Among the many announcements at IBC 2014, some underlying themes emerged. Taken together, one thing becomes crystal clear: the days of the disconnected television service are numbered.
Here are my top four themes from IBC this year.
All of the major vendors were showing how their products leveraged the cloud. Cisco announced earlier this year it was taking video processing to the cloud with Videoscape Virtualized Video Processing (V2P.) At IBC, the company went one step further by expanding the solution to allow all the functions and flows required to deliver multiscreen video to be executed in the cloud.
Imagine wants to help broadcast production fully leverage a private cloud. Steve Reynolds, CTO at the company, said the company has an all-IP end-to-end broadcast center playout solution. As Mr. Reynolds told me, why shouldn’t production reap all the benefits of IP and cloud infrastructures too?
Though hopefully we will begin to see the rampant use of the term “cloud” soon fade, we are just starting to reap the benefits of the architecture to improve scale and lower costs throughout the media industry.
Hybrid Pay TV Service
RDK is an STB software solution to allow cable operators to build hybrid pay TV services. Ordinarily, this would require the STB to have a fast CPU and a considerable amount of memory. ActiveVideo announced that operators can have the benefits of RDK without the need for an expensive STB. The company can run RDK on servers in the headend as a virtual set-top box.
Ericsson announced the availability of its MediaFirst TV Platform to allow pay TV to innovate the interface on the STB “at web speed.” And IRDETO says it has enhanced the Entriq platform it bought in 2008 to complete the convergence of IP and QAM. The company also brings a unified security and metadata solution to a hybrid TV service.
The overwhelming feeling from the show is that a disconnected pay-TV STB simply can’t keep up with the web competition. Look for just about every TV operator to launch hybrid services over the next several years.
End-to-End OTT Multiscreen Solutions
It was difficult to sling a cat at IBC this year without hitting an end-to-end OTT multiscreen solution. Ericsson relaunched Azuki Systems as Mediaroom Reach, and is looking to take it to satellite and cable as well as telco TV providers. Kaltura purchased Tvinci, a provider of pay OTT TV technology, earlier this year, and announced at IBC that it had integrated the platform with its open source products to provide an end-to-end solution. And Vision247 announced its new complete multiscreen solution, Perception, at the show. There were many other such solutions from other vendors on display.
The good news for operators is that there is now a wealth of choice if they are in need of an integrated multiscreen solution. The bad news for vendors is that all these platforms cannot survive. Watch for a round of consolidation and failures, particularly for smaller vendors, in this market.
I moderated a panel on Live Sports Online at the show and Rory O’Connor, SVP Services at Irdeto, gave a short presentation showing how much illegal activity the World Cup attracted online. He said that the company tracked over 7780 illegal streams worldwide during the soccer tournament. These streams attracted 22.1M illegal views. After hearing those numbers, little surprise that the Premier League selected Irdeto to help it fight online piracy.
I mentioned two innovative approaches to content security in my post yesterday: Access Systems Twine and SeeQVault. Verimatrix won best security solution at the CSI Awards for hybrid network deployments with its VCAS solution. Nagra launched Anycast to secure content across all of the screens a pay TV operator might want to reach.
All of these security solutions mean operators don’t need to comprise on content security when taking their content online in TV Everywhere deployments.
Why it matters
There was no revolutionary theme at IBC 2014.
Instead, there was acceptance that the benefits of IP networks in general, and the cloud in particular, are now an essential part of any media service.
Watch for services to migrate toward cloud deployments, hybrid clients, and full multiscreen solutions with rigorous content security.