In Broadcast - July 2012 - 47
ISSUE 10 - JULY 2012 | WWW.INBROADCAST.COM
The Reality Of Everywhere Media Cont.
speed of existing 2G and 3G networks. The arrival of 4G, LTE and WiMAX mobile services in the USA and Far East have seen data rates increase dramatically, to speeds exceeding broadband connections in some instances. The implications for HD and even 3D transmission are clear. Quick to exploit the potential, Verizon’s viewdini streaming video service launched in May allows customers to access a one-stop shop for movies and television shows provided by Comcast Xﬁnity, Hulu Plus, mSpot, Netflix and Verizon Video. This service delivers content that is either available for free, by subscription or for renting / purchase to subscribers to the operator’s service. Encoding manufacturers such as Telestream, Digital Rapids and Viewcast are behind the encoding of this content to portable devices. The latter’s Niagara 9100, for example, is built to stream in a variety of standard formats Adobe Flash H.264, Microsoft Live IIS Smooth Streaming and Apple HTTP live streaming among many others – but its 3GPP/3GPP2, MP4 container support make it particularly well suited to the delivery of mobile TV. uninterrupted growth. “240 million mobile smartphone users to stream TV services by 2014” claims a report from Juniper Research. “The number of global IPTV subscribers will grow from 44 million at the end of 2010 to 111.5 million in 2014, a compound annual growth rate of 26%” claims the new IPTV Global Forecast from MRG. Are these views shared by industry insiders? Goran Appelquist, CTO at Edgeware, a technology leader in Distributed Video Delivery Network platforms, sheds some light on how the market sees the future. How will picture and sound quality develop in the next five years? Applequist believes that there will be “probably no major improvements for delivery through managed networks to STBs, where current HD quality is at the ‘good enough’ level and the cost for updating the infrastructure will be high. For content delivered to other devices, such as tablets, PCs and smartphones, and for OTT content to connected TVs we will see signiﬁcant quality enhancements based on new compression technology, such as the upcoming H.265/HVC standard. We will most likely start to see ‘higher-thanHD’ resolutions being used, ﬁrst introduced on high-resolution IP connected devices, such as tablets and laptops.” Appelquist envisages that “interactivity will increase, especially around targeted ads.” Cash is, ultimately king. He continues: “The main changes will most likely not be on the main delivery, but on supporting services, such as recommendations, metadatabased search and social networking around content.” He expects viewing habits to adapt: “The living room will still be a primary place to watch premium, long-form content, but more and more viewing will move to portable devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones). Also in the living room, secondary screens will be used for navigation and social networking around content, as well as to get auxiliary streams with related content.” So the remote control is not about to disappear, Appelquist adds: “Linear still has its place for sports and news, which are linear / live by nature, but also for laidback viewing, which will still be the preferred option for many.” Why this unremittingly hopeful outlook? Firstly, the viewing and interactive experience is improving and becoming readily available to us all. Secondly, the ability to create, deliver and monetise high quality media everywhere is ﬁnally a reality. A final case study serves to support the positive approach of the streaming industry. Earlier this year, the Czech Republic’s TopFun video on-demand service upgraded its systems with the help of Visual Unity. The new services distributes media streams commonly broadcast via satellite and cable TV to smart phones, iDevices, set-top boxes and Smart TVs. It now offers secure, live multi-screen content distribution to mobile devices and real-time transcoding of 15 live channels in SD and HD. Plans are in place to expand the system to 30 channels. TV everywhere is clearly now a reality. In the next few years, we may need to ﬁnd a haven from this multimedia deluge. ■
Curzon-On-Demand Launched 2012
the news or watching sports programming on a small screen, there are some genres – natural history documentaries, drama and cinema for example - that cry out for the best visual experience possible. Even in this domain, streamed content is gaining ground on DVD and Blu-ray disks. The popularity of services such as Netflix and LoveFilm Instant are evidence that consumers are increasingly taken with on-demand movies over the internet. Another recent example is that of Curzon’s new Samsung Smart TV app. Describing itself as “the curated online cinema experience” and made possible thanks to the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Curzon-onDemand streams independent ﬁlms to subscribers screens in HD. The service is powered by Capablue’s Connected Plus which enables multidevice, multi-territory download with content available on a pay-as-yougo basis. Unlike the early VHS rental industry, selected ﬁlms are available to view simultaneously in the cinema, or in the home. The following link shows a short trailer of Curzon-on-Demand in action: http://ow.ly/bZm1Z
At IBC 2011’s Future Zone, SVC4QoE (a name that will pull few punters) demonstrated highly intelligent system that enables networks – DVB or mobile - to transmit the same content in several quality grades in an efﬁcient way. The solution monitors the quality of experience of the end user, determining the best signal for which a device can receive at any one moment in time. In this way a broadcaster can ensure that viewers constantly get the best picture their device can receive, whether on a smartphone or on a TV. For audiences located in the fringes of a transmitter’s range, it could spell the end of picture breakups. While adaptive bitrate technology has made a signiﬁcant contribution to the accessibility of video on-demand and live streamed media over broadband, the SVC4QoE project, run by a consortium that includes Thomson, AccepTV and Teamcast, could open up the same quality of experience for mobile viewers who can now switch between several sources of live data in real-time.
From the art house to the gladiatorial battles that unfold at Anﬁeld, the home of Liverpool FC, the need to reach out to and engage with fans is of paramount importance. Claiming hundreds of thousands of global supporters, the football club has a colossal task ahead of itself if it wants to communicate effectively. A great deal of its effort is channelled, literally, through online video, with the help of Stream UK. Liverpoolfc.tv claims to be the most successful online video subscription service of any football club in the world. Delivering content through Level 3, the platform is enabled for social media interaction and provides real-time audience analytics to the customer.
Mobile Catches Up
In much of the world streaming is restricted to devices connected to WiFi and ﬁxed line networks. The slow launch of mobile TV using cellular networks is down to the
The streaming industry is optimistic. It is predicting massive,
Liverpool FC, powered by Stream UK