and CEO is enamored with the cloud-based user interface's (UI's) sleek design, interactive features, refresh capabilities and potential advantages versus cable's competition.

Yet the X1 "entertainment operating system," as Comcast calls it, represents something even more significant in changing cable's game. The cloud UI represents the most visible result of cable's effort to embrace cloud delivery technology and to improve the cable user experience (UX).

Amid pay-TV subscription declines, cable multiple system operators (MSOs) are seeing early signs that the improved UIs are curtailing defections, driving video on demand (VoD) uptake and increasing channel viewing. Since the industry is becoming more broadband centric, cable providers can use their branded UIs wherever customers connect with them, be it through a set-top gateway box, a smart TV, mobile phone or other Internet-connected device.

For years, cable failed to offer customers a significant improvement in UX. Hampered by legacy set-top boxes (STBs) with limited capability, MSOs struggled to display attractive interactive program guides (IPGs) while over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix and Amazon presented graphically rich designs, search and recommendations.

Cable will face usability challenges continually as it seeks to roll out UIs that appeal to their diverse customer base. Despite initial promise, it remains to be seen whether cable providers can use the new UIs to stem the tide of pay-TV defections and successfully create a branded, multi-screen experience. But the new face of cable shows that cable TV might not be as outdated as some prognosticators like to suggest.

In recent years, one of the primary failings of the cable industry has been its inability to provide attractive, robust user interfaces on American's television screens. The industry's focus on providing a better user experience, while long overdue, is refreshing.

Over time, cloud-based UIs will take on new applications ranging from storefronts of premium content to IoT home automation features, but their primary success could be more fundamental: Cloud UIs could be the savior of cable television.

Cloud-Based UIs Giving Cable a Welcome Makeover provides an update on cable's cloud UI progress and the opportunities and challenges ahead. It includes profiles of 20 software suppliers that offer cable guides, UI solutions and related content discovery tools, including several relative newcomers that exhibited at INTX 2015.
Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpt below:
Table of Contents (cii0715_toc.pdf)
Through cloud-based delivery and improved software, cable providers now are positioned to redesign UIs, improve content navigation and provider a better overall UX. Cloud UIs act as the new face of cable as the industry seeks to shake off the trappings of its legacy technology and re-invent itself as a multi-platform service provider. The following excerpt shows how cable's UX capabilities are shifting from old to new. By using cloud-based UIs and new navigation capabilities, MSOs are transforming the cable experience.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE); Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS); Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Clearleap Inc.; ContentWise; Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Espial Group; Gracenote Inc.; Jinni; Metrological; Opera Software; Rovi Corp. (Nasdaq: ROVI); SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC); Synacor Inc.; thePlatform LLC; ThinkAnalytics Ltd.; TiVo Inc.; UXP Systems Inc.; Wurl Inc.; and Zodiac TV.
Total pages: 20
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