[opendtv] Getting there

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:54:43 -0500

We have had some interesting discussions lately. Clearly there us a great deal 
of debate about what the future will look like, and who/how we will pay for our 
entertainment fixes.

The old TV industry that many of us knew is all but gone. For decades I wrote 
for video industry trade publications. That ended a few years ago when my last 
editor decided that my focus on the future, or lack thereof for broadcasters, 
was not what broadcasters wanted to hear. Now that magazine is history too.

Somehow OpenDTV has survived and remains relevant, even if dominated by the 
"Bert and Craig" show. Everything serves a purpose, and I would like to 
personally thank Bert for playing the devils advocate, constantly challenging 
me to explain my point of view. Apparently this matters...

The focus today is once again on the future, and the role that the Internet 
will play in content distribution. I have just submitted my first article on 
"the business of OTT television" for a new trade publication that will be 
published soon. I will leave it to the editor of the publication to make the 
formal announcement...

There are a few things that we need to take into consideration as we look at 
the changing landscape of TV distribution.

Content is still KING. The Internet is making it possible for new entrants in 
the content business, and the smart money may move to creating content, rather 
than licensing it to fill up OTT portals, or trying to compete with the MVPD 

The Internet is not ready for a massive shift to OTT consumption of 
programming. It is unclear how close we are, as this has much to do with the 
topology of the last mile. Bert points out that it does not matter which side 
of the cable plant is used to deliver VOD. The key is having enough bandwidth 
at the neighborhood level to deliver one or multiple unique unicast streams to 
every home. And with IP multicast for live programming, even this requirement 
is somewhat "flexible."

I started to think about how much data each of us would need to cut the cord 
and move entirely to Internet delivery of TV content. So I searched it and 
found an interesting blog from a cord cutter.


> How much data does a cord-cutter consume?
> Since we dropped our cable TV service and went Internet-only for our 
> television needs, one of the most frequent questions I get is about how much 
> data I’m using for all this streaming video.
His home has only one TV; the kids no longer live at home. His usage for one 
stream has been running around 115 GBytes/mo. And he is pushing up against the 
data cap on AT&T cellular for his mobile devices. For many people - when access 
to subscription content is not a consideration, cord cutting is feasible now. 
If we want access to content inside the walled gardens, a cable or DBS 
subscription is still necessary. And remember, millions of people are watching 
the cheapest analog tier.

It is also clear that we are on the cusp of a more dramatic shift to IP based 
video services, as the congloms realize the many benefits and figure out how to 
control it.

This should make for interesting discussions in the coming years!


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