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June 15, 2010

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Consumer Subsidized TV: The Role of More Open Standards

As we head into summer, Internet TV remains a hot topic among network operators.  Over the next few weeks, we will explore the OTT opportunity, the challenges associated with Internet TV services, and how we think the adoption of more open standards can help bridge the gap between those challenges and opportunities. Read Post #1 here and Post #2 here Post #3:  Consumer Subsidized TV: The Role of More Open Standards The era of the dedicated set-top box (STB) for each service to a TV is definitely coming to an end. What is emerging is a picture that involves a series of platforms that can support service specific applications or widgets selected and managed by the consumer. These platforms may themselves be based around standards such that service operators can create the applicaOITVF logotions that engage the consumer. In certain kinds of systems, for instance the DirecTV view of the home media server, standards are only necessary to be able to share the content, they are not necessary to manage the device itself.  That device, therefore, can be a completely proprietary system that is wholly owned and subsided by the network or system operator. It is most likely project-canvas2-oproduced exclusively for that network operator, just like traditional STBs have been.  IP-based standards in such platforms also allows operators to cost-effectively deploy a security system and business rules that can satisfy all demands of content owners while creating the transparent usage model that consumers demand. We believe that IP and the sophisticated protocols built on IP are the common building blocks to make digital convergence happen inside the home.dtg One such standards activity is the Open IPTV Forum – a cooperative of technology companies that is seeking to create an end to end platform for the delivery of IP video services. Another recent initiative is Project Canvas propelled by the BBC in the UK.  A standard becomes important like this when it can enable multi-vendor participation.  As members of both the Open IPTV Forum and Digital TV (DTG), amohbbtv-logo_sourceng several other standards consortiums, we are seeing the central role that IP-based technologies are taking. However, we feel that a key component to these specifications is the ability to generate revenue. Creating the right experience that consumers are willing to pay for will most certainly generate continued innovation. We are watching Project Canvas and others like HbbTV closely, like the rest of the industry.

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