It seems the beginning of the year brings two things—an endless slate of college football bowl games and everyone’s lists of trends in the broadband industry. Last week, we revealed our top ten predictions for 2012. We’re always eager to compare notes with the broadband press, so we eagerly awaited CED Magazine’s annual “Broadband 50”—the top trends and benchmarks as determined by CED’s learned editors and “high-ranking industry execs.” Not surprisingly, they chose a number of topics related to IP video—a subject near and dear to us at RGB:

#1 – IP Migration: A perfect circle: IP continues its inexorable progression to being the basis of all the services operators offer, not just video. The pace is quickening though as operators realize they can take advantage of the flexibility and economic advantages of IP to expand their TV Everywhere services.

#6 – Multiscreen on the move: TV Everywhere has left the proverbial drawing board for real-world mobile devices, and though not fully ready for primetime, advanced trials and early deployments are progressing nicely thanks to second generation transcoding and adaptive streaming technologies.

#12 – Transcoding for multiscreen: So many different viewing platforms, so many different screen sizes, so many different networks, and programming coming to headends in both MPEG-2 and H.264 – you bet TV Everywhere requires transcoding, and a lot of it (no complaints here!).

#20 – Putting the advertising puzzle together: Interactive “clickable” ads remain poised to move from trials into the mainstream, as are hyper-targeted ads, a leading-edge revenue booster we first discussed here.

#24 – Adaptive bit rate streaming: The secret sauce for seamless video delivery to mobile devices and PCs, adaptive streaming compensates for the bandwidth fluctuations inherent in today’s overburdened networks. Now a requirement for streaming video, look for more announcements from RGB in 2012 on additions that enhance our adaptive streaming solution.

#26 – TV Everywhere: Waiting game: Live TV on smartphones and tablets remains the next big thing. The technology is in place and we’ve had success in many trials in 2011, but it’s the content rights that are holding the industry back from full-scale deployments. With recent developments in this area, we believe the waiting game will soon be over.

It’s clear that IP video delivery will remain at the forefront of the broadband industry in 2012, with developments on both the technology and contents sides pushing it ahead. We look forward to helping make video a key component of the new mobile lifestyle for consumers around the globe.


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Not to be left out of the trend of posting a trends blog, we’ve put together a round-up of the key trends in IP video that we expect to see over the year ahead. Here are our top 10 predictions for 2012:

1. Increase in uptake of multiscreen IP video services

Over the coming year we can only expect the uptake of multiscreen solutions to continue increasing. With a greater number of IP devices available on the market than ever before (just take a look at what next week’s CES holds in store for usif you have any doubts), operators are going to continue to be pushed by consumers to up the ante on their TV Everywhere offerings.

2. Content remains king

Even as this posting was being written, things were changing in the world of content rights and we expect to see more. With Comcast and Charter signing significant content deals this week for multiscreen delivery, the landscape is shifting, opening up the floodgates for larger deployments of TV Everywhere services—declared by Neil Smit, president and chief executive of Comcast’s cable division, to be “…the future of entertainment.”

3. Accelerated opportunities presented by the Olympics

The London Olympics is going to present a massive broadcast opportunity in 2012 with content streamed all over the globe. Network infrastructure will have to be ready and advertising solutions firmly in place if operators are going to truly capitalize on the opportunities available. And not too far on the heels of London, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will greatly accelerate the deployment of new television services in Eastern Europe (which we expect to be in evidence at the upcoming CSTB show in Moscow in February).

4. Advertising ups and downs

Talk of a double-dip recession will continue over the coming year, and with this will come concerns over the fate of the advertising market. New market opportunities, such as those presented by multiscreen strategies and adaptive streaming technologies, should work to alleviate these fears.

5. Social TV/second screen strategies will increase in use

The increased adoption of multiscreen strategies has led to changes in not only where content is viewed, but also how it is consumed in the home. A recent study by Ovum, a business/technology research firm in the U.K., found that almost 40% of TV viewers discuss particular TV shows via social media while they’re watching them. Adopting a ’second screen strategy’ will become the norm going into 2012 and operators will look to capitalize on this trend to encourage further loyalty and buy-in to programming.

6. Increase in sales of connected TVs

Research in this area suggests that this market is set to increase exponentially. According to Digital TV Research’s Connected TV Forecast report, the number of TV sets connected to the internet will reach 551 million by 2016, up from 124 million in 2010, bringing the IP video experience to the traditional living room TV (not to mention intense competition amongst manufacturers—especially if rumors of an Apple TV are true).

7. Increasing struggle to maintain subscriber loyalty

The competition is only going to increase further as more content is available and operators struggle to maintain loyalty in an ever crowded market. Traditional video service providers must deploy new services that support subscribers’ on-the-go digital lifestyle.

8. Standards still not standard

We expect to see progress in two important standards areas this year. A new adaptive streaming standard—MPEG DASH—has just been approved as a draft standard, with publication expected this March. We will be sharing some thoughts on the adoption of this new standard in a blog to be posted later this month. The second important area for standards development is for multiscreen ad insertion. After years of investment in SCTE standards, it will be important to integrate them with new adaptive streaming ad insertion techniques.

9. Working together

As you might imagine, delivering hundreds of streams to an ever-increasing number of devices isn’t an easy task—there are a lot of parts that must work smoothly together to ensure the reliable and efficient delivery of multiscreen IP video services. We closed out last year with the formation of a consortium of companies that delivers a best-of-breed multiscreen solution. We expect to see a lot of cooperation (by us and others) to continue to build out integrated solutions, adding new pieces as the ecosystem evolves and ensuring that operators have a proven solution for meeting their IP video goals.

10. Live TV continues to make its mark

Consumers may have benefited from the advent of on-demand services and this has altered the way that content is consumed, however, live TV continues to play a major part in consumers’ viewing habits. With competition-based shows like X Factor, American Idol, Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars that encourage voters to watch in real time, live sports and award show remaining as popular as ever, and the growing engagement of social TV tied into all of the above, live TV will certainly continue to hold its own.

What do you think about these trends? Do you agree with us? What have we missed? As always share your thoughts with us here!


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2011 has been a year of huge video moments. From the global screening of the UK’s Royal wedding, to the US’s equivalent, and from YouTube clips of national uprisings, to televised footage tracking the global Occupy movement—it has all been captured on camera and broadcast around the globe throughout 2011 on an increasing variety of screens.

In the world of RGB Networks, while the landmarks may not have not been as politically significant, there have certainly been many notable moments!

In the last of our blog postings for 2011, we have taken a look back over the year, and rounded up our top ten moments from 2011:

10. The Wall Street Journal ranks RGB as 13th most promising company in the U.S.

RGB was selected from a pool of more than 5,000 eligible start-ups to be recognized as one of the 50 most promising venture-backed companies in the U.S. What a way to begin the year!

9. Showing them what we’ve got

Providing us with the opportunity to meet with old friends and engage with new customers, trade shows are a huge part of RGB’s yearly calendar, but this year’s shows were a particular success. RGB stepped boldly into the mobile market at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where the announcement of many new video-enables devices helped ensure the future of mobile video. We made a huge splash at IBC with an abundance of operator interest in our multiscreen solutions and extensive coverage in the coveted IBC Show Daily. And we closed out the year with crowds of visitors at the SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo seeking out help to meet their multiscreen video challenges (and that’s only a few highlights!).

8. Award accolade awesomeness

This year saw a continuation of 2010’s award winning streak with multiple accolades received. From shortlists to award wins, RGB Networks has done it all in 2011. The trophy cabinet is simply bursting at the seams!

7. Adaptive streaming hits its stride

We saw increasing focus on adaptive streaming, with our customers taking significant interest in our TransAct Packager—praised by many operators for its numerous unrivalled attributes—and designing it into their IP video deployments.

6. It’s all about the money

Providers started considering ways in which to monetize their multiscreen offerings. This has ultimately led to an increased interest in advertising and second screen strategies as potential investors consider how to make a viable return on their investments.

5. Accelerated growth

Due to the strong worldwide demand for our next generation solutions, RGB’s lifetime product shipments propelled past $200 million early in the year. The pace of RGB’s growth is accelerating as we completed our second $100 million in shipments in two years compared to over three years for the first $100 million.

4. Making the Forbes top list

RGB’s sustained success was recognized by top business publication, Forbes magazine, with RGB named as one of America’s 100 most promising companies. It’s nice to not only be recognized for our technology leadership, but also for the strength of our overall business.

3. The birth of eVIA

In September, RGB Networks announced the launch of its Enhanced Video Intelligence Architecture (eVIA), a suite of products and technologies that provides for the integrated delivery and monetization of video to multiple screens over adaptive streaming delivery protocols with hyper-targeted ad insertion capabilities. This architecture represents the future of IP video delivery.

2. Customer deployments aplenty

This year RGB Networks was selected by the majority of top U.S. and Canadian cable and telco operators for their trials and deployments of multiscreen services, showing the excellence of RGB’s technology and the company’s strength in IP video delivery. European operators also recognized the advantages of RGB’s unique solutions, with Waoo! and Swisscom Broadcast, among others, going live with RGB-powered multiscreen deployments.

1. Multi-screen, multi-fabulous

Multiscreen solutions dominated industry headlines this year and even reached mainstream tech trends as TV Everyone becomes a common term. As the proliferation of tablet devices continues and consumer video consumption habits change, providers have increasingly become aware of the need to diversify their offerings to incorporate a multiscreen strategy.

And there you have it – our list of our top ten favorite 2011 moments! As always, we invite you to share your thoughts.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2012!


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OK, so the answer is fairly obvious: over-the-top (OTT) is a thropportunity. That is, it’s a threat that is creating an opportunity for traditional video service providers to offer their subscribers enhanced services and ultimately change a video delivery model that has been in place for decades.

As streaming services from the Hulus, Rokus and Netflixes of the world have gained popularity—with consumers enjoying the ability to watch video anywhere and on any device—the established operators are being forced to expand their offering beyond the television for viewing on iPads, PCs, smartphones and other mobile devices.

The ‘TV Everywhere’ model being undertaken by most operators around the globe—with recent launches by Cox, Rogers and Ziggo—is for operators to leverage the advantages of their managed network to deliver video streaming services with quality superior to what the OTT competitors can deliver piggy-backing on their networks. Simply, operators can apply considerable quality of service (QoS) controls to their own IP streaming services, ensuring adequate bandwidth is provided and that streaming traffic is prioritized. OTT providers have no control over the cable modem service and consequently cannot provide any real quality assurance. Rights issues are still at play in this scenario, but starting with a service confined to subscribers’ homes gives operators an entry into the streaming world as they negotiate rights with content owners to expand for on-the-go viewing.

And as they implement multiscreen IP video services, operators are learning that they can be technically quicker and easier to deploy. On the beta launch of their steaming iPad app, David Purdy, Vice President of Video Products at Rogers told CED Magazine, “The cycle times for innovation are much faster in the IP space, for sure.” He also stated that ultimately Rogers plans to move to all-IP for their entire video offering.

Despite the initial challenges, it is clear that video service providers need to move forward with a multiscreen offering in order to fight off the threat from OTT competitors and take advantage of the benefits of this new model (an added revenue bonus is the opportunity for hyper-targeted advertising that IP video opens up).

CNN just published their list of the top 10 tech trends for 2012, which includes TV Everywhere at #5, showing that this service is going mainstream—a clear sign that operators aren’t backing down from the threat, but instead seizing the opportunity.

The coming year should be an exciting one as we see more operators—large and small—taking control of their destiny. We look forward to continuing to help our customers to maximize the opportunity as they deploy this new generation of IP video services.


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eViaAs we reach the final stretch on the road to IBC, our special blog series moves on to a hot topic that’s been at the forefront of industry debate since the show last year.

Online and mobile viewing of premium video content including TV programming, movies, sports events and news is now mainstream. Driven by the increasing availability of low-cost, high-resolution desktops, laptops, tablets, and internet-enabled TV sets, consumers have rapidly moved through the ‘novelty’ phase of acceptance to expect that any media should be available essentially on any device over any network connection.

Where there is video service, there is often an advertising strategy in place to monetize the service. However, with numerous reports declaring the end of traditional TV advertising, it is vital that operators move quickly to ensure their business models remain lucrative.

In order to monetize premium video services over new protocols, a new video ad insertion infrastructure, leveraging open-standards, is required. At IBC, RGB Networks will be showcasing how it can help operators meet this need with its new adaptive HTTP streaming ad insertion ecosystem, which provides hyper-targeted ad insertion capabilities for the integrated delivery and monetization of video to multiple screens. Read today’s press release for more information.

HTTP streaming works via client playback of a sequence of HTTP-requested short video files or ‘chunks.’ Adaptive HTTP streaming allows the client to request chunks of the same content, encoded at different bitrates and resolutions (called profiles), so that, as network bandwidth changes, the client can download the best possible quality chunk at any point in time. This technology enables greater flexibility within the advertising industry – particularly in Europe – providing operators greater control over the adverts streamed to their target audience.

Operators will also be able to personalize content and advertising streams – a key factor in maintaining viewer interest going forward. Through adaptive streaming ad insertion, operators are provided with hyper-targeted advertising capabilities down to the neighborhood, device or even the individual. The ability to monetize their video services through effective ad targeting across not just one, but all devices, will be the ultimate differentiator for businesses looking to stay ahead of the pack.

On the whole, it’s clear that there is a lot of potential for the advertising industry going forward. While the traditional models may be classed as dead, new methods are breathing new life into the industry.

For more about RGB’s eVIA adaptive streaming ad insertion architecture, please download our white paper. And don’t forget to visit us on stand 4.C78 at IBC to see the technology in action.

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IBC 2011As we quickly approach IBC, today’s IBC special blog turns to the issue of sports. With big events, such as the European Champions League Final, drawing in viewing figures of 160 million through 113 broadcast partners in more than 220 territories, it’s safe to say that the transmission of sporting events is big business. As such, sports is one of the dominant themes for IBC this year, and the focus of this blog entry.

The countdown has already begun for the 2012 London Olympics, with 325 days remaining until the ‘greatest show on earth.’ Indeed, with the event already being heralded as the first truly digital Olympics, the organizers will be looking to outreach to as many viewers as possible around the globe, with both live and on-demand content.

Key to this will be the effective delivery of content to multiple screens – providing consumers with the ultimate flexibility in terms of how and when they view all the sporting action. However, operators will need to ensure that their networks are up to scratch and able to support the demands to play out these services to such high numbers of viewers. At this point in the evolution of multiscreen, and given the importance of this event, viewers are not going to tolerate any delay or jitter.

Secondly, the Olympics, and of course other large-scale sporting events, present an enormous revenue-generating opportunity for broadcasters. Advertising slots will be at a premium, but the real goldmine here will be making sure that advertising content is tailored to particular zones, devices, and even individuals – but more on that in our next posting.

So what are the essential steps for broadcasters looking to capitalize on this lucrative opportunity:

  • Multi-device IP video strategy – You don’t need to start with all devices at once, but you need to start now with a plan that will give you the flexibility and scalability to get there over time. Integrating infrastructure originally intended to target only one type of device can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, operators can easily and cost-effectively deploy IP infrastructure that will give them a future-proof multiscreen solution.

  • Ready your infrastructure – With all the content available from an event as large as the Olympics, making sure that your infrastructure can cope with the bandwidth-hungry video services that will result is critical. RGB Networks’ integrated multiscreen solutions enable providers to use their current headend space and bandwidth more effectively, without the high cost associated with upgrading their existing network infrastructure. Integrating a number of key functions into a single, high-density platform, including transcoding, transrating, grooming and aggregation, helps optimize both CAPEX and OPEX, as well as bandwidth on the network.

  • Real-time transcoding – Given the excitement of a mega-event like the Olympics, many people are going to want to watch events live and on the go. With an immense global viewing audience, operators must make sure they deploy a robust solution that can handle the enormous demands for reliable, high-quality content delivered in real time to a large number of devices, requiring a vast number of different output profiles.

  • Remember ROI – There is a great opportunity to be had through advertising. Whether capitalizing on social TV, or personally targeting audiences, this should be an integrated part of a provider’s strategy. Tune in later this week to find out more on this topic!

Is the delivery of live sporting content a big focus point for your organization? Let us know your thoughts on capitalizing on this huge opportunity!

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3DTV-IBCFollowing our previous IBC Special blog post on whether the set-top box industry is heading towards its expiration date, we aptly move on to address another market trend that has long been at the center of a “will it, won’t it” debate – 3DTV.

At last year’s IBC, 3DTV was absolutely everywhere. The show floor was awash with 3D television sets, 3D demos and people wearing those crazy glasses to view content. A year on, 3DTV is an official IBC 2011 “hot topic” and has continued to dominate industry headlines, with businesses across all aspects of the industry still racing to get their 3D products to market. 3D content is still being released in abundance, from gaming to live television shows to big screen films.

However, despite all the hype surrounding 3D, there are still doubts as to whether a 3DTV business model is viable. The challenges associated with deploying bandwidth-hungry 3D services, including the cost and impact on the network infrastructure, can present one hurdle too many for providers in their endeavor to reconcile the consumer demand for low-cost and user-friendly content with their ability to supply a cost-efficient 3D service.

Indeed, there’s a distinct lack of evidence to support real-world success of 3DTV, and in the past two weeks alone, significant news stories seem to confirm that the expectations placed on 3D’s market potential are far from being realized. After only a year, AT&T recently dropped its flagship 3D sport channel – ESPN – citing cost of the service and low consumer demand. Two recent films relying on their 3D appeal to draw in audiences became the latest examples of how this selling-point may not be the savior of big screen revenues as had been touted. A study by Ofcom further demonstrates that 3DTV sales have barely taken off, with nearly ten times as many sales of connected TV sets for every 3DTV set sold in the UK over 2010.

Interestingly, along with 3DTV, connected TVs were also ubiquitous at last year’s IBC, making the multiscreen experience a key theme of 2010’s show. However, whereas multiscreen video services have seen significant uptake over the past year and are only continuing to grow – with connected device sales expected to rise 50% in 2012 – the build-up around 3DTV has only led to minimal returns for businesses.

It seems clear that the future lies in multiscreen services – but what do you think? Let us know!

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AwardsThere are several factors that can indicate the success of a product and we at RGB can check at least two off our list. We are having tremendous success in the field with our products in trials and deployment around the world. Our customers are finding the unique benefits of our products to be exactly what they need as they scale their multiscreen deployments to meet the growing demand from subscribers for video on any device. Stay tuned to this space for more details on this aspect of our success as our customers reach the phase where they’re prepared to go public with details.

A second key factor is the recognition by industry experts and respected organizations for innovation and unique contributions to the industry. In this vein, we are delighted to announce that RGB’s TransAct Packager and our combined VMG/TransAct Packager multiscreen solution have been named as finalists in the CSI Awards and the ConnectedTV Awards respectively, both to be presented at the upcoming IBC event.

Shortlisted for the “Best Mobile TV Technology” category for the CSI Awards, RGB’s TransAct Packager faces some worthy competition. While in the inaugural ConnectedTV awards, RGB’s combined VMG/TransAct Packager is up for the “Content Delivery Technology” award alongside several strong contenders.

We at RGB are thrilled about this recognition and believe it’s just one indication of what promises to be a very exciting IBC. We hope you’ll stop by our stand (#4.C78) at the show and learn more about our award-worthy solutions and other innovative developments to come.

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IP Settop BoxKicking off our IBC blog series is a topic which has dominated the media over the past year – the connected and multiscreened home of tomorrow. It’s a conversation which will inevitably be high on the agenda for most companies attending IBC 2011 this year as organizations scramble to ensure they don’t lose out in the battle for consumers – but which will win, the set-top box market or a move to IP?

The set-top box had until this point played a highly dominant role in the delivery of content to the home. However, recent figures have shown the market share starting to suffer, with Infonetics reporting a 10.2 percent decline in the global set-top box market in Q1 2011 to $3.1 billion (June 2011). While this was for the most part attributed to ‘seasonal trends’, it’s safe to say that the future doesn’t look too bright for this particular piece of technology, especially as operators are increasingly struggling with the operational challenges and high costs associated with this model.

After all, the nature of the game has changed. The introduction of the IP-connected TV has most certainly presented a threat, as has the increasing demand from consumers for content on any device. Both of these factors have ultimately led to questions surrounding the long term viability of the set-top box market. With ‘multiscreen’ such a hot topic, why would an operator migrate to a set-top box-based IPTV platform, when they can roll out IP streaming services and deploy intelligent IP devices that can pick up video in any format, through any network, anywhere their subscribers go?

Operators may not be there yet, but over time there will most certainly be a departure away from the set-top box model as the younger generation forces a shift in viewing habits away from the traditional home TV.

Let us know what you think.

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VMG-8As we get deeper into multiscreen trials and deployments, the team at RGB is working closely with our customers to address the challenges of delivering IP video to a plethora of devices. It was certainly a lot easier when you only had to worry about reaching the large screens of the televisions sitting stationary in subscribers’ living rooms. Now, we like to consume our video on the go on PCs, tablets, mobile phones and even gaming devices, and as the number of devices increases, so does the complexity of the delivery system.

RGB’s integrated solutions are designed to make these complexities more manageable and we’re keenly aware that the market is evolving quickly and it’s our responsibility to our customers to stay ahead of the challenges. This is why we’ve added a new member to our Video Multiprocessing Gateway product family—the VMG-8—along with making advancements to our transcoding module. Both of these developments offer our customers more transcoding capacity, while still delivering the scalability and reliability that they have come to rely on to keep their costs in check and their subscribers happy.

Read on for more details on this announcement and stay tuned over the coming weeks for more information that will help you to meet the challenges of multiscreen IP video deployments.

 

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