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Junio 2, 2011

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Signs of Multi-screen Video Maturity

Verimatrix recently co-sponsored Videonet report with RGB Networks, “Making all TV multi-screen TV,” that provided an in-depth analysis on the approaches operators are considering when introducing, and effectively scaling, multi-screen video services. We’ve received an overwhelming response to the report and we feel that’s because it hits on some major issues operators are currently dealing with, such as the infrastructure challenge, how to ensure revenue security across multiple devices, and tackling universal content rights that appeal to both the consumer and the content owner. Based on the feedback we’ve had so far, we thought it would be valuable for Steve Oetegenn to expand on some key points from the report.

  • What were you hoping to elucidate with the recent Videonet report, “Making all TV multi-screen TV?”

This report is timely and is another indication of the maturing of the over-the-top (OTT) video marketplace. Consumer expectations have driven the need for multi-screen TV and we are at a point where the technologies and standards are catching up for operators to enable such services – and operate them in a way that complements their more established business streams. Now we are talking about how to more effectively scale and monetize these services; how to combine on-demand content (which has dominated OTT video) with live content; and how to deliver it over different networks to different devices without sacrificing quality of experience. This is an exciting time because progressive operators are setting the bar for what is possible. The technology and business decisions they are making are critical to meeting consumer expectations and long-term development of the market.

  • How do you see subscription-based and ad-based TV models co-existing in multi-screen services?

Informal polling results from our recent Light Reading webinar illustrated what the market is also seeing – operators taking a mixed approach to revenue extension, just as they have done on more traditional delivery platforms. The more you look at pure online offers today, the more they look like subsets of traditional cable operator models.

LR Webinar polling question crop

  • What type of standards will need to be established to secure multiplatform content across different network domains and native DRM schemes?

Actually multiple DRMs and hand-offs during delivery seems like a highly unlikely scenario to us for the most part. The trend appears to be towards efficient and effective end to end models of cloud based services. The future development of these approaches seem likely to adopt “security neutral” forms of content distribution and service protection such as HLS, DECE/Ultraviolet CFF and YouView’s choice of Marlin. (Read more on this topic in ScreenPlays) The use of DTCP-IP in the home is a counter example with a single “conversion” point in a home gateway, but one that is again vendor neutral in concept, enabling technology solutions to be created that add significant value to the underlying solution.

  • What is Verimatrix’s strategy to ensure interoperability within a multiplatform world?

We have launched a strategy that offers two directions in support of optimizing and extending our customers service umbrella. The first of these is certainly a focus on supporting a widely deployed standard for advanced adaptive streaming, which we believe is HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) at this point. Our value proposition here is to provide additional authentication and entitlement capabilities to existing device implementations and match more of what a commercial premium service is looking for. Clearly, this involves supporting many lightweight client implementations, but this is well rehearsed territory for us in the IP set-top box space. The second is in response to a clear recognition that not all devices targeted by a given service operator will use a single protection mechanism or even similar file formats. However, it will remain important for operators to manage rights of all devices in concert and it will be vitally important that the consumer experiences a highly uniform and pervasive service offering. The Verimatrix MultiRights strategy provides an answer for this by licensing critical third party technologies and providing them under a common management umbrella.

  • With operators facing major transition points for their network (e.g. analog to digital or MPEG 2 to MPEG 4), is there a common security consideration that will more easily enable multi-screen services?

Multi-screen services are just one aspect of an operator seeking to optimize commercial opportunities – and such network transitions are all a part of this kind of picture. Verimatrix provides a single security approach that addresses many aspects of the new commercial opportunities that our operator customers wish to exploit, which is in contrast to the highly siloed approaches of legacy conditional access (CA) providers.

  • Where does digital watermarking come in?

Watermarking is a powerful tool that we bring to bear in a layered revenue security approach. The most interest in this extra layer has been for high value, early release content where high resolution video-on-demand (VOD) services offer a tempting point of interception for content pirates and we need to offer a multi-level, layered security approach. It’s not obvious at present that the value of pirated video copies at mobile screen resolutions warrants the use of this additional security layer, but as screen sizes and service resolutions grow this will become significantly more important. We will be launching our new server-based watermarking solution at CableNET. Stay tuned. Click here to view the Videonet report. Send us a comment or question that you feel hasn't been addressed for the roll-out of multi-screen video services.

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