[opendtv] Re: Milk'n it Baby! - Global STB shipments to reach record levels this year

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 18:38:28 -0400

On Jul 19, 2013, at 12:48 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
<albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> http://broadcastengineering.com/cable-amp-iptv/global-stb-shipments-reach-record-levels-year
> 
> Comments:
> 
> The term "multiscreen devices," in my view, is nonspecific enough to cloud 
> the issue. "Multiscreen devices," as far as I can tell, does not mean 
> "devices that have multiple screens," as one might expect. Rather, it means, 
> "devices that are designed intelligently enough to use the same interface 
> protocols all over the world, as opposed to the obtuse and deliberate lack of 
> standards that the worldwide TV industry has enjoyed foisting on consumers." 
> Or, IP devices rather than traditional TV appliances.

Yes, this terminology confused me a bit as well. Bert has most of it right, in 
that virtually all of the second screens that are know as "multiscreen devices" 
in some parts of the world get their bits, and thus video streams, via an IP 
connection, typically WiFi. 

But for STB manufacturers like Pace, serving multiple screens involves what 
both Bert and i would consider to be an illogical fork in the road to the 
future. In essence, many STB manufacturers are developing STBs that can share 
content from the MVPD with these devices. This involves either the conversion 
(in real time) of MVPD digital formats to a codec and streaming protocol that 
is compatible with other screens in the home via WiFi, or conversion of content 
from the MVPD stored on a local DVR. 

This article does a good job of expelling this approach and why it seems to be 
growing in popularity in Europe:

http://www.v-net.tv/dvr-sharing-with-multi-screen-devices-the-next-step-in-tve/

DVR sharing with multi-screen devices: the next step in TVE

Connected Home, News & Analysis 
May 30, 2013     by John Moulding

Multiroom DVR will become increasingly important in Europe but DVR sharing to 
multiscreen devices, rather than just to secondary set-top boxes, could be one 
of the next big service innovations. Right now, most TV Everywhere services 
targeting tablets, smartphones and game consoles are built around linear 
streaming, catch-up and VOD. Access to your own personal DVR recordings is 
rare; Swisscom is providing this where the DVR content is available from the 
cloud (network PVR for multiscreen).

There is no question that one way or another, consumers are going to want 
access to their DVR content on multiscreen devices. This looks like an obvious 
next step and as soon as one operator does it in a market others will have to 
follow, given how compelling the concept is. Cloud PVR recording and delivery 
may not suit everyone so interest is growing in how we make local PVR 
recordings available right around the home, including on handheld devices.

This is something that ACCESS has been addressing, harnessing its NetFront 
Living Connect DLNA technology and making use of the DTCP-IP link protection 
mechanism associated with DLNA to enable much greater operator, and therefore 
studio, control over content once it leaves a local DVR drive. The company is 
confident that, when combined with CA and DRM solutions, you can now create a 
scalable security solution that delivers as much control as required in order 
to satisfy rights holders and therefore open the door to DVR redistribution.

ACCESS and Verimatrix announced a pre-integrated solution earlier this year 
that covers CA, DRM and secure DLNA redistribution, including any necessary 
decryption and re-encryption inside secure zones on chipsets on gateway 
devices. Verimatrix calls it the ViewRight Gateway solution and it also covers 
the redistribution of linear content. In this product operators can use a 
single Verimatrix VCAS content security headend to manage all parts of the 
delivery, translation and redistribution.

The ACCESS part of this solution is actually CA agnostic but the companies are 
jointly marketing the pre-integration, which is productized and ready to use.

Joerg Eggink, Product Director, Connected Home at ACCESS, says one of the 
primary requirements is device domain control, so operators can decide which 
devices, and how many, the Pay TV content is distributed to. You can scale the 
security requirements according to the type of content, so free channels 
(available through a Pay TV bouquet) could be protected with DTCP-IP for 
example, while premium channels could be covered by this plus DRM on top.

The integrations required between the CA system and the ACCESS NetFront Living 
Connect DLNA technology include metadata, content and reporting and logging. 
Reporting and logging is important because operators should want to know what 
is happening inside the connected home, including where the content is being 
played. The Verimatrix ViewRight Gateway provides a client that delivers all of 
these requirements.

Eggink is particularly excited about the potential for DVR content sharing to 
devices like the PlayStation game console or an Apple iPad, but also to the 
set-top box. “PVR to the second screen adds another level to TV Everywhere. 
Nobody is really providing the local DVR content today. This will enable 
business models that have not been possible yet.”

Making DVR content available for offline viewing on multiscreen devices could 
be one of these new business opportunities. While making DVR recordings 
available on multiscreen devices via local streaming is a major step forward in 
the user experience, download-to-go could be an important differentiator in the 
TV Everywhere environment.

----

IMHO, it is this type of legacy thinking that is still driving much of the 
television world, which in turn delays the evolution that Bert is seeking, to 
an all IP distribution environment.

> As long as TV sets were bulky appliances anchored in the family room, the TV 
> industry could get away with such shenanigans. However with the advent of 
> mobile devices and the Internet, the TV industry lost that clout. No one is 
> going to walk around with an STB under his arm, while he watches TV on his 
> tablet.

Indeed.

The cable companies had a near ideal migration strategy when they moved to 
digital tiers, as the home was still fed the analog cable tier - often to every 
room via coax - which worked with the hand me down TVs, without a STB.

Most Millennials grew up with a TV in their room fed via analog cable. 

But computers and game consoles proved more useful to the kids, who in turn 
were among the first to accept the notion that they can watch TV on a PC or a 
tablet.

My guess is that there may still be old analog TVs in some kids rooms, but when 
mom and dad consider spending hundreds of dollars on a flat panel TV versus a 
tablet for little Johnny, the tablet is the overwhelming choice. 

The era of moving the old TV to another room are probably over. What remains to 
be seen, is the number of years that existing flat panel display will be used, 
before they are replaced. 

> So this is the actual issue. By some stroke of luck, so far the special 
> interests have not been able to screw up the Internet Protocol world, just 
> yet.

But Bert…

You accuse Apple of screwing up this world all the time…

;-)

Given the article posted earlier and the notion that a STB may convert content 
to an IP compatible stream, do you think Pace and others are going to provide a 
setup mode, so you can chose to stream either using Flash or HTML5?

> When MVPDs create this MPEG-2-TS to IP/H.264 home gateway device out of their 
> STB/PVR box, that's still a "hail mary" desperate attempt at "milking that 
> STB model," as Craig might say. Why? Because even those MVPD subscribers 
> don't spend all of the waking hours at home. So in parallel, the MVPD is 
> having to make that material available without the STB gateway, using IP 
> standards throughout the Internet, for when the subscriber is not at home.

I think what we are seeing is that different global regions are either taking 
different approaches, or more likely, some areas are still years behind the 
U.S. market. Clearly here in the U.S> the MVPDs are seeking to expand their 
influence, by delivering content to multiple screens, both inside the home, AND 
 while mobile.

> If the specialized, proprietary STB is unessential outside the home, why 
> pretend it's ever interesting?

The article answers that very clearly: "These developments will allow the STB 
industry revenue to grow to $22.2 billion in 2013, making it the most valuable 
year in the history of the market."

You don't walk away when you are at the top of your game...
> 
> Rather than attempting to perpetuate the pretense, perhaps it's time for the 
> trade press to suggest that MVPDs will be migrating all TV streams to IP 
> delivery, even for home-bound TV appliances. Education rather than 
> obfuscation.

The trade press has been speculating about when the cable industry will drop 
those analog tiers for more than a decade. Even when this happens, both cable 
and DBS will likely continue to deliver live content as they do today for one 
simple reason:

The huge installed base of STBs and the~250 million new STBs that will be 
deployed every year for the foreseeable future.

Regards
Craig 
 
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