Tuesday, June 28, 2016

QoS the key to IPTV shift

No matter how many dropped calls, bad connections or dead zones, there’s no denying that mobile telephony has eroded use of landlines over the past several decades.  In a new white paper from Alticast, Susan Crouse posits that a similar shift is priming the pump for a parallel shift in the television landscape.

 “IPTV Migration Strategies, Part II: The Household Infrastructure” looks at the in-home obstacles – including Wi-Fi inconsistencies, shared bandwidth and other problems – that operators need to overcome, and identifies Quality of Service (QoS) as the “lynchpin” in determining operators’ readiness to shift to IPTV.

The paper notes that younger viewers already are accepting video breakup, buffering and Adaptive Bitrate quality degradation in the name of any-device, anytime convenience, just as mobile callers have learned to put up with the inconsistencies of cell service. But that doesn’t mean Cable operators will accept degraded video quality, so while bandwidth is getting better and streaming is improving, operators are figuring out how they will deliver high quality video over an IPTV network as they transform their video delivery platform.

Ultimately, IPTV services can offer greater viewing flexibility, tools that allow consumers greater control over the viewing environment and “big data”-driven search and discovery and other new applications. Solving QoS issues can unlock the door to product and service innovations that can enable significant customer acquisition, customer retention and new product offerings expanding revenue opportunities for cable operators.

To download the white paper, follow this link.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Discovery, Personalization and the TV User Experience"

Written by Susan Crouse

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Television of Tomorrow (TV0T) conference in San Francisco. This included a fun hour participating on a panel about "Discovery, Personalization and the TV User Experience.” The conference is a great collection of industry experts, providing interesting insights, knowledge and entertainment. TVoT seems to find all the newest upstarts both on the technology and talent side, particularly in the area of “digital media,” which TVoT and others define mostly as OTT originating from the Internet. They also are closely tracking the television viewing habits of the millennial and gen Z demographic, as they seem to be eschewing television services, satisfied with on-line and OTT options.

On the panel, I was joined by Campbell Foster from Adobe, Kimberly Hicks of Viacom, and Andre Swanston of Tru Optik. Gerard Kunzel was our moderator. We discussed a wide range of UI ideas including recommendation engine integration of social and other big data sources, simplification of the UI, personalization for each household member, the trend toward voice control, and much more. If you missed the event, TVoT will eventually have videos of all the sessions on their website.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ready or not, 4K’s on its way

It hasn’t gotten to the point where you’re going to be shunned by the neighbors if you’re not watching 4K UHD TV, but there’s no question that the new, improved viewing technology is taking big steps toward becoming part of the home entertainment mainstream.

While obstacles to mass adoption exist – among them a lack of content ubiquity and perceptions of incompatibility between 4K UHD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) – there are plenty of indications that 4K is poised for take-off. Service providers in Canada and South Korea have been particularly ambitious in leveraging 4K as a product differentiator.

Charles Meubus, senior director of video technology at Videotron, talked recently about how deploying 4K set-top boxes “future proofs our installed base.” Said Meubus at Light Reading’s Big Communications Event: “These set-tops” – which leverage Alticast’s expertise in middleware and UI enablement – “provide an exceptional end-user experience.”

Our own Jae Park added that deployment of 4K STBs in the South Korean market has exceeded expectations, and has spurred competition among multiple service providers.  Importantly, Park said that the South Korean experience was showing that – despite industry concerns – “we find 4K and HDR to complement each other.”

In this report on the Big Communications Event panel, Light Reading’s Brian Santo convey the panelists’ opinion that “little is going to impede the growth of the 4K market for long.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cable’s Shift to IPTV and New IoT Opportunities

For cable system operators seeking to take on OTT video competitors head-to-head, a shift to IPTV requires a balancing act between meeting existing consumer expectations and delivering new service enhancements.  In this video, our director of product management, Susan Crouse, envisions an IPTV future in which viewers can experience seamless, continuous viewing from one IP device to another as well as true “TV Everywhere” experiences in which authenticated content can be viewed without geographic market restrictions. Crouse outlines how the need to maintain service quality could spawn new IoT service opportunities that operators could offer to consumers, including “household firewalls” that could protect services and data and monitoring applications that would help consumers manage broadband usage within the home.