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September 29, 2011

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Addressing Multi-screen Video Scalability beyond IBC 2011

Why am I sitting at the Schiphol airport cafe again? You guessed it – I lived through another successful IBC. No this time I'm not indulging on the famous Dutch poffertjes, but I did buy some old Dutch cheese. Yes Gouda, which my wife loves. Did you know thatGoudais a beautiful medieval Dutch city with traditional cheese making? If not, go and visit next time. I also bought tulip bulbs so that my daughters may watch Mother Nature perform miracles. So what was the topic of this year’s biggest digital TV conference? Well, actually, I was disappointed because it was multi-screen or any screen or something along those lines. But why is it disappointing you ask? Because we have been promoting this concept for years! And specifically securing premium pay TV content to all screens that subscribers find useful. In reality, I am really quite pleased that the industry finally caught up with our innovative security approach. Let me offer you my observation about at least one of the less obvious challenges related to delivering rich combinations of TV services to all these connected TVs and portable platforms.  The challenge is reproducing many aspects of the live TV experience in a scalable fashion. Therefore, we are firm believers that, as this market matures, Internet TV services will naturally need a combined solution for both on-demand and live consumption. None of the critical adaptive bitrate streaming protocols out there, specifically Smooth Streaming and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), have been defined in a way that makes it easy to support tens of thousands of concurrent subscribers watching a major live event such as the soccer World Cup in real time. When compared to the well-honed DVB broadcast technologies, some of the key issues of practical concern, like managing semi-synchronized key changes and addressing revenue leakage through re-broadcasting of various kinds, are not yet developed to scale in a streaming environment. Addressing these kinds of issues takes Internet TV to the commercial level necessary to truly reproduce the pay-TV service paradigm–and associated revenue models – with which we are all familiar. This is where our experience from the IPTV and DVB worlds comes in really handy; where content is distributed to millions of subscribers while managing device entitlement, device security and frequent real-time rights changes. If this makes you wonder if your current or planned multi-screen service scales beyond just a proof of concept or a friendly trial, give us a call. We are happy to show you how our VCAS for Internet solves this problem without installing a large number of servers in your head-end. And don’t forget to stop by an old-fashioned cheese farm while visiting Gouda.

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