Cable operators have shown a great tenacity during the past several years. They have morphed from being one-trick video ponies to providers of voice, video and data. At the end of the day, however, cable operators’ main product -- the one they really depend upon -- is video.
And video is changing. The movement of video from traditional television sets to smartphones and tablets is a big challenge to multiple system operators (MSOs). Heavy Reading, in a study sponsored by broadband equipment vendor Arris Group, suggests that the use of alternative devices will accelerate. The study, according to Light Reading, found that operators and vendors think multiscreen video – TV Everywhere (TVE) – is still in its infancy.
To date, cable operators have been in the technical and marketing test and tinkering stages. During the next two years, the study found, two-thirds of the surveyed operators actually will start trying to make a buck – quite a few, in fact -- on multiscreen. The money is expected to come from some combination of advertising, mobility charges, transactional charges or simply higher subscription fees.
The challenge for service providers of all stripes is monumental. Jan Ozer at Streaming Media offers a highly technical overview of what has to happen for all the operating systems and formats that underlie modern mobility to be supported.
Ozer offers a graphic that illustrates the confusion. On one axis is the distribution formats: DASH, HLS, Flash and HTML5. On the other is the potpourri of devices that must be served: set-top boxes, smart TVs, retail OTT devices (such as Roku), operating systems and computers/notebooks.
These elements were not built to fit together snugly. It truly is a Tower of Babel. The rest of the article describes the intense level of complexity involved in the effort to support all devices that consumers will buy.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.