Product Spotlight: NDS’s XTV

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

What it is: XTV is NDS’s personal video recorder software that it markets to cable, broadcast and satellite providers rather than directly to consumers as competitors such as TiVo do. “We are a technology supplier to the broadcast industry. We have a fundamentally different business model,” said David Richardson, director of business development for the company. The technology will be available in September and is slated to be launched by British Sky Broadcasting under the name Sky+ in the United Kingdom at that time. NDS is based in Staines, England.
Features and benefits: “Unlike TiVo or Replay, we look at the PVR as a system. We see it extending operators’ networks. We do this by allowing the operator to extend his network control,” Mr. Richardson said. That means the conditional access system of the operator is integrated into XTV. Content is recorded using the conditional access system and is thus protected from being copied. Because XTV is integrated with the conditional access system, the operator maintains control of the content and can insert targeted advertising. “It’s a secure system. It’s end-to-end digital,” he said. In addition, the XTV MetaTagger allows content providers to create enhanced content through the use of metatags. Certain television shows include metatags when cameras switch or when scenes are changed.
XTV receives the metadata, when available, at the headend in XML form (extensible markup language), enabling the content to be interactive. That means viewers can easily skip to different stories in a newscast or to specific highlights in a sporting event while watching recorded content. “It’s like an intelligent fast-forward,” Mr. Richardson said.
A different approach: NDS employs a different philosophy than its competitors in the PVR space since it relies on a business-to-business model of selling. “We are not in the business of a consumer electronics brand. That’s not our market strength. XTV allows [multiple system operators] to extend their business opportunity.”
Target market: Mr. Richardson predicts XTV will grow initially in markets where digital television is deployed-primarily in the satellite business in the United States and in cable and satellite homes worldwide.