Navigating the Transition to All IP Video Delivery from the Mile High City
At SCTE’s Cable Tec Expo in Denver last month, I had the pleasure of presenting a session on "Navigating the Transition to All IP Video Delivery” as part of a workshop on the DRM Evolution – What it Means to You.
It is becoming increasingly clear that operators would prefer not to rely on two disparate delivery silos for QAM broadcasts and IP services, and that they also want to use available cable plant bandwidth in a more flexible manner. With the surging penetration of IP infrastructure in and between cable headends, many operators are investigating or starting to implement their transition strategies to an all-IP video delivery paradigm. This evolution requires an overall flexible platform capable of accommodating this transition, and operators are looking beyond the legacy duopoly for innovative solutions that can fully address their needs.
During the session, I explored several architectures and transition paths of how IP video can be implemented by U.S. cable operators, and explained the characteristics of each approach. Throughout the different approaches, revenue security is the common thread that it is interwoven. In fact, security is one of the fundamental decisions when designing these next-generation all-IP video delivery systems, as any security implementation is only as strong as its weakest link. Also, the security solution chosen today must support the operator during the transition as well as in the future.
Many members of the pay-TV ecosystem feel that DRM is highly dependent on only client device security in order to be effective. While client device security is important, there are so many other security considerations – ranging from video processing and workflow, content rights and device authentication, device playback architecture, and now onwards to subscriber and network data collection.
The purpose of security goes far beyond the defensive aspects of addressing piracy and theft of service to that of ultimately enhancing the subscriber’s quality of experience (QoE) while also bolstering the operator’s bottom line. Content protection has evolved from a “necessary evil” to a significant business model enabler. However, with the rich ecosystem of end-user devices and subscriber mobility, the operator must have a flexible head-end system to manage the complexity of digital content rights.
Saavy, progressive operators will keep this in mind as they develop and execute upon their IP transition strategies. In doing so, they will be able to offer subscribers a richer experience, with more personalized choices with regards to content, time and place. Against such a background, the pay-TV business model can remain healthy and vibrant as it evolves and transitions to the new environment.