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COMPANY REPORT

Software Developer Haenlein, Germany

Haenlein Software's headquarters.

Ralf
Haenlein, owner of the company, and
his family live in this private house. His
son Sascha Haenlein is responsible for
software development. An additional
software developer also works from
home not to far from here.

Haenlein:
PVR Software
for Digital TV
Receivers
116 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Leading Digital TV Industry Publication 03-04/2015 www.TELE-audiovision.com

Developing software
since 1999
Offering specialized
PVR software since
2001
Device-independent
software since 2004
Internationalization
of the software
through menus in
every language
Attractive offers for
repeat customers and
receiver manufacturers

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COMPANY REPORT

Software Developer Haenlein, Germany

The Video Software


Specialists
for Receivers
Almost every digital TV receiver today,
regardless if its for satellite, cable or
terrestrial reception, has a PVR function.
And just the fact that its digital means
that these digital TV programs can easily be recorded. Many TV viewers create
an archive and store TV programs on a
hard drive. And this is fine as long as
the same receiver continues to be used.
But if you get a new receiver, then the
questions start to pop up: are all of my
recordings compatible with the new receiver? And then along the same lines,
many viewers like to be able to edit their
recordings, whether its to shorten them
or cut out the commercials. Some receivers can do this through one of the
menus but its rarely easy to use.
The software company Haenlein fo-

cused themselves precisely on


this niche and offers software
for both of these situations: the
compatibility of TV recordings between different receivers as well as a
comfortable and intuitive user interface
for editing TV recordings. The company
Haenlein has been so successful at this
that we decided to take a closer look at
their operation. In a small town west of
Frankfurt in the Haenlein familys home
youll find the companys headquarters.
In addition to the companys owner Ralf
Haenlein and his son Sascha Haenlein
who is the actual software programmer,
theres a third employee, Tobias Mueller, who lives nearby and is responsible
for the HD technology. Even though the
Haenlein team lives very close to each

Frankfurt

other, they still communicate with each


other as is typical today through Skype.
Ralf Haenlein explains to us how it all
got started: Im an X-ray technician by
trade. I built my first satellite system
in 1992. But his first go-around with
software was not with TV channels for
satellite reception, rather it was macro
programs for the Excel spreadsheet program. In 1999 I founded a small company and sold my programs as a side
job.
As you can see, Ralf Haenlein start-

Ralf Haenlein is owner of Haenlein

Software. The company develops PVR


software for digital TV receivers.

118 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Leading Digital TV Industry Publication 03-04/2015 www.TELE-audiovision.com

ed writing software programs early on.


When the first digital PVR satellite receiver began appearing on the market
back in 2001, the Micronik 1380S, Ralf
Haenlein was one of the first to take
a much closer look at this receiver.
The Micronik had no external connections so in order to gain access to the
recorded TV programs, the hard drive
had to removed. A friend of his already
had software for this and Ralf Haenlein
came up with the idea to market this
software through his small company.
We developed copy protection and introduced the software to the market.
This software was called @micA and it
became the cornerstone of todays DVR
software. We managed to sell around
200 copies of the software, recalls Ralf
Haenlein when it all started.
In 2002 the Topfield TF4000 made
its debut on the market. It contained a
significantly improved PVR function that
resulted in greater distribution. For this
receiver we developed the DVR-TopA
software and were able to sell roughly
500 licenses for it. Up to this point the
software programs developed were only
device-specific, it soon became clear

In the 11-12/2014 issue of TELE-audiovision we reported on the


latest version of Haenlein's PVR software.

www.tele-audiovision.com/TELE-audiovision-1411/eng/dvr-studio.pdf

that a solution was needed that would


work with all kinds of different receivers:
In 2005 we released DVR-Studio; this
could be used with many different receivers. This software version was sold
2000 times and it showed for the first
time that the sale of software could be
profitable. Up until this point Ralf Haenlein was developing and selling his software as a side job in the evenings and

on weekends; he still had his regular job.


In 2007 we released the DVR-Studio
Pro1 version, in 2008 came the Pro2 version and later on in the same year came
the HD version. In the meantime Ralf
Haenlein started earning more money
selling software than he did with his
regular job. He had to make a decision
since both endeavors were taking up
too much of his time. In the meantime,

Software programmer

Sascha Haenlein at work


in his office: Im using
a MAC in which I work
in a virtual Windows
7 environment. The
MAC lets me test our
products under every
other Windows operating
system. The actual
software programming
takes place in the MAC
OS but Haenleins DVR
software is conceived for
Windows.

120 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Leading Digital TV Industry Publication 03-04/2015 www.TELE-audiovision.com

1. From the roof window you can see the


1.2-meter antenna with dual LNB that is
used by Haenlein.
2. To test their software with real TV
signals, Haenlein installed a well-thoughtout satellite system: here you can see the
multiswitch that distributes the signals
from three satellites throughout the house.

3. An example of the cooperation with


receiver manufacturers: the manufacturers
include their own CD-ROM in the package
which includes a test version of Haenlein's
software on the CD. As soon as the customer
purchases the full version of the software,
the receiver manufacturer receives a
commission. An added advantage for the
manufacturer: customer questions regarding
the PVR functions are handled by Haenlein,
and not the manufacturer.

Ralfs son Sascha completed his training


and in 2010 the decision was made: the
father/son team opted to become selfsufficient; they even hired an additional
programmer.
Since then the small team developed and released the HD3 version of
the software. It can be proudly reported that since 2006 over 5000 licenses
have been sold each year. Most of our
customers are from German-speaking
countries but we also have customers
from almost every country in the world.
Haenlein is in the process of further internationalizing the software by expanding the number of different menu languages available such that nearly every
language is covered. We also offer an
editor that can, for example, be used by

dealers to localize the software.


Haenlein above all utilizes local dealers and distributors for the internationalization and export: We offer two
sales models: the direct sale of licenses
with a 20% commission and for receiver
manufacturers the sale through promo
versions and promo store with a 15%
commission. This system is fully automatic and doesnt require any work from
the provider. And its this last variant
that provides PVR receiver manufacturers with another indirect advantage:
The manufacturers no longer need to
worry about handling customer inquiries on PVR functions; this is automatically taken care of by Haenlein. Another
advantage is that Haenleins software is
much easier to use compared to a built-

in video editor provided by a receiver


manufacturer.
Software programmer Sascha Haenlein highlights yet another very important argument: Our software is receiver-independent - it can be used with
many different receivers; the specifications of many of the available PVR receivers have been stored on our Internet servers. Whats so great about this?
Simple: TV programs that were recorded
in a receivers own format can be converted to another receivers format. This
makes it extremely easy to exchange TV
recordings among different receivers.
The TV recordings are thereby compatible with each other. Sascha Haenlein
explains: Basically, every receiver just
records the transponder stream signal

122 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Leading Digital TV Industry Publication 03-04/2015 www.TELE-audiovision.com

but each receiver manufacturer expands


these streams through specific data. Our
software recognizes this additional data
and can adjust it so that the transponder
stream can be played back on a different receiver. Haenlein has been operating this centralized server since 2009. It
currently contains the information from
829 different receiver models from 225
different receivers manufacturers.
The small software company Haenlein
has shown quite impressively that you
can have success even with a very small
niche product like a PVR Video Editor
program for digital receivers. If a company manages to further advance the
internationalization of its product, it can
easily become the market leader in that
particular segment.
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