IPTV is Dead, Long Live IP & TV: Significance of Comcast's Fiber Network
Comcast Media Center has just announced its new fiber-based solution to more efficiently deliver a complete wholesale programming lineup to cable MSOs and its HITS affiliates. Why is this such a big deal? Our assessment is that the new platform is one facet of a seismic shift in the cable industry that has been long dominated by few technology choices and closed ecosystems. IP-based technologies have now taken center stage as cable MSOs are recognizing the cost and business model advantages of delivering video through a new class of flexible, efficient and highly adaptable service platform. Cable operators – and their subscribers – are ultimately going to benefit from a new freedom to choose the latest technologies as they take their business forward.
IP distribution in the core network will lead inexorably to IP distribution to the consumer, who will be able to take advantage of new advanced customer premise equipment for subscription services to the big screen - and have the opportunity to access parallel Internet TV or OTT services using open adaptive rate streaming technologies. Comcast Media Center’s CEO Gary Traver put it this way, “Fiber delivery has the bandwidth and resiliency to deliver the large number of video services and encoding formats that can help MSOs compete in today's environment. The HITS fiber-based solution offers a reliable and potentially cost-effective content delivery method that an MSO can leverage in their long-term business strategy to add future services and revenue streams. ” What a change from the view of IPTV just a few years ago! IP is not just for telcos that need to defend their subscriber base from the triple play ambitions of cable MSOs. This is surely a confirmation of IP as a central technology in all modern digital TV delivery systems. Several years back, we predicted that all video delivery systems will be simply be referred to as digital TV, and that IP will underpin almost every aspect regardless of whether it is a telco TV service or a hybrid satellite/broadband combination. With Comcast Media Center’s announcement, this is truer than ever. We are very proud to be a part of this deployment and be able to work with our partner, Harmonic. This is not only an important development for us, but for the industry. Do you feel we are overstating the significance of this industry shift? Let us know.