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Containerized cloud software forecasts a bright outlook for TV service providers

Using containerized software for TV delivery means single functions are contained in a package that has everything needed for deployment. The containerized architecture is much better suited to adding and enhancing functionality. Rolling out containerized software in the cloud lets TV service providers choose their preferred cloud services, rather than having to move the entire workflow to a new provider. Containerized software requires fewer resources for deployment and reduces overall costs compared to using a virtual machine. It can be used to create a customised workflow and so help broadcasters provide enriched services even before audiences demand it.

Just how easy is it to cut the cord?

After years of complaining about a $240 Comcast bill for 2 voice lines, good speed Internet access, and a thousand (mostly unused) channels in...

Enhancing the user experience for live and VOD sports

It is now viable to create OTT services dedicated to a single sport and even apps designed for a one-time event like a world tournament. Factors in their success include granular personalisation to take account of favourite teams and stars, and full use of on-demand content around the main live events, which could be a pre-match press conference. This will keep people on the platform for longer. You need total flexibility in how an app is designed and navigated; unlike drama or comedy apps, there is no standardised way to organise a sport, and all sports differ.

Is over-the-top over?

Anyone can launch an OTT service – what you need to do is launch a ‘Cloud TV’ service that truly transforms your legacy TV distribution business at all levels. You need operational agility, with the ability to launch fast and adapt quickly to feedback and market dynamics, gather data, understand consumer behaviour and act on it. You need to reduce operating costs. And you need a superb UX that collects all traditional linear, OTT, on-demand and time-shifted TV in a way that is easy to use, with advanced discovery and personalisation.

What will the next generation of Pay TV content look like?

The future of subscription TV programming was discussed at the latest Pay-TV Innovation Forum, the global research programme for senior Pay TV and content executives. Here are some of the views that were expressed, including how Netflix is reducing the aversion to subtitles - which could encourage foreign content - and the growth of non-scripted programming on ‘challenger’ digital platforms. Traditional players and streaming services are expected to collaborate more on co-productions. Meanwhile, data analytics will help serve the right content to the right audiences.

The peculiarities of OTT delivery

Often, service providers building direct-to-consumer capabilities make the mistake of focusing their attention first on the CDN, believing it is the engine room of the user experience. In fact, the quality of the UX is determined far earlier in a complex process that includes media preparation, app design and control plane configuration. The CDN can only start playing video once requested and requests can be slowed by misaligned processes and sub-optimal sequencing elsewhere. You must design for 100,000 concurrent requests hitting a server, and ensure apps load components in the best order. Inefficiencies are amplified at scale, but they can be easily avoided.

Data-driven hardware and its role in driving new revenue for Pay TV operators

While some operators were looking to reduce hardware in the customer premise, challengers like Amazon, Apple and Google were aggressively pushing their own hardware into homes. They – and consumers buying their devices - have invalidated the argument that hardware is not fashionable. Operators must avoid becoming an app that could become ‘non-supported’ one morning. They need an independent stack and they need to master data as well as content. They must know when to work with companies like Amazon as partners and when to keep full control of key innovations.

Three trends to watch at IBC 2018

Low-latency live video streaming, video quality with bandwidth savings, and machine learning-enhanced video workflows are the three key trends to watch at IBC this year. With the move to cloud-based video processing and distribution, OTT providers can take a holistic view of the workflow and take advantage of opportunities to minimise latency at each stage, actually achieving better-than-broadcast latencies for live events. Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate (QVBR), where video compression adjusts automatically to the complexity of source content, improves the quality/bandwidth equation. Cloud-based machine learning will support the automation of time-consuming, repetitive data-driven tasks.

Industry must focus on innovation to reignite growth in core services and fuel future...

For media and entertainment businesses at IBC, industry disruption and innovation will underpin most conversations, Accenture predicts. Here, the strategy, consulting and professional services leader lists three categories of innovation that will shine at this show: advanced advertising, blockchain and AI. The company also highlights the need to create a culture of innovation, and asks whether voice assistants are going to disintermediate brands.

Are we HDR ready?

We now have six different HDR systems. While the Ultra HD Forum has worked diligently to create and publish guidelines on how to implement these systems, having so many options has created industry confusion that has delayed HDR deployments. The live mixing of content in SDR with content produced in the various HDR systems seriously complicates live production. There are issues around mixing live with pre-produced content that has been produced with different light levels. The next step should be to define a small number of ‘universal’ profiles. As more UHD/HDR services come to market and we can judge the methodologies used, the industry will get closer to best practices and recommendations.

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