As we head into the summer, it’s time to catch up on your reading. If you missed it, we encourage you to take a look at Videonet’s recent report “Making all TV multi-screen TV” for some details on the multi-screen phenomenon that has become the hot topic in the industry.
For some additional insight into the world of multi-screen video, Andy Salo, who is responsible for RGB’s adaptive streaming products and technology initiatives, answers some questions, giving you more to think about before you head out on your summer vacation.
What main point should operators take away from the recent Videonet report, “Making all TV multi-screen TV?”
If operators haven’t developed a multi-screen strategy or are not at least planning for it, they are already behind. The world is changing and simply providing one type of video delivery isn’t enough anymore – operators must evolve to remain competitive. This applies across all operators – cable, mobile, and telcos.
With the expansion of video beyond traditional TV services, how must operators adapt to ensure continued advertising revenues?
Advertising revenue is the life blood of many operators. As you would expect, the methods for signaling and delivering advertising are well understood in traditional TV models, for example SCTE 30/35.
While multi-screen presents significant opportunities for operators, it also presents advertising challenges, as there are no well established ad delivery standards across this multitude of devices. RGB is expanding its leadership role in transcoder-based ad insertion by extending ad insertion capabilities to multi-screen delivery protocols, so that our customers can benefit by having a single solution across multiple screens. This tight integration of transcoding, packaging and ad insertion across devices promises to eliminate a looming headache for operators as they take their trials and deployments to the next level.
As RGB deploys multi-screen solutions in the field, what is the biggest challenge that customers are looking to RGB to solve?
The biggest multi-screen concerns we hear from our customers are frankly, scale and complexity. Many operator customers are already deploying phased rolls outs, and when doing so they quickly realize how multi-screen adds a level of network volume or complexity that might be more than they anticipated.
If you think about the basic premise of how multi-screen delivery works, you see why this makes sense. With multi-screen, for every program you are typically taking one inbound video stream and transcoding it 4, 8, or 12 times into the multiple bitrates and resolutions needed to deliver correctly formatted content to smart phones, tablets, PCs, and set-top boxes. This can turn a “hundreds of streams” problem into a “thousands of streams problem” very quickly.
Combine that with different adaptive streaming delivery protocols like Apple HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, and Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming, and you can have a “multi-dimensional” multi-screen delivery problem. RGB anticipated this challenge and built our solution to provide the highest capacity and most flexible video delivery infrastructure in the industry, and that helps our customers easily address even the biggest scaling and complexity concerns.
What does multi-screen mean to operators for security?
One of the most fundamental shifts in multi-screen delivery is the implication for content security. Once content delivery is extended to traditional IP or over-the-top (OTT) networks, Digital Rights Management (DRM) becomes a big issue. RGB is excited to be working with partners like Verimatrix to address our customers’ combined needs for content delivery plus securing that content across the network.
As multi-screen services become more widely deployed, what will be the next big hurdle encountered by operators?
As if today’s challenges weren’t enough! Seriously, we are seeing the early stages of multi-screen deployments and there are significant near term challenges (or opportunities) that our customers are facing such as those mentioned earlier like scale, complexity, and DRM, as well as simply devices from different vendors operating together in a cohesive ecosystem.
Longer term we see operators wanting to monetize this multi-screen traffic in ways that expand and complement what they are doing today. Through our efforts in standards bodies and partner integration we will continue to promote and encourage standards relating to monetizing traffic and third-party device interoperability, which will be key to providing long term value to our operator customers and ultimately, their customers.
Tags: Adaptive Streaming, Advertising