While a growing range of new consumer devices, video and distribution formats continue to create demand for more access to broadband networks, advanced video and entertainment services, the enormity of the challenge affects all service providers.Until now, only the largest operators had the capacity to integrate and roll out comprehensive next-generation TV ecosystems into their […]
While a growing range of new consumer devices, video and distribution formats continue to create demand for more access to broadband networks, advanced video and entertainment services, the enormity of the challenge affects all service providers.Until now, only the largest operators had the capacity to integrate and roll out comprehensive next-generation TV ecosystems into their existing business models. Only they had the resources to test consumer acceptance to ensure return-on-investment (ROI).
A few trendsetters include Comcast in the US with its “Xfinity on Demand” TV-everywhere service, the recent OTT extension “Streampix”, the BBC iPlayer, Sky Go and TV Anywhere services. While deploying residential gateways to enable in-home distribution of content is an approach that is rapidly gaining momentum, the race is still on for the most comprehensive models that enable access to content and services anywhere-anytime and on any device.
Launching multi-device and extended broadband services is often complex and costly, and good business models ensuring acceptable ROI are yet to be established. Service providers, pay TV operators and telcos looking to secure market position with multiscreen distribution require scalability the possibility to start small and grow big, and a business model that is futureproof.
In short, the race to enable future-driven and profitable content distribution has made it a level playing field for both long-time and new players. Both are scrambling to satisfy the consumers growing hunger to access and view content anytime and anywhere. The absence of established industry standards and best practices makes the choice of technologies and suppliers challenging.
Perhaps the only guarantee at present for multiscreen sustainability is CA and DRM solutions. Distribution platforms that enable support for multiple DRM solutions and a range of business models will be better prepared to support future CA/DRM requirements of new devices and new forms of distribution.
Connecting the head-end to the internet is a big challenge. To safeguard a sustainable and profitable business model, the entire OTT ecosystem must be secured. Content security continues to be a moving target. To ensure return on content and platform investments, the highest level of security is required for all devices. Technologies such as CA/DRM for preventing piracy are, by far, the most effective.
In the DVB arena, the major threat is illegal viewing using pirate STBs connected to the Internet. The only method of removing this threat is by chipset pairing technology. While chipset pairing is the most secure form of protecting content in the DVB arena, additional new technologies will become significant in securing cloud content.
Today, it is well-established that content protection from dedicated security hardware is superior to that offered by software running on general-purpose platforms. However, for content to be consumed “everywhere”, from tablets to smartphones, there is no such security hardware to leverage. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a security-optimised software solution for the various platforms. Hardening of software is crucial on such devices to compensate for the lack of secure hardware support. Watermarking of premium content, therefore, will become increasingly important in the future.
Although many solutions are available in the market, pre-integrated solutions can eliminate the weak link within unproven technology and service combinations in a complex OTT/multi-screen environment. A pre-integrated multiscreen solution provides flexibility and short time-to-market enabling focus on increasing ARPU through new business models for generating additional revenue streams.
In turn, operators are able to retain existing customers with new services. The benefits include increased network range, where cable and telco operators can extend their customer reach outside their home network by offering services over the top; the ability to sell content to consumers that are outside their traditional subscriber base, and reusing existing infrastructure such as networks and service centres. A pre-integrated, flexible and scalable solution can reduce time-to-market and operational complexity for delivering new services to connected devices. This will help increase revenues and reduce churn.
Tom Jahr is EVP Products & Partners at Conax