Tue, Oct 04, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Dozens of firms join alliance for cloud computing

CONNECTIONS:Cable TV, hardware and software providers have gathered together to set standards and create unique content to promote digital TV

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Cable TV operators yesterday joined forces with hardware and software partners to form a cloud-computing TV alliance in a move to tap into the booming digital television cash cow.

The Cable Broadband Institute in Taiwan (台灣有線寬頻產業協會), whose members include more than 40 local cable TV operators, invited companies across various sectors to join the alliance “Cloud & Connect TV Forum.”

These companies intend to form an ecosystem in which cable TV operators, content providers, equipment makers, software developers and cloud-computing technology providers would join hands in setting standards and create unique content to usher in the digital TV era.

The alliance has more than 50 members, including cable TV operator Kbro Co (凱擘); notebook PC makers Wistron Corp (緯創) and Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶); MStar Semiconductor Inc (Cayman) (開曼晨星), the world’s biggest chipmaker for flat-panel TVs; and top publishing firm Cite Media Holding Group (城邦媒體).

According to Kbro general manager Cheng Chun-ching (鄭俊卿), the alliance aims to produce local programs with high picture quality, tap into cloud computing to offer video on demand, as well as come up with interactive content, such as e-commerce or gaming, to differentiate the services.

“Taiwan wants to lead in Mandarin-language digital TV services and there must be differentiators,” he said.

The engagement of hardware makers will hopefully bring down the prices of set-top boxes, which offer Internet and digital TV services, and that would popularize the uptake of those services, he said.

The alliance aims to lower prices of a set-top box to between US$30 and US$40 within a year, from the current US$80 to US$100, he said.

The alliance also intends to standardize specifications of set-top boxes from different makers, as well as standards for cloud content sharing.

The creation of unique content and applications is important in the age of cloud computing because hardware alone would no longer boost sales, said A. J. Huang (黃安捷), chairman and chief executive of Accton Technology Corp (智邦) — one of the alliance members and a maker of networking equipment.

“Sales of hardware must be bundled with applications,” Huang said.

For instance, Accton has a home security application that allows users to check out their home safety status. This solution would help create demand for its networking equipment, he said.

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