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  1. 1. TEST REPORT IPTV Operator Software System – Part 1NetUP IPTV Combine 4x& Amino AmiNET130MProfessional software forIPTV operatorsThomas Haring• After having discussed the streaming function of the NetUP IPTV Combine 4x in TELE-satellite issue 10-11/2010 it is now time to have a closer look at all the features required to create a user-friendly OSD (on-screen display) for customers and to help them use all IPTV functions on the one hand, as well as to assist operators in maintaining full control over what type of content is available to end users, and what price they have to pay. ■ The IPTV Combine 4x was the focus of an in-depth test report in TELE-satellite issue 10-11/2010. ■ IPTV Combine 4x from NetUP – the core of the IPTV network presented in this report.26 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  2. 2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Basic configuration of the IPTV Combine 4x Middleware – channels find their way into the channel list, it creates a interface between user-friendly EPG (electronic 1. The United Control Center is an integrated feature of the IPTV Combine 4x server and can be directly downloaded from there end user and program guide) and – last 2. All IPTV receivers in the network can be provided with software updates from the central firmware update server IPTV network but by no means least – it 3. Various OSD themes (skins) can be created, edited and saved on the packages all information into IPTV server Middleware is a software 4. IPTV operators can decide to have OSD texts translated into anysolution which takes care of a neat OSD system on the required languagepresenting IPTV content in IPTV receiver. 5. A web interface is available to launch, quit and adjust all IPTV Combinea visually pleasing way to 4x services Generally, there are two 6. The IPTV Combine 4x boasts 1TB of internal hard disk capacity to storecustomers of IPTV opera- VOD and nVOD contenttors. It makes sure the right types of middleware that can — 02-03/201 — 1 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 27
  3. 3. 1be used: The more simple trol as well as marketing. there is the server end (IPTVversion consists of the web Every time an IPTV network Combine 4x Server) whichserver which creates and is set up to make money you provides all required infor-provides HTML pages and need extended middleware, mation. And then there is theJavaScript applications, such as the IPTV Combine client end (IPTV receiver)which in turn are made 4x from Russian company which receives this infor-available to IPTV receivers NetUP. The receiver compo- mation, processes all datawhich then display all cor- nent of the NetUP middle- and creates a graphic user-responding information on ware is written in C++, runs interface. As these two com- 2the end users‘ screens. In directly on the IPTV receiver ponents need to work verysuch a system the middle- and therefore allows lag-free closely with each other allware takes over the role of use of all features, even in of the time, middleware and 3 Main menu of the NetUP middleware 1. United Control Center main menu 2. Thanks to a DNS server all services within an IPTV network can be addressed by name. While IP addresses can be used as well, they are no prerequisite. 3. List of existing TV and radio channels in the middleware 4. Adding a new TV channel complete with logo and station details 4web server, while the IPTVbox at the client end acts asweb browser. While this is asystem that can be set upand implemented easily, itdoes not serve any commer-cial purpose, as IPTV opera-tors have no billing optionand no way of controllingaccess to content. The second middlewarecategory is more complex,but at the same time more connection with a high-def- IPTV box must be compatible Combine 4x are partly con-versatile and much more for inition on-screen display, with each other. If the NetUP trolled via a web interfaceuseful as a business appli- which is an important aspect IPTV Combine 4x is the mid- which is used to launch,cation. It is based on IPTV these days and – in particu- dleware of choice operators activate, deactivate and setboxes that are not only capa- lar – in future. can choose from a number up individual services suchble of displaying received of compatible IPTV boxes. as streaming, middleware,information, but can also For the purpose of this test VOD, etc. More detailed set-communicate with the mid- Middleware report we have selected the tings of the middleware,dleware so that they cannot Strictly speaking, the AmiNET130M from Amino. the billing system and theonly create a nice OSD for NetUP Combine 4x middle- video-on-demand systemend users, but also assist in ware consists of two dis- All features and configu- are accessed through the so-billing, content and cost con- tinct components: For one, rations of the NetUP IPTV called United Control Center.28 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  4. 4. 5 5. Individual channels and their IP data within the IPTV network 6. Various packages with differing content 7. User account administration 6 7 We already dealt with theweb interface in our first testreport in TELE-satellite issue10-11/2010, and now we takea closer look at the UnitedControl Center. It is basicallya Java application which –thanks to this universal pro-gramming language – can berun on different platformssuch as MS Windows, Linuxor Apple, where it is usedto control the entire con-tent management system.The United Control Centermain menu is made up offour elements: billing, mid- video-on-demand content) as well. IPTV is different in TV and radio channels bydleware, nVOD (near video- into packages. This allows a fundamental way: Thanks letting the system know theon-demand)/VOD and DRM creating a starter package, to direct communication corresponding IP addresses(digital rights management). for example, which includes between end user and IPTV and ports – after we haveThe last two elements, TVOD only limited content, or an operator, complete with configured them via the web(TV-on-demand) and DRM extended package with full- return channel, it would be interface of the streamingare proprietary solutions of range content. a total waste of resources component of the IPTV Com-NetUP, which were not part to send all content to all bine 4x.of our test system and which In order to grasp the customers all of the time intherefore cannot be evalu- underlying logics of the the first place, only to then In order to simulate a real-ated in this report. NetUP IPTV system we have grant or restrict access (as is world scenario we design to put ourselves in the role the case with terrestrial and a package with three HD With a simple click on of an IPTV operator. This satellite TV). Instead, IPTV channels, three SD channelsthe middleware icon the begins with starting to think operators create individual as well as two radio chan-NetUP United Control Center and act like a commercial packages for a single cus- nels from two different sat-(UCC) opens up access to operation. As most of us tomer or a certain group of ellites. The IPTV Combinemedia groups, media con- come from terrestrial or sat- customers. Let‘s take a hotel 4x is equipped with a totaltent and media streams. All ellite reception we are used as an example: The hotel of four DVB/S2 tuners (seethree items are intended to the fact that all content is owner makes a certain range test report in TELE-satelliteto add, remove or com- always available to all users. of basic TV and radio chan- 10-11/2010) and so we are atbine media content. With Even if we‘re talking about nels available to all guests, liberty to select content frommedia groups it is possible subscription TV we simply the price of which is included up to four different transpon-to group together different obtain a smartcard and all in the room rate. Therefore, ders or satellite content (such as TV of a sudden encrypted con- we use the middleware tochannels, radio channels or tent is available on screen group together all required We then bundle these30 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  5. 5. 8 8. Different rate plans can be activated and deactivated for each single customer 9 10 9. Setting up and editing rate plans 10. Customers are able to get access to individual channels at a set price 11. A currency converter can be used to display amounts in different currencies with the IPTV set-top box 11eight channels into a pack-age labelled ‚Basic‘. Next, itis time to think about makingmoney. To that end, we decideto create two additionalpackages, one with currentmovies, and the second withlive sports coverage. Theprocedure is the same asfor the ‚Basic‘ package, withconfiguring the individualTV channels using the webinterface of the streamingserver, before determining ried out intuitively thanks to more or less self-explan- nel’s logo and short stationtheir IP addresses and ports the excellent user interface atory, so that it‘s almost description apart from theusing the UCC. of the United Control Center impossible to go wrong when channel name, which offers and the web interface. All setting up the system. It‘s added value to end cus- All these steps can be car- options and functions are even possible to add a chan- tomers who are able to find — 02-03/201 — 1 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 31
  6. 6. More on This Manufacturer Read TELE-satellite’s Company Report:their preferred channel more Combine 4x middleware also NETUP IPTV Software and Hardware Producer, Russia www.netup.tvquickly. allows adding EPG data man- ually for each channel. When It goes without saying that we tried out both featuresthe same is true for radio in our test every nook andchannels as well, and for cranny seemed to work asvideo-on-demand content intended and as smoothly aswhich can be stored on the possible.IPTV Combine 4x‘s internalhard disk. Several hundred Now that we have set up allhours of video fit easily on basic functions of our virtualthe built-in 1TB hard disk. IPTV network we continueStored content can be added with looking at an appropri-to any package in the same ate billing system for ourway as a TV channel through offering. Simply click on thethe middleware. During spe- ‚Billing‘ icon in the Unitedcial events (for example Control Center main menu Games and the like) and you‘re right where youindividual channels can be need to be. as on-demand content are even possible to unlock alladded for all to enjoy for a available to this guest until channels for 24 hours afterpre-set period of time, afterwhich they will automatically Billing all credit has been used up. the guest‘s arrival and then For the sake of simplic- The IPTV Combine 4x even lock extended channelsdisappear from the channel ity, let‘s stick to our idea of does currency conversions again – hoping guests willlist again. This allows plan- a major sports event that so that guests can be shown want to keep watching thening ahead so that hotel staff should be made available at the current account credit full range and pay for the(in our example) does not a hotel through IPTV. Obvi- in their own currency, if the service accordingly. If guestshave to deal with technical ously, all IPTV receivers need hotel decides to implement now choose to watch con-changes and system mainte- to be hooked up to the IPTV this feature. tent that is not available withnance under pressure. server for such a distribution the free ‚Basic‘ service they network to work. This means The final step is custom- may simply use their remote In our test scenario weare looking at a professional that in theory each receiver ising the IPTV receiver in control to select and acti-IPTV system in a commer- has access to all of content, the guest‘s room, so that it vate additional content usingcial framework, so that each unless access is restricted actually offers and displays the in-room IPTV receiver,IPTV channel also has to by making use of the return all content the guest has provided they have boughtfeature program informa- channel capability. The IPTV paid for and/or is autho- enough credit at recep-tion. After all, if hotel guests Combine 4x billing feature is rised to watch. The obvious tion beforehand. Any creditturn on their TV they want to based on the assumption that way would be using the indi- used up for such extendedknow right away which event each customer is entered in vidual box‘s MAC address content is automaticallythey are currently watching the system with his or her or serial number, but once deducted from their account,and whether or not there is full name and has an individ- again NetUP has gone the with reception being able toanything on they would be ual customer account which extra mile and offers a bril- monitor all transactions orinterested in later that day. can be used to activate and liant feature for generating even assist guests who mightIn order to implement this deactivate access to cer- an activation key for each prefer to order content viafeature the NetUP IPTV Com- tain content on an individual client on the IPTV Combine phone rather than workingbine 4x offer two options. level. In our hotel setting, for 4x server. This activation key with the IPTV receiver.First, it is possible to take example, the ‚Basic‘ pack- has to be entered in the IPTVover program information age would be available to all receiver to obtain access to As far as the NetUP bill-for streamed channels right guests without extra charge. the IPTV network in the first ing system is concerned, wefrom the original provider via If hotel guests then decide place. At the same time, with were just as impressed withsatellite, cable or DVB-T. This to watch additional channels this key the IPTV becomes all its features and ease ofwill also be the most reason- or content, they are able to an individually addressable use as with the middlewareable and practical way to go top up their personal account and controllable IPTV recep- options. Obviously, it takes ain most situations. at reception with an amount tion point, no matter where little time until you are able of their choosing, let‘s say in the hotel it is located. to use all tools to the fullest, In addition, no additional USD 50. Reception staff uses This way the IPTV receiver but after only a short whilecosts occur. If, however, a the NetUP IPTV Combine 4x is sent information about the everything seems as to beTV or radio channel that is billing system to add that current guest, the length of easy as ABC and in everydaystreamed over the IPTV net- amount to the correspond- his or her stay at the hotel, use you‘ll most probably bework does not supply pro- ing guest account so that and any available credit the in awe at how smoothly thegram information, the IPTV additional channels as well guest has available. It is system works.32 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  7. 7. 12 12. Every single IPTV receiver across the entire network can be individually addressed and customised as required 13. An activation code is required so that an IPTV box can become a fully authorised member of the IPTV network 14. nVOD content can be easily organised and made available via the UCC OSD of the IPTV receiver 13 VOD – Video On Demand and 14 nVOD – near Video on Demand In our first NetUP IPTVCombine 4x test report wementioned that the server isequipped with a 1TB internalhard disk with enough capac-ity to store several hundredhours of video content. Thefiles need to be in transportstream format (MPEG-2 orH.264) in SD or HD reso-lutions and can be addedto packages much like TVchannels. If required, differ-ent on-demand content caneven be offered at differ-ent prices. The middlewaremenu of the UCC is used34 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 02-03/201 — 1
  8. 8. to administer on-demand client end is displayed on software optimised for use in Conclusioncontent. While video-on- screen using an OSD system. such businesses. Of course With its IPTV Combine 4xdemand is a fully customised NetUP provides three OSD it, too, comes with all stan- NetUP has in store a fully-service that makes available skins (themes): HD, SD and dard features that are useful fledged IPTV solution forcontent individually for every simplified SD. IPTV opera- for most applications (hos- small and medium-sizedsingle guest at a time of the tors can freely choose the pitals, large yachts, cruise IPTV networks consisting ofguest‘s own choosing, nVOD skin that best fits their pur- ships, education institutions, up to 500 reception boxes.(near video-on-demand) is a pose and are able to adjust etc.), but also features addi-service that repeats certain each of the three skins, if tional options focusing on Our test revealed that onlycontent at pre-defined times need be. This allows offering hotels. The hotel version is are the range of features, thein a loop, so that guests can several OSD languages, for available as an option and absolute ease of use and thewatch a movie, for example, example, or changing colours connects the IPTV system to logical concept of the IPTVevery full hour. This means and display modes. The cre- frequently used hotel soft- Combine 4x truly impres-that with nVOD guests are ative potential of IPTV oper- ware suites such as MICROS- sive, but it is actually realnot in a position to determine ators can be exploited to Fidelio, for example. The fun to work with a systemthe start time of an event – the max and we, too, simply following additional features that offers everything youas opposed to true VOD. With loved to try out various are then available: need in everyday use andnVOD, on the other hand, visual solutions. It has to be is genuinely user-oriented.several guests use the same said, though, that these set- •Individual welcome mes- Even though we looked longstream, using up less server tings cannot be made with sage in room via TV and IPTV and hard there was hardlyand network capacity than the help of a graphic user receiver •Hotel information screen any aspect worth criticising.true VOD. It makes perfect interface but need to be pro- via TV and IPTV receiver If there is one point we wouldsense for operators to push grammed directly in the files •Displaying all hotel like to raise it‘s the usernVOD over VOD by offering of the selected skin. Luckily,lower prices for nVOD, for charges via TV and IPTV manual, which we would have the user manual explains allexample. The NetUP IPTV •Displaying messages preferred to be slightly more relevant steps in detail, soCombine 4x supports both from reception via TV and detailed at some stages. If that it first looks trickier thannVOD and VOD and the UCC IPTV receiver this is the first time you deal it actually is.has a dedicated menu item •Express checkout with IPTV it will be very dif-for setting the start and end •Ordering room cleaning ficult to set up the IPTV Com- One of the benefits oftimes of nVOD events. service via IPTV receiver bine 4x server, even with the an IPTV system is that the help of the manual. Then server is in direct touch with Here, too, we were This way hotel guests are again, we can safely assume all connected IPTV boxes atimpressed at how versatile not only provided with TV, that anyone investing a lot of all times. This way, updates,and user-friendly the NetUP radio and VOD content via money in the NetUP system changes to OSD skins or anysystem behaves. It didn‘t IPTV right in their room, but will also be able to afford a other configuration adjust-take us much longer than a the in-room TV and IPTV technician to take care of ments that will have to becouple of minutes to set up receiver also take over the the initial setup. Once that made from time to time canour in-house nVOD system role of multimedia control is completed it is virtually be sent to all IPTV receiv-and store a number of cur- panel for most hotel agen- child‘s play to control, ser- ers fully automatically. Therent movies on the IPTV NetUP IPTV Combine 4x das. vice and adjust the system.Combine 4x‘s built-in hard does not only come with adisk. The system can process TECHNICAL DHCP server for automati- DATAup to 50 simultaneous video- cally assigning an IP address Manufacturer NetUP Olof Palme Street 1, Floor 7 resp. Postbox 87,on-demand streams, which to each box, but also boasts 119311 Moscow Russiameans that in large set-ups a DNS server which takes Fax +7 499 143 5521using nVOD instead of VOD care of correctly addressing E-Mail info@netup.tvmay be a wise move in order content, a time server for Model IPTV Combine 4xnot to push IPTV network maintaining the right date Function IPTV Gateway for DVB Signals, Middleware, Billing, VoD, nVoD, DHCP-, Time- & DNS-Servercapacities to the limit. Inci- and time on all IPTV boxes, Tuners 4dentally, video-on-demand and an update server for Max. simultaneous Transponders 4content can be transferred providing new software and Max. bandwidth 240 MB/sto the IPTV Combine 4x from updated settings to IPTV DiSEqC 1.0any PC using an FTP client. receiver. Ethernet ports 6 x Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 MB/s CI Slots 4 Customising the There is actually a reason USB Connector yes (2) IPTV receiver to why we have come up with a RS232 yes hotel scenario for our test: Dimensions 430x44x411mm individual NetUP offers a dedicated Power 90 ~ 264 Volt, 47 ~ 63 Hz requirements version of its IPTV Combine Weight 11.5kg All user information at the 4x for hotels, with optimised Consumption ~ 100W — 02-03/201 — 1 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 35