Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Pay-TV Can Spur 4K UHD Growth

From industry chatter, sometimes it’s hard to tell if Ultra High Definition television is coming like an express train or a stop-and-go city bus, but one thing is universally acknowledged: pay-TV operators need a plan as 4K video, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and ultimately 8K transform the quality of video delivered to the home.

While IHS points out that the 4KTV market will total 55 million units and more than 100 million units by 2019, a panel at SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo last month pointed out that operators still are wrestling with how to support 4K with HDR on legacy systems, as well as competing formats such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

Here are some of the things that need to be on pay-TV’s front burner as the 4K/UHD transition moves forward:
·      Set-Top Box Capabilities – Operators need to aggressively follow the lead of innovation leaders such as Videotron, whose illico 4K Ultra HD PVR deployment has become a blueprint for market-wide 4K UHD STB penetration.
·      Content Security – Given the higher value placed on 4K UHD content, operators and their content partners need to step up their security games to include more specialized content protection techniques, including use of the Advanced Encryption Standard with 128 bit keys.
·      Content Availability – Operators such as Rogers and Comcast have shown the value of 4K UHD with HDR, but production and distribution need to be ramped up if pay-TV is going to help subscribers gain full value from their 4K UHD television investments.

It’s clear that manufacturers are moving quickly to integrate 4K compatibility and even 4K capability into displays coming to market.  No matter what obstacles there might be to the new technology, it’s clear that addressing the market quickly and comprehensively will spur market growth that will benefit consumers and the television industry.

Monday, October 3, 2016

“Big Data” Big Player in Pay-TV’s Future

One of the themes out of IBC and SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo last month was that the future of pay-TV relies not just on traditional broadband and video services but on how operators can harness “Big Data” to create new opportunities for services that are aligned with customer needs.

From improved search and discovery functionalities to IoT applications in healthcare and home automation, the ability of operators to gather, store, process and sometimes discard data is a key to making services more relevant to consumers, driving increases in usage and value propositions.

For pay-TV operators, creating a successful big data strategy requires overcoming a variety of challenges, including the need to:

·      Ensure security of data at all points, including servers, in the network and within the home;
·      Minimize the computational and network costs involved in collecting, transmitting and analyzing data in the cloud;
·      Prevent the explosion of data from congesting networks, especially as operators deliver more and more higher bandwidth 4K UHD content; and
·      Identify ways to keep storage requirements and costs – including power – from spiraling out of control.

In a new white paper entitled “Big Data: Expanding the Horizons of Pay-TV,” Alticast studies the opportunities operators have to capitalize on the potential of big data, and addresses steps the industry can take to unlock future services and revenue.