Flexibility and robustness critical to multiscreen success according to new Parks Associates white paper

The growing consumer demand for TV Everywhere services that deliver seamless experiences on every platform and screen has transformed the PayTV and content distribution industries. However, to ensure that services are compatible with every device, services need to be flexible.

It is crucial that operators keep this consumer demand for easy access at the forefront of their multiscreen strategy. 40% US PayTV subscribers already receive personalised video recommendations on a weekly basis but how good are these suggestions if content can’t be accessed on every screen because rights restrictions limit its distribution to a certain type of device?

These are the key findings of the recent Parks Associates white paper entitled “The New Reality: Tomorrow’s Multiscreen, Multirights World”, which examines the new direction for multiscreen services and the overall role of the operator.

The paper looks at the impact the proliferation of new devices and multiscreen features has had in shaping the current TV landscape and how a strategic, planned design approach will allow operators to retain audience loyalty and generate new revenues going forward. Parks Associates has identified flexibility as an essential component for operators as they look to solidify themselves as market leaders in the TV market. While consumers want to access content on every platform, they are more likely to adopt a service if it is convenient. An easy setup is essential, as consumers expect their TV service to replicate the ease of use of their smart devices, while search and discovery features need to be easy to use and tailored to the viewer’s personal habits and tastes.

The white paper reveals that most development is software-based, which provides more efficiency at a lower cost, since operators don’t require subscribers to change their set-top boxes to access these new services. These software developments include the visible user interfaces, apps, search and discovery and browsing capability, as well as security, which is increasingly crucial as access to content becomes ever more ubiquitous. This enables operators to comply with the content industry’s security requirements in order to offer high quality content catalogues on every device.

The paper concludes that flexibility will be the key differentiator as operators launch multiscreen services that can adapt to the multiplicity of devices, features, rights, security and business models that keep evolving at a frantic pace.

If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of the white paper, please visit: http://eu.access-company.com/whitepaper-download.html

ANGA COM turns to multiscreen to share content everywhere

ANGA COM, the Exhibition and Congress for Broadband, Cable & Satellite, celebrated its 15th birthday earlier this month. This year’s event focused upon the current state of the broadband market, as well as future considerations for network operators, vendors and content providers all over Europe. The advent of multiple connected devices is creating challenges for operators as consumers expect to be able to share content freely between a number of screens ranging from the traditional living room TV to tablets and increasingly out of the home with a smartphone or via the connected car.

With over 450 exhibitors and 17,000 participants, ANGA COM bettered last year’s attendance. The show was full of solutions which aim to manage content delivery in an increasingly connected world, regardless of the source. The issue of content delivery was prevalent throughout ANGA and virtualization was one word which could be heard repeatedly throughout the show floor and during the conferences. It provides evidence of the clout that the cloud has in the video industry and it’s clear that it has an integral part to play in the future of video delivery. How companies choose to address this should make for a compelling few years as they seek the best way to utilize the space.

The second day of ANGA COM started with a breakfast session hosted by our partner Verimatrix. All participants confirmed that cable and satellite distribution is still going strong, and a secure IP-only world is still the ultimate goal.

ACCESS Media Gateway Solution - Protected content sharing to CE devices
ACCESS Media Gateway Solution – Protected content sharing to CE devices

However, it is widely regarded by those in the industry that multiscreen is the dominant force currently in the marketplace and the one most likely to ensure premium content can spread extensively and at the same time generate increased revenue. Multiscreen was discussed at length during the show, demonstrating that  the market is now ready to adopt efficient delivery systems such as our own, which have the ability to make robust multiscreen possible for all. ACCESS has developed standards-based solutions which allow operators to deliver content to any screen in the connected home. Additionally, our integration of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) enables secure, interoperable media sharing inside and outside the home.

As the entire industry looks towards TV everywhere and multiscreen as the next great TV revelation, we are looking forward to the developments that will be launched on the run up to IBC, where all key trends in the market will be discussed and demonstrated.

ANGA COM 2015 will take place on June 9 -11, 2015, in the Messe Koeln in Cologne, Germany.
Photo copyright ANGA Services GmbH

Newly launched DLNA CVP-2 guidelines remove the multiscreen device fragmentation roadblock

Last week, the DLNA announced the official publication of the new CVP-2 guidelines, which were developed by service providers in conjunction with some of the world’s largest CE manufacturers and technology suppliers including Comcast, Cox and Samsung. The aim of the new guidelines, which we discussed in January, is to enable operators to launch truly interoperable multiscreen services, responding to an increase in consumer demand for TV Everywhere. In light of the staggering number of DLNA certified products (336 million DLNA Certified smartphones expected to be sold in 2014 according to the DLNA), it is clear that the official launch of the guidelines comes at the right time. DLNA Certified Device growth is due to reach 7.32 billion by 2018, providing exciting opportunities for operators.

CVP-2 preserves content provider rights and ensures interoperability through protected streaming by leveraging DTCP-IP, which allows access to subscription TV throughout the home and across all enabled devices. This unique specification ensures that content can be shared securely between devices in a user’s home. However, it also ensures third parties outside of this network cannot access it. By providing ‘studio confident’ security, operators enable content owners and copyright holders to remain in control of the media sharing experience.

From a consumer perspective, it enables the seamless streaming of content to a multitude of compatible devices, allowing them to enjoy the full range of high quality content including HD programmes, movies, DVR content, channel guides, and other premium features on any screen in the home. Consumers now want the ability to watch premium content while moving from one room to the next, allowing technologies supporting HTML5 to come to the fore as they offer remote user interfaces that fit every screen. This enables operators to deliver a seamless experience across all screens, meaning that the user can start watching content on the living room screen and enjoy it as the consumer moves from one room to the next. The new guidelines, backed up by one of the most efficient standardisation organisations in the industry, empower operators by enabling them to deliver services that comply with both content providers’ and consumer demand.

CVP-2 provides many advantages for operators, which can be utilized to deploy multiscreen. These include:

– leveraging standardised technologies such as HTML Remote User Interfaces (RUI), HTTP adapted delivery and authentication to combine with current DTCP-IP Link Layer Protection
– ensuring that networked devices are green and conserve energy in line with power regulations and DLNA’s own voluntary initiatives. There is a built in mechanism for DLNA devices to display energy management functionalities for each of its network interfaces
–  catering for remote diagnostics and optimises the consumer viewing experience by including support for MPEG-DASH, an adaptive delivery technology for high-quality streaming which can deal with any bandwidth variation on the home network. It can support the adaptive delivery of content based on MPEG-2 TS and MP4 formats as well as for 3D video media format profiles and the modifications needed to allow the smooth insertion of advertisements.

ACCESS will demonstrate CVP-2 integration on the CableNET booth at the Cable Show in San Francisco (April 29th – May 1st).

Extending DLNA throughout the Connected Home leveraging CVP-2

The traditional TV model, including the ritual of gathering around the living room TV, is increasingly a thing of the past as the worldwide adoption of video-capable consumer electronic (CE) devices has enabled TV consumption anywhere, on any screen and at any time. Although this innovation is exciting for consumers, it has forced operators to rethink their strategies, posing increased challenges when designing user interfaces (UIs) and securing media sharing experiences.

In reaction to these challenges, the DLNA has developed the new Commercial Video Profile (CVP-2) guidelines, which aim to help operators meet the latest security requirements for the delivery of premium content Pay-TV, VOD and catch-up services.  Before multimedia sharing can emerge, operators must provide a system that natively includes three key multiscreen technologies that are vital when responding to customer expectation and providing a reliable, assured service.  These technologies include the deployment of HTML5 for portability and meeting the content industry’s security needs through CVP-2 with the integration of DTCP-IP Link Layer Protection.

The first of these technologies is a response to the demand for single UIs across devices, which can be solved through deploying HTML5.  HTML5 allows operators to develop “write once, play anywhere” content applications across a range of browsers and platforms. Through native integration, HTML5 enables the repurposing of single codebases, resulting in reduced development costs and the provision of a unique UI for every device.

Meeting the content industry’s security concerns is a critical enabler for multiscreen media sharing experiences.  The CVP-2 guidelines will be published in 2014 and provide the additional layers required to deliver secure content to the end user. This new standard enables secure playback across multiple devices whilst strengthening protection for copyright owners and content providers. By leveraging standardised technologies such as HTML Remote User Interfaces (RUI), HTTP adapted delivery and authentication to combine with current DTCP-IP Link Layer Protection; operators are able to provide ‘studio confident’ security and a more efficient articulation between the home network and connected devices. Traditionally, access networks have been preferred to the home network for the distribution of valuable content.  However, access networks require each device to interface directly with the network and aren’t operable with other networks and devices.  The DLNA specifications are designed to remove this issue by simplifying content sharing across CE devices on a local network.  DLNA and CVP-2 ensure that metadata and the UI can be shared in a format understood by all DLNA devices, so that operators can simplify the distribution and monetization of content by leveraging standardised applications and devices.

I believe that implementing the standard is just one part of the game. The development of an API security layer is the final technology component, and is vital to the success of multiscreen media sharing. The API layer integrates with existing CA, DRM and Cloud systems, enabling operators to deliver the most advanced security framework for the end user.  While DRM offers models to increase content distribution and usage, it’s also crucial in the prevention of illegal content distribution.  DRM extends device reach and limits operational costs to improve the process of content rights acquisition, efficiently enabling operators to meet the security requirements that are compulsory in providing multiscreen access and premium quality.

The three key elements (Security, a consistent UI and seamless integration with existing systems)  are  all standards-based and naturally interface with already available components while providing ‘studio confident’ secure solutions for operators to deliver multiscreen on a variety of devices. By doing so, CVP-2 will increase revenue for operators while providing customers with continued access to great quality multiscreen on multiple devices.

HTML5 and Responsive Design ensures broadcasters can optimise the multiscreen experience whatever the screen size

HTML5 and responsive designs
A recent study led by the Council for Research Excellence, a UK-based organisation specialising in research for the industry, found out that screen size impacts the multiscreen behaviours in a noteworthy way: the smaller the screen, the more likely the end user’s activities are related to what is happening on the primary screen. This creates additional challenges for monetization specialists as a bigger screen also means in-programme advertising is becoming irrelevant and commercial breaks can’t be used to their full potential. This is an issue, but help is at hand: Responsive Design can ensure the viewer experience is optimised on the fly for any screen size.

Responsive Design is a technique aimed at crafting websites and user interfaces (UI) to provide an optimal viewing experience on any screen. It relies heavily on HTML5, which provides the ability to lay out the user interface proportionally and to use CSS3 media queries to adapt to the screen resolution of the display device. For broadcasters and content providers, the global adoption of the h.264 standard within browsers and silicon vendors enables content to be delivered and consumed on mobile devices, even those that don’t support Flash, in appropriate resolutions or to be scaled on-the-fly depending on the device and the available bandwidth.

As consumers come to grips with the idea of using their smartphone or tablet as a universal access and control device for the connected home, ensuring a seamless experience across devices to help speed adoption is crucial, and this is what Responsive Design helps to address. HTML5 offers a simple solution by providing an environment naturally suited to creating content compatible with any device and screen size through Responsive Design’s key component of on-the-fly smart experience scaling. This enables the easy delivery of content on any device, without bespoke development time for each screen size.

A key aim of using Responsive Design is for service providers, content owners and broadcasters to more effectively monetize the video assets they provide to consumers by offering these across a wider range of devices.

Monetization through tracking the consumer so that targeted advertisements or other relevant information services can be offered is often perceived as complicated on a mobile device, typically due to the absence of cookies for persistent storage. Although this means traditional ways of storing customer information cannot be put to use on a mobile device, HTML5 provides various modules to store information about how the consumer interacts with content on a specific device: SessionStorage, which only stores information during a period of time, the ‘session’ opened by the consumer and available until closed; or LocalStorage, which can store information directly on the device.

HTML5 has already become the standard in mobile video content delivery and is fast becoming a standard for multiscreen due to the inherent developer-friendliness of the technology, its existing dominance in mobile, and its many advantages for the TV by allowing a single, branded experience across many devices. In summary, be it for end users or content providers looking for a consistent experience across all devices, or for broadcast specialists looking for efficient ways to monetize the content watched on any screen HTML5, Responsive Design provide broadcasters with the perfect development environment to efficiently develop and launch compelling multiscreen experiences.

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