In partnership with Ericsson, Viettel is making high quality and reliable cable TV services available – alongside its existing IPTV services – across Vietnam.
The demand for TV services in Vietnam is rising, with around 85 percent of households owning a television. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce estimated the revenue generated by pay-TV to be USD 2.5 billion in 2012, 97 percent of which came from cable TV packages. This lucrative market is also characterized by intense competition, with 40 TV companies contending for market share.
In 2013, Viettel, already the nation’s largest mobile operator, was granted a five-year TV license and began finalizing its strategy to become the biggest name in Vietnam’s TV market. Viettel had an aggressive strategy to have its services launched within a year and make them available in all 63 provinces within three years. Viettel’s strategy focused on making cable TV and multiscreen services accessible to the whole of the country. As part of the five-year license agreement, Viettel would need to be servicing two million customers by 2015. Le Van Khuong Chief Technical Officer, Viettel Television, says: "Our priorities lie in keeping our viewers happy and we evolve our services in line with that objective, making sure our offerings are reflective of industry trends and shifts".
Achieving this grand ambition would involve effectively utilizing Viettel’s already existing 200,000 km fiber network, establishing partnerships with TV companies to share content and infrastructure.
Breaking new ground
The complexity of the task at hand meant that an optimized, scalable architecture would be needed to deliver the highest quality video. It also needed to offer reliability for multiple subsystems of linear cable and Over the Top (OTT) services, including monitoring, multi-viewers and subtitling amongst others.
Viettel chose Ericsson as its partner because Ericsson had the technical excellence to match its own ambition. Mr. Khuong explains: "Ericsson’s capability and reputation for delivering first-class solutions alongside full system services and support means it’s in a unique position to meet our requirements." Ericsson has been on the cutting-edge of television and media solutions for decades, with recent innovations in Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV and High Efficiency Video Coding technology. With multiple first-to-markets including the world’s first MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and HEVC real-time encoders, 5 Technical Emmy Awards and a NAB Technology Innovation award for 4K UHD TV, Ericsson offers the best of breed in video processing solutions, providing the highest-quality consumer experience and the most efficient delivery to ensure operators remain competitive.
The implementation of the project centered on the deployment of the Ericsson Multi-platform Video Processing solution, with the AVP family of system encoders taking a leading role. The head-end made full use of Ericsson’s compression product range including the AVP 2000 Contribution Encoder, RX8200 Advanced Modular Receiver, AVP 4000 System Encoder, MX8400 System Multiplexer, and the SPR1200 and NPR1200 Stream and Network Processors.
These products form the high-quality mezzanine encoding, content reception, video processing, multiplexing and OTT transcoding blocks respectively, all managed by Ericsson’s Compass for system control and management.
Dr. Giles Wilson, Head of TV Compression Business, Ericsson, says: "This project utilized Ericsson’s state of the art product portfolio and our world renowned services organization to form a solution which allows Viettel to manage their growing ecosystem and propels them to the forefront of the Vietnamese pay-TV market."
This solution enabled the delivery of Viettel’s cable TV services alongside its existing IPTV services, while also ensuring that high product efficiency, easy scalability and the inclusion of the latest generation of chipsets would keep future system costs down. Consumers will enjoy more channels and experience discernibly better picture quality than they had in the past. Mr. Khuong concludes: "The addition of cable services further strengthens our standing in the Vietnamese TV market and puts us in a great position to deliver more content to our subscribers."