80% of TV viewers want a remote control that is easy to use. The paradox is that users have more content, more services and more devices than ever before, but they want less complexity and to have fewer keys on a remote control, while maintaining their levels of choice. The challenge that content providers, and by extension manufacturers, have is ensuring ease of use. It begins with the remote control and, if successful, interactivity and monetised content could be just the click of a button away.
Software and hardware agnostic platforms in a virtualized, orchestrated environment enable broadcasters to simplify operations, better manage services and ensure the highest levels of performance across the workflow. They can still buy best-of-breed hardware and software but leverage the benefits of a multi-vendor environment and not be dependent on one technology, vendor or proprietary solution. A further benefit is that service orchestration has become the industry norm and can be accomplished efficiently and effectively.
TV effectiveness is measured using delivery metrics such as gross rating points (GRPs) and target rating points (TRPs) but marketers are realising they need a new efficiency metric that reflects the actual value each ad brings to a brand. Programmatic TV gives them the freedom to buy ads at short notice and constantly shift budget at a tactical level, with outcomes like cost per acquisition (CPA), cost per lead (CPL) and return on investment (ROI) guiding their optimisation decisions.
In video workflow, a micro-services architecture simplifies what was once complex. Each service is focused on a particular set of capabilities, with the ultimate goal being to break down the overall functionality into as small a service as is reasonable. This allows the services to operate and evolve independently; upgrades and fixes may be carried out as necessary, and verified and released on their own schedule, often several times a day through continuous and repeatable delivery.
Publication of the Ultra HD Forum’s Phase A guidelines in April 2016 appears to have galvanized the industry and visitors to IBC will see demos of products that are compliant with the guidelines in various relevant categories, including capture, HDR colour grading, encoding/decoding and display. The Ultra HD Forum anticipates that standards organisations like DVB and ATSC will use the show to indicate how they will handle the guidelines.
Boosting quality of experience with peer-assisted delivery OTT service providers can use peer-assisted video delivery to complement a CDN. Every member of the peer-assisted service acts as an edge server and management software allocates the resources according to demand. To an OTT service provider this looks like any other CDN architecture except the economics are better, there is less chance of piracy (since content is never stored whole on a device) and it is infinitely scalable.
One way to engage ‘difficult to reach’ 16-24 year-olds is to deliver television in bite-sized segments that cover their interests, built into a personalized playlist. This is not futuristic and can be achieved using temporal metadata, which provides detailed descriptions of what is happening in video scenes. The information, including the timings needed for chapter markers, can be captured at the moment closed-captions are created.
Network function virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are natural partners for digital TV. NFV allows us to virtualise the functionality; SDN provides the control and monitoring layer that issues instructions, prioritises the use of processor cores and manages storage. With a virtualised framework, a UHD asset can be transcoded in 15 minutes rather than 24 hours by starting as many encoder instances as required.
Broadcasters have to do more with less resources and investment, and greater use of IP will help them. IP networks make it easy to produce live content, one of the competitive differentiators compared to OTT providers. IP contribution means smaller OB vehicles and fewer staff on site. It is easy to establish connections, which is particularly advantageous for breaking news. IP is also becoming a realistic proposition in the studio.
The best way to fight the threat of online content sharing is to insert an imperceptible watermark in the video or audio, which cannot be tampered with, to enable the rights owner to shut down the source of leaks and keep content away from pirate services. When integrated with CA and DRM systems, watermarking and associated detection services will ultimately form a closed-loop solution, protecting content for delivery to any device.