Posts tagged ‘OTT’

Meet the speaker: Nick Fielibert, Cisco Systems #CableCongress @CSCO_PR

Nick Fielibert CTO SP Video Cisco Systems Ltd

Nick Fielibert
CTO SP Video
Cisco Systems Ltd

Nick Fielibert CTO SP Video at Cisco Systems speaks to us about technology differentiation,  virtualization and Net Neutrality.

As chief technical officer for SP video in the EMEAR for Cisco, Nick Fielibert is responsible for developing and directing the technical roadmap and the systems architectures for Cisco’s video solutions to service providers in the region.

See Nick Fielbert at Cable Congress 2015, 11-13 March, The SQUARE, Brussels – Register online now.

Q. How is cable using technology to differentiate itself in the marketplace?

Cable operators leveraging DOCSIS 3.0 are the only Service Providers able to provide broadband speeds above 100 Mbps today and even 1 Gbps over 100% of their access networks serving millions of subscribers in Europe. Cable is also the only network that can still leverage very cost effective pure Broadcast with Unicast for personalized and advanced video services. In particular, DOCSIS 3 evolving to DOCSIS 3.1 now makes migration to Unicast video over IP economical, reducing OpEx and CapEx for such new advanced video services.

The adoption of cloud technology is also particularly important for reducing OpEx and time to market associated with new services. When applications are created for the cloud (on- or off-premise), feature development time is greatly reduced and the risk of long lasting error situations is mitigated: new applications and bug-fixes can immediately be propagated to millions of Home Devices. Last but not least we see some Cable operators leveraging the success of selling triple-play services over their plant to upsell mobile and B2B services.

Q. From a technology standpoint, what do you think cable’s priorities are for 2015 and beyond?

We are seeing Cable further investing in keeping the lead on broadband speeds, but also aiming to create the service velocity for TV services similar to OTT (Netflix etc.). We believe they should also prepare the access network for introduction of DOCSIS 3.1 during 2015, with rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 during 2016 and beyond.

Q. What innovative projects is Cisco working on now, for example on cable technology virtualization?

We believe virtualization will help cable in various aspects, both on the access and network side, as well as on the video services side. There is a path for virtualization of CCAP, by building as a foundation a distributed cable access architecture based on Remote PHY. With the move to Remote PHY, cable operators can have distributed PHY elements (chassis or nodes) that connect the access network and are controlled by CCAP Core elements. The CCAP Core elements can run as virtualized software entities in a Data Center. We are also making strong investments on bringing SDN capabilities to our CCAP platforms. We believe that Remote PHY, SDN and NFV are among the top disrupting architecture transitions that the Cable industry will face on the coming years.

For video services, virtualization will make the development of services more scalable and reduce OpEx. For example, adding new channels that can be delivered to any device should be not more than using a simple orchestration console, which launches VMs to create a complete workflow to create streams in any format, servicing any type of device. Increased use of virtualised software-based encoding will also greatly simplify the introduction of new codec technologies such as HEVC, or starting services in 4K resolution. The same principles will also apply to adding subscribers to a system, creating additional business rules and product offers. Cable operators have also understood that User Experience is a key competitive element and business driver for growth. UX is one of the key offerings we have and we continue to invest to make the deployment of the best possible User Experience on all possible screens easier going forward. Last but not least, we keep investing in keeping content secure, so Cable will be able to get the best deals with their content providers

Q. Tell us more about how you work with cable operators and the rest of the cable tech community.

We have a permanent dialog with cable operators and the rest of the cable tech community to make sure that we develop products and solutions that fulfil their business needs. As part of that effort, Cisco is an active contributor to CableLabs and to European cable community entities like the Cable Congress, listening and sharing our thoughts about how the cable technology and business will evolve.

Q. What is Cisco’s take on Net Neutrality and where do you think policymakers need to net out to ensure continued investment in broadband build out?

In general in we think Net Neutrality is a good thing and are supportive of this, but we also believe differentiated services should be possible and that a Service Provider should be allowed to manage traffic on the network to enhance certain services. This will enable better service to be offered to subscribers, and potentially lead to higher revenues. If done well and sensitively, there is no reason that this should be at the expense of general internet access.

Q. Cable is a technology leader, but is there an area where cable must be better and what will it take to do so?

Indeed Cable is often in the forefront of technical innovation. However, we feel there are some areas were faster evolution/development may be required:

  • Accelerate its integration with mobile and B2B offers.
  • Accelerate the transition into video solutions that are fully IP-based, as these solutions allow cable operators to provide seamlessly the same services across HFC or FTTH.
  • Embrace new client SW and Cloud technologies that allow for faster and cheaper introduction of new services. The current development cycle of deploying new Hardware (new STBs) in the field takes too long. There is a risk Cable will start lagging in services innovation against Telco and new OTT competitors.
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Cable Congress eBook: The Platform Effect

The Platform Effect

Overview
There is no disputing recently that Over The Top (OTT) approaches to cloud content and smart devices (connected TVs, mobile phones and tablets) have had a huge influence on the media and payTV industry.

Just as new market entrants scrambled to sign content deals and offered a compelling OTT offering, the payTV market leaders also pushed to deliver their valued content to these new screens. They needed to do this to keep up with the innovation curve and meet consumer desires to leverage their new devices.

Many had predicted the demise of traditional media stalwarts and the set-top box (STB) but the industry enjoyed continued growth. However, it is important to recognize that the OTT experiment is in its infancy and innovative internet services and device companies will continue to evolve and learn from their early missteps. This paper discusses why OTT has yet to succeed with consumers and how their relationship is evolving with this new way of watching TV. It will also examine what PayTV operators can learn through this experience in order to continue to enrich their content, differentiate services and get closer to customers to maintain their lead and fulfil growth plans.

Going “Nonlinear”
While the critical component lacking in most of the OTT offerings is clearly traditional live TV content, trials such as the Hill Holiday OTT user study ‘An Experiment in Cutting the Cord’ have proven that this is not the most frustrating factor for consumers using OTT.

The common thread across all the tested platforms has been that users were fundamentally uncertain of how to watch TV that was not their familiar linear style network feed. OTT’s new “search only” approach violated the common principals of channels, Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) and TV networks, which to the PayTV operator’s benefit is the comfort zone of the consumer. Consumers simply do not have the time to be engaged in managing their entertainment ecosystem and making decisions. Users consistently commented that they prefer a “lean back and forget” experience where users appreciate the network’s next show. Simply put, they did not know what to watch next.

This presents an interesting challenge to PayTV operators who themselves are starting to offer more cloud-based DVR and web content and Video on Demand (VoD) libraries that may complicate the linear experience. However, it’s also a huge opportunity to take what is known about the consumer’s personal choices, viewing habits and social media interactions (on an opt-in basis) to take the linear experience to a completely new level. It’s an opportunity to create the first “personal linear network” that is customised for each user, blending the best traditional PayTV content with other smart content offering opportunities.

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Two-thirds of pay-TV subs have access to multiscreen services

Two-thirds of pay-TV subs have access to multiscreen services

Western European multiscreen operator-provided growth has led to an 80% increase in coverage and given 66% of pay-TV subscribers in the region access to these services.

These findings, at the heart of new research by Parks Associates, clearly show just how multiscreen in in the mainstream and compared with only 36% access in mid-2011. The analyst adds that with service providers poised to deploy over 20 million high-end, feature-rich residential gateways in Western Europe this year, multiscreen services may soon be offered in conjunction with other advanced features such as VoIP, advanced home network monitoring, and media sharing.

“The competition from over the top (OTT) services, growth in broadband penetration, and consumer adoption of connected devices all drove the rapid deployment of multiscreen services, and now operators are looking to shift focus from customer retention to monetisation,” said Stuart Sikes, President, Parks Associates.

Rapid TV News | by Joseph O’Halloran

Cable Congress eBook: Facing the future with OTT

Ever-increasing broadband speeds are changing the TV landscape forever

On the one hand there is the threat of viewers being lured away to spend time on their PCs, smartphones or tablets when they were previously slumped on the sofa watching pay-TV. On the other there is the opportunity that broadband offers to existing and new entrant operators that can harness the power of broadband to deliver over-the-top services for the benefit of the consumer and the finance director.

Most major metropolitan areas, and increasingly the more far-flung regions, can now support the delivery of broadcast quality pictures over the internet to a greater or lesser extent. If you are delivering pictures to the TV screen there is no point in tying up broadband capacity with channels that can already be received, so you can use existing cable channels and blend them in to a wider offering.

There is a genuine demand from consumers for TV as a service, be it to a portable device, or the fixed one in the corner of the living room still known as the TV set. The difficulty is that viewers are not entirely sure what they want, using their PC. smartphone or tablet to catch-up on TV shows they may have missed and are often directed there by the broadcasters themselves, at least until a similar service is introduced on the TV itself. A number of consumer electronics players have seen this as an opportunity to wrest control of the television from the operators by presenting viewers with new ways to consume broadband-delivered content. By managing users’ access to broadcast and web entertainment through a single connected device the CE manufacturers are essentially setting themselves up as virtual IPTV operators and placing themselves in direct competition with the established pay-TV industry.

There is more to the Connected TV than just family photos and widgets. The combination of ongoing revenues, not to mention the possibility of speeding up the television replacement cycle, has led manufacturers to increasingly bundle in content. This has manifested itself in the availability of catch-up TV services, such as the BBC iPlayer or Sky Go. Coupled with the addition of movies on demand from the major Hollywood studios, and integrations with YouTube and Facebook, manufacturers are able to offer a strong content line-up. However, with current Connected TV technology there is significant disconnect between the traditional EPG and bundled OTT services and widgets, which makes for a disjointed user experience.

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Com Hem: “Alpha trials for TiVo are planned around Christmas”

Expert Interview with Jens Persson, Com Hem

Jens Persson, Manager R&D at Swedish cable operator Com Hem, on plans to deliver TiVo-based TV services, the network improvements this required, and the need to deliver services which are agnostic of access technology.

Can you tell us more about ComHem’s TiVo project?

After evaluating a number of different alternatives on the market, Com Hem decided to move forward with TiVo as a new middleware partner.

The solution will deliver a completely integrated customer experience on every platform (coax, IP, iOS, Android, PC, Mac) supporting linear TV, VOD and OTT on all devices.

The TiVo solution will offer the customer a great experience when watching TV in the living room and on TV Everywhere (out of home) services through intelligent (and remote) recording, series linking, search and browse, TiVo recommendations, VOD, companion device, apps (YouTube, gaming, Twitter etc).

The metadata – combined with a well thought out user interface for all devices – will support the customer in getting the absolute best out of their TV package and relationship that they have with Com Hem.

What network improvements were needed?

This project has quit a big impact on our network. More or less a brand new parallel platform from the backend to the set-top box is needed. Starting with the backend, this will be the Adrenalin platform from Seachange, which will be integrated to our BSS system and to ¨Tivo Mind¨.

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OTT costs?

Will OTT rise to uncompetitive levels?

A recent report by IHSScreen Digest predicts reveals that the costs of OTT will rise to uncompetitive levels when they need to be scaled up to broadcast volume levels: the reasoning being that traditional broadcasting is delivered via multicasting and that OTT is delivered via unicasting. That is wrong. First of all, only linear content can be distributed via multicasting: VOD, trick play, replay TV, delay TV etc: all relies on unicasting delivery, whether it is delivered as a traditional cable or IPTV service or as OTT services.

The reality is that most OTT content actually is not linear content anyway. The reality is that with the industries’ move to new HTTP adaptive streaming technologies, they lose the ability to do multicasting.

Consumers need to accept that when their consumption patterns change, this could impact infrastructure scaling and could impact costs. Yes, linear television is cheap to deliver, but people want VOD and are willing to pay.

The reality is that proper CDNs mimic multicasting by relaying live streams via strategically placed edge devices, dramatically offloading unicast streams on the Web, internet exchanges, peers and backbones.

The reality is that networks do not have infinite bandwidth and routers have no infinite capacity to scale multicasts. Proper CDNs do a pretty well job in scaling this capacity.

One challenge in this industry is that more and more content is consumed on-demand, and that implies unicasting: whether the content is delivered via traditional cable or IPTV platforms or via OTT services.

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TV Everywhere is both cable’s “best defence” and threat

TV Everywhere is cable’s best defence against cord-cutting…

…but could accelerate the unravelling of the relationships that keep the industry going, according to Stuart Sikes, president of Parks Associates. Speaking on a panel session at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit, Sikes said that cable operators were not actively promoting TV Everywhere services to their subscribers. He cited the example of Swisscom, which had bundled TV everywhere with its top-tier offering. This, he said, did not address the danger of lower-tier customers churning.

Parks Associates research showed that about 10% of customers were looking to “cut the cord” in the immediate future, and that very few of these would be retained by the offer of TV Everywhere services. Awareness of such services remained low, Sikes said. However, consumers did see value in TV Everywhere and a significant proportion would be willing to pay for it, which presents both an opportunity and a threat to cable as consumers could turn elsewhere for such services, Sikes added.

While cable operators had good relationships with content providers, the issues involved in delivering services over multiple operating systems to multiple devices with multiple DRMs was challenging. Sikes said that revenue from TV Everywhere would not be significant enough to pay for infrastructure needed to support it. There was also a trend towards the replacement of high-value subscription services with relatively low-value over-the-top TV Everywhere services, he said.

“Pay TV operators may be in for a long period when their return on investment on these services will be negative,” said Sikes.

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The Revolution Will Be Televised (pick a screen)

Change seldom comes with warning but is always expected in the technology sector. 2011 brought us a new chief at Apple, HP having decided to spin off its PC business, Motorola being sold to Google and the loss of another woman tech leader after Carol Bartz’s high profile Yahoo! exit. In the meantime, social media applications have helped the world keep an eye on big change in the Middle East.

Disruption Central

Also no stranger to changes of late, Rupert Murdoch once said that “the world is changing very fast and that the big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” This certainly applies to the role of the screen.
No such thing as a TV anymore?

Time Warner’s Chairman and CEO, Glenn Britt caused a stir this year by casually (and publicly) signalling the beginning of a new era where content is more important than how we view it, “There’s no such thing as a TV anymore.” It’s not a fatalistic remark, however. It is a heads up for the business of providing content. EU and worldwide policy makers are not free of the associated challenges. The management of copyright and rights clearance is a task that won’t get easier for business or policymakers. Streamlining will require effort that is widely seen as needed for Europe’s ever-modernizing single market.

I want it all, I want it now

tvThe number of devices is increasing. If you’re not watching a video clip on YouTube from your laptop, you might be checking the news on your handheld device or sending a tweet on your iPad – all with the TV on. We access content daily without thinking twice about the devices we’re using. Content passes through an increasing number of devices much more easily than in the past. Once a buzzword, convergence is something that consumers simply expect. It’s why cable providers are integrating their video services through broadband access, iPads and PCs.

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Blog by Guy Bisson, Research Director, Television, IHS Screen Digest

OTT: MOVE ALONG, NOTHING NEW TO SEE HERE

Every morning, around 8am, I rest my head gently on the shoulder of a woman I’ve never met. A short man nuzzles my armpit with his nose while the blond locks of the girl to my left tickle my face as they catch a brief draft. I can’t stand straight, the noise is ear-splitting and there’s no space to hold a paper or book. It’s my daily trip to the office, chauffeur courtesy of London Underground.

Through a chink of space between the shoulders of my fellow travellers, I entertain myself by reading advertisements for dating sites, tropical beach paradises and, more recently, an offer to “imagine a TV channel that learns what you want to watch.” “Lovefilm is not a TV channel”, it continues, but “it has more movies available to watch instantly online through your TV than all the other TV channels put together.”

Interesting, if slightly schizophrenic, pitch. Amazon-owned Lovefilm’s recent advertising blitz has, of course, been prompted by the arrival in the UK of a trans-Atlantic rival in the form of Netflix. Both services steam content to the TV over-the-top, via PCs, connected TVs, games consoles and other Internet devices. More interestingly from a business perspective, both claim that their main rival is not one another, but pay TV giant Sky.

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