Norway-based Opera Software has recently revealed that it is looking to partner with set top box (STB) manufacturers In India to enable DTCH, IPTV, and cable subscribers access the Internet from their televisions. This is a big bet by Opera on the Indian government’s drive to digitize television connections.
“It is a good time to get into this (digital devices space)…We would look at partnering someone like Huawei to build our browser onto their platform,” Opera Software Sales Director (India and SAARC), Sunil Kamath, told reporters. He mentioned however, that no such deals have been signed yet, but the company is exploring the option.
Enabling browsing on your TV
The government has declared that analogue cable services would be phased out and complete digitization would be ushered in the cable connection sector in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata by November this year. To implement the digitization, set top boxes have to be installed for anyone subscribing to the cable service. Estimates show that there are over 103 lakh subscribers in the metros alone.
Other companies are also looking to launch products that would facilitate browsing the Internet through televisions. IT peripherals manufacturer Amkette recently launched the EvoTV priced at Rs. 9995, which allows users to surf the internet on their TV. Globally, Apple and Google have been doing similar things.
In light of browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox eating up its market share in the PC web browser segment, Opera has partnered with telecom companies like Airtel and Idea to distribute co-branded versions of Opera Mini, the phone version of the browser. Many handsets, especially ones from domestic handset makers come with Opera Mini pre-installed. “Such tie-ups help us reach out to more consumers and give us another distribution channel,” Kamath said, adding that Opera Mini has close to 179 million users globally. Though he declined to comment on numbers specific to India, Kamath mentioned that Opera’s userbase in India has grown four to five times over the last two years. “India is a strategic market for us. We support 14 Indian languages and we are confident that we will continue to see the strong growth that we have seen in the last few months,” he added.
Opera Web Browser is one of the most popular web browsers in the world, along with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Opera provides browsers for computers, phones, tablets, and other devices such as the Nintendo Wii. The latest version of the browser is Opera 12, with many new features such as themes and support for Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) Standard, which adds features like photo apps, and a driving game called FaceKat.