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Comstar-UTS Selects New NDS Master UI™ to Enrich IPTV in Russia



* Leading Russian pay-TV provider Comstar-UTS has chosen NDS Master UI™ (MUI), a new design concept in user interfaces that transforms the TV viewing experience, to enhance its IPTV service for Russia
* MUI offers viewers ease-of-use, simplicity, accessibility and consistency across devices
* The new user interface is set to play a key role in attracting and retaining subscribers as Comstar-UTS bids to become IPTV leader in the Russian market
* Comstar-UTS is additionally deploying NDS content protection technology across Russia

LONDON, UK .– NDS, the leading provider of technology solutions for digital pay-TV, today announced that COMSTAR-United TeleSystems (COMSTAR-UTS OJSC, LSE: CMST), a major operator of integrated telecommunications services in Russia and the CIS under the STREAM brand, is the first customer to deploy NDS Master UI™, a highly intuitive user interface that transforms the way content and features are presented on screen and enhances the way users interact with them. Comstar-UTS has also selected NDS IPTV content protection as it aims to become leader in the Russian pay-TV market.

Comstar-UTS is a subsidiary of Sistema, Russia’s largest public diversified corporation. Comstar-UTS has more than 147,000 double-play subscribers in Moscow for its STREAM branded pay-TV channels. From January 2009, these IPTV subscribers are the first to use the new NDS MUI interface before it is rolled out nationwide.

In July 2008, Sistema Mass Media (SMM), another sister operator, selected the NDS Unified Headend™ to manage and protect TV content delivery to subscribers across both IP and DVB-H mobile TV networks. SMM’s deployment also included choosing VideoGuard Mobile™, NDS’ secure mobile TV solution, part of the NDS Unified Headend, to protect its mobile TV service.

“As the choice of TV content and features multiplies, finding, managing and accessing that content has become more challenging,” said Victor Belov, Director, Service Platforms and Networks, Comstar-UTS. “We want to make our IPTV service intuitive and easy-to-use, and we believe that NDS Master UI will make our service more attractive to subscribers and allow us to offer more revenue-generating features in the future.”

“NDS has been working with STREAM for many years and Master UI is the latest user interface design from NDS to complement the leading edge, fresh new look and feel for Comstar-UTS’ TV services,” said Jeremy Maddocks, NDS Regional Director, Russia. “Today in Russia, customers demand the best and Master UI demonstrates NDS’ commitment to deliver world leading design to the highly competitive Russian market.”

NDS MUI design is for the world of convergence where viewers move, store and manage content on multiple devices while benefitting from the seamless experience made possible by a consistent interface look and feel across STBs, mobile devices and PCs.

With MUI, Comstar-UTS’ customers can choose their graphical theme or colour schemes and contrasts according to personal taste. Full screen transparent animated overlays allow viewers to continue to watch full-screen TV as they browse for content and services. MUI also offers graphics designed for the visually impaired.

In addition to pay-TV broadcasters, the MUI design can also benefit manufacturers of free-to-air set-top boxes who can use MUI’s superior interface to differentiate their products.

The NDS MUI design enables broadcasters and operators to add new features to their offerings in the knowledge that viewers will easily find and use these services. Its design allows the introduction of new marketing programmes such as cross-device promotion and packaging. Its personalisation services pave the way for operators to deliver targeted communications and subscriber promotions, as well as facilitating new revenue-generating options for advertisers and broadcasters. By making the TV experience intuitive, MUI also helps to reduce an operator’s call centre costs.

With MUI, the user experience is at the centre, and it represents a whole new way for people to interact with content. Ease-of-use, consistency and accessibility are always the touchstones for NDS designers.

To roll out the new interface to subscribers, Comstar-UTS only needs to send a software upgrade over the air to customers’ STBs. MUI uses content that already exists in their programming databases and enhances it with additional details - such as biographical information on actors, with pictures and graphics - resulting in a richer user experience.

Existing Comstar-UTS IPTV subscribers in Moscow were first to experience the new MUI interface from January 2009. It is to be rolled out to other regions across Russia. Comstar-UTS has integrated NDS MUI into its IPTV service in cooperation with home electronics specialists, SmartLabs.

Comstar-UTS has also chosen NDS content protection to securely deliver content over its IP network to broadband and TV subscribers. The service provides Russian users with advanced broadband entertainment services, including interactive TV services, video on demand and interactive applications such as games.


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