IBC 2010: What’s Exciting for Service Providers; What’s Exciting for Consumers
I was going to start with the same sentence as last time when returning from the IPTV World Forum in London: “sitting at a cafe in Heathrow airport sipping a cup of very good coffee…” But since the IBC 2010 was in Amsterdam, I had to say goodbye to The Netherlands by indulging in a portion of poffertjes. (If you don’t know what they are, you have not really explored the country). Anyway, IBC 2010 was exciting especially for us consumers. Large screens, 3D, 20-channel audio, video on any device (sorry no toasters yet), interactivity, personalization, more commercials (sorry, did not mean to be facetious), combination with social networking (c’mon, get off Facebook at least while watching movies). All the new technologies are giving us more freedom in what, where, when, on what device and with whom we watch. That should be all good, right? It should also give us access to more content that suits our personalities, family values, sense of humor and so on. Yet more is not necessarily better – personal recommendation engines that have our interests in mind without compromising our privacy are coming to the rescue. At the end of the day, it is really up to all of us to make the right choices when spending our valuable time in front of the tube (in whichever form factor it comes today). Alright, philosophy aside, one thing that drew a lot of interest from content and service providers this year was a good old DVD player. You are wondering how could that be, right? OK, it was an off-the-shelf connected Blu-ray player (a.k.a. BD-Live), which allows any service provider to deliver their content to a device that millions of users already own. No custom integration, no special embedded applications – just an ordinary Blu-ray disc that launches a service provider’s entire VOD library (without competing with the maze of preinstalled applications and widgets).
And of course, even though we are talking about an over-the-top (OTT) delivery here, this is protected content that is perfectly suitable for a paid service. In addition, it is protected by AACS, which is natively implemented by every BD player and loved and trusted by studios (or so they tell me). It is actually pretty surprising with all the talk about standardizing DRM. Here is a device that can play the best HD content and already comes with a multi-vendor DRM system. The BD-Live technology also provides support for different business models and usage rules. The fact that this is a two-way connected device also enables service providers to update the look & feel, as well as functionality, online, which guarantees the user is always running the latest version of the service. From a security point of view, the dynamic entitlement control, monitoring of suspicious behavior possibly related to piracy attempts, ability to insert a user-specific forensic watermark and online revocation makes this service more secure than shipping traditional Blu-ray discs. And I almost forgot that the rich metadata, adaptive rate streaming and connection to other related information (e.g., IMDB) and services (e.g., buying a soundtrack at Amazon) makes me wonder why this is not offered by every service provider. As you can see, I am very excited about this – mainly because this technology is offered by Verimatrix and our good friends at RCDb. Read more here if you are as excited as I am. Hopefully, I saved you a long trip to Amsterdam although I cannot serve you virtual poffertjes (at least not in this decade). Let me know what you liked at IBC.