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).

Is Chromecast disrupting the multiscreen industry or just a gadget supporting today’s use cases?

Google Chromecast

Google’s recent launch of the Google Chromecast dongle has been all over the new: plugging a simple dongle into your TV and using your smartphone and tablet as a remote opens new doors for the industry.

So what is it? It’s really a pretty simple small dongle that can be plugged into a TV HDMI port to enable OTT content to be watched on a connected TV all controlled by your Android or iOS device – and most important of all it’s only $35. It supports both HTML5 and Flash, making it compatible with virtually all video content available online. It was sold out in hours on Google Play, proving that there is enormous demand for user-friendly tools that enable the consumption of Internet content on the TV.

However, security is an issue. Commentators discussing Google Chromecast report that it lacks any kind of basic password control: once plugged into the TV, Chromecast can be controlled by virtually anyone that comes by.

The idea that any device can become a remote for connected TVs is not new, popular standards such as Digital Living Network (DLNA) already provide this kind of functionality. Many TV’s support DLNA and operators are beginning to use DLNA to provide exciting new multiroom and multiscreen experiences without the requirement for additional hardware. These new use cases are supported by the DLNA Premium Video Guidelines, which have been designed to support operators and content owners looking to provide secure multiscreen experiences.

While DLNA already incorporates security requirements from Studios and Operator, the Chromecast device is still lacking such functionality. Operators can utilize DLNA distribution and utilize HTML5 and Responsive Design UI as the developments standards to launch exciting multiscreen experiences.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Chromecast can work with biggest players in the broadcast landscape. Until it can, it will remain an interesting gadget rather than a full-fledged connected TV environment. We believe that right now the most important impact of Chromecast is in adding impetus to the effort of operators working towards providing the high-quality multiscreen experiences controlled by the set-top-box and extending to all other connected devices through the browser.

DLNA and HTML5 combine to meet multiscreen challenges

The number of connected devices in households is growing fast. According to The NPD Group, the number of connected devices per U.S. Internet household has grown to 5.7, up from 5.3 devices just three months ago. And Cisco predicts that the global number of connected devices is set to exceed the number of humans this year.

The consumer wants to use all these connected devices to be able to interact so that content can be accessed on any device anywhere and anytime. What we’ve seen so far is that operators have launched piecemeal content sharing, for example for the PC or iOS devices. What the industry now needs to do is to deliver complete solutions that provide a one-stop-shop for all multiscreen requirements. Not only does this mean creating a service that works on every screen, it also means delivering advanced and compelling UIs that answer the needs of today’s consumer and also protect and enhance the operators brand.

Fortunately the combination of DLNA and HTML5 provides a powerful and simple route to providing playability and interoperability on almost all devices. An added bonus in the US is that DLNA is the first connectivity solution to receive FCC validation as a suitable industry standard for cable operators that need to meet the FCC mandate for IP connectivity.

This means that operators using our solutions can meet important regulatory requirements and at the same time deploy exciting, next generation TV-centric multiroom and multiscreen services that are secure, and interoperable with other systems.

If you have any comments, thoughts, opinions, or concerns surrounding the multiscreen industry we’d love to hear from you!

Joerg Eggink
Global Product Director, Connected Home

IHS Screen Digest report puts multiscreen monetization under the microscope

At ACCESS we are producing solutions to drive the success of multiscreen deployments. We are also aware that the business models to drive multiscreen are not yet solid – so to help drive multiscreen monetization debate forward we asked IHS Screen Digest to look at the issues surrounding monetization. The result is a white paper ‘Unlocking and Securing Multiscreen’s Monetization Potential’, now available at

The IHS Screen Digest paper sites ‘insurance’ as the main driver of present multiscreen deployments, with monetization some time I the future. IHS Screen Digest states this as follows: “Pay-TV multiscreen is not a reaction to eroding subscription bases, or revenue loss in the present. It is a form of insurance, and secures the future where consumers continue to purchase high-value pay-TV subscriptions.  … In pivoting their extensive content offers beyond the set-top, operators can protect the future of the subscription income stream, place subscriber acquisition on firm footing, and monetise wide- reaching content distribution in proactive, incremental fashion.”
In addition, the report identifies the three following technologies as key to driving multiscreen success: DLNA, HTML5 and security.

Key findings of the report include:

  • OTT has so far had little or no discernible impact on subscriber numbers (see graph below)
  • OTT is not affecting marginal revenues from operators’ advanced services
  • Consumers content spend is still predominantly on Pay-TV subscriptions
  • DLNA, HTML5 and security are the three key technologies key to multiscreen success

Our work in producing DLNA and HTML5 solutions and our collaboration with CAS/DRM partners means that we’re playing a key role in all three technologies that IHS Screen Digest identifies as at the heart of enabling the multiscreen revolution.

Although the report finds little hard evidence of OTT yet hurting the TV operators, when I’m talking to customers they are pretty sure that Pay-TV VoD buy rates are lower when a consumer has OTT. Our research also suggests that OTT ARPU is in almost all cases considerably greater than incremental Pay-TV VoD ARPUs.

Putting together what the report says with what I’m hearing anecdotally it’s clear that Pay-TV operators are in a strong position. However, it’s critical that they guard against OTT chipping away at their customer base and VoD revenues. The best way to do that is by deploying powerful DLNA and HTML5 powered VoD, OTT, multiroom and multiscreen services that at least match their OTT rivals in terms of both usability and content breadth. If they can do that their natural advantages of existing strong content relationships, scale, QoS and customer care combined with the cross marketing and discounting they can offer to cross-sell VoD and OTT services to their existing customers will ensure that Pay-TV operators will continue to prosper relative to their OTT rivals.

 Joerg Eggink
Global Product Director, Connected Home
ACCESS Europe GmbH

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