3 Screen Solutions (3SS), leading provider of software solutions for set-tox box (STB) and multiscreen digital entertainment, announces that Proximus Pickx, the next-generation IPTV+OTT TV entertainment offering from Belgium’s largest telco Proximus, has gone live on an Android TV™ Operator Tier STB. The new innovation-rich service replaces Proximus’ legacy AOSP-based TV offering in its entirety, and is currently being made available to all subscribers of the incumbent TV offer, comprising over 1.65 million legacy STBs.
Expected to become one of the largest Android TV Operator Tier deployments in Europe, built on capability-enhancing Android P, Proximus Pickx is delivering an advanced, personalized customer experience thanks to the proven, award-winning combination of 3READY Android TV solution from 3SS and Technicolor Connected Home’s Sapphire STB and middleware at its core.
Following a pilot launch phase which began in October 2019, Proximus launched the service and began to make it widely available to subscribers in July 2020. Proximus Pickx offers a wide array of state-of-the-art user features, tied together in a customized user experience enabled by 3READY.
The new service delivers seamless IPTV+OTT viewing, with personalized search and recommendation that help customers navigate and access desirable content in Proximus Pickx’ extensive offering of linear and non-linear content.
3SS delivered project and service definition, design, and co-created together with Proximus based on the 3READY design system. Proximus and 3SS carried out system implementation based on SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), ensuring integration and harmonious interoperability with key system technologies. These include recommendation technology from ThinkAnalytics, PRESTOplay player SDK from castLabs, Media Distillery’s EPG Correction Time, which ensures accurate start times for replay, as well as the Technicolor platform and Omni Remotes custom-designed handheld controller.
“We discovered in our consumer survey last year that more than one in three Belgians has trouble choosing a programme, and almost one in two think they waste time looking for what to watch,” said Jim Casteele, Chief Consumer Market Officer at Proximus.
“Moreover, we learned that 70% of consumers want to have all their content in one place, so we knew Android TV was the answer. Now, thanks to close collaboration with our key technology partners, with their great talent, innovation and expertise, with Proximus Pickx we’re delivering a sophisticated, viewer-centric entertainment service,” Casteele added.
Proximus Pickx helps viewers find the content they want by marrying the TV guide with next-generation personalized TV, all via the lowest power-consuming STB on the market. Subscribers benefit from a highly diverse content range, including 4K-HDR, a vast programming library and unmatched array of local content, featuring live TV, catchup, VOD, major apps and games via cloud all available in one unified platform.
Customer admin is made easy in several ways. Netflix and Disney+ are both bundled and deeply integrated, and supported with single sign-on. Subscriptions can be fully managed directly via the STB, and viewers can browse the content library of a service before buying, making it easier for the user to decide whether or not to add it to his or her bundle.
Proximus Pickx will be among Europe’s first Android TV Operator Tier-based systems to feature addressable TV advertising when this capability goes live in 2021.
Super-curation delivers advanced personalization
With 3READY, Proximus is empowered to step beyond ‘super-aggregation’ and unleash the potential of ‘super-curation’. Super-curation is the first step in delivering the advanced TV experience that viewers truly desire, with unified access to all content, apps, and games relevant to a viewer’s tastes and interests. Individualized worlds of content, with corresponding recommendations and service offers aligned with the user’s known likes, can be delivered in an intuitive, linear way.
Proximus Pickx is leveraging super-curation with its ‘Proximus Passion Points’ that centralizes access to live, replay and on-demand content by curated sections around user interest such as Movies, Series, Sports, Hobbies/Leisure, Esports, Documentaries, Kids or Music.
Another new feature is ‘Broadcaster Corners’ enabled by 3READY’s page branding capability. With this feature Proximus can select and change the colors, images and themes of pages to create broadcaster-specific, branded micro-environments within the experience.
The 3READY Custom Launcher enables Proximus to reap maximum potential of Android TV, delivering a much richer user experience – with customization and full Proximus branding – than otherwise possible with a standard launcher.
Total entertainment in three languages plus Google Assistant voice control
3SS is helping Proximus to offer a fully-loaded personal experience to subscribers in French, Dutch and English including:
• Live TV and Advanced trick-play for Recordings, VOD and Replay, including ReplayPlus to add days
• Mini EPG, including 7-day backwards TV Guide for selected channels
• Unlimited concurrent recordings using Network PVR
• Pre-installed apps from Google Play Store at start-up (rather than requiring a factory install)
• All Google TV Services such as YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Assistant and Chromecast
• Netflix with billing integration, and offered as a dedicated in-app viewing bundle
• Disney+ with billing integration
• Safe default parental controls for UI and Google Assistant which deliver extra security and monitoring for children’s viewing, even when parental control is not proactively user-managed
• Addressable TV advertising (launching in 2021)
• Cloud Gaming
• Multi-language support: Dutch, French and English, including Google Assistant operation
“We are immensely proud to have been entrusted by Proximus to help deliver this ambitious and highly innovative project,” said Kai-Christian Borchers, Managing Director of 3SS.
“Proximus deserves huge congratulations on the launch of its Proximus Pickx Android STB-enabled TV service and we are confident that audiences across Belgium will love this new, next-gen, personalized TV experience,” Borchers added.
A/B testing capabilities in 3READY mean Proximus benefits from targeting and unified remote management of the experience. Proximus can quickly and clearly understand what new features will appeal to viewers, and it can adapt applications rapidly, leading to faster and more successful enhancements and launches.
Proximus is additionally benefiting from lean-agile project delivery practices, namely SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), assisted by 3SS. Agile methodologies allow individual teams to dramatically reduce lead time between definition and delivery of a product, cutting waste and enhancing quality.
By enabling scaling and proactively blending in third parties, SAFe is becoming widely recognized as the best way to accelerate and optimize large system deployments.
The solution for Proximus is drawing on 3SS’ unmatched track record in major international Android-based system deployments. This includes Swisscom TV 2.0 which began in 2014, since updated to Swisscom TV OS4. Canal Digital OnePlace and Com Hem TV Hub both launched in 2018. 3SS announced being selected by Uruguay’s TCC in 2019. Altibox and, most recently, ORS’ simpliTV were both announced earlier in 2020.
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