[opendtv] Re: Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 01:39:48 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> Historically, the  servers were located at each head end. Some may
> allow updating from IP networks; some require assets to be loaded
> locally from a portable hard disk or other media. This is the reason
> that the Comcast rep on the streaming media panel said it can take
> weeks to add a new asset to the MPEG-2 playout servers.
> Most of the MSOs use a service called OnDemand that distributes
> streams to cable head ends via satellite.

Perfect. "Out of band" download from a VOD content hubs to the distributed 
local servers. This is also perfectly good for IP-based VOD. It's a good way to 
not clog up your two-way infrastructure for simple one-way downloads. The 
important point being, IP or not IP makes no difference in this case. It's the 
two-way infrastructure that is best not "wasted" on pure broadcast uses such as 

> So at the moment it's a mixed bag, but the capabilities of the users
> STB are a key factor.

Once again, if the CE vendors designed proper "connected TVs," subscribers who 
bought these connected TVs would be set immediately. It only becomes an "key 
factor" if one assumes that the STB is the only way to solve what should be a 

> The major difference is rate control and delivered resolution.

Naw. These are all PONs feeding passive coax networks. Head end servers should 
have no problem determining how much aggregate PON bandwidth they are using, 
based on the number of local VOD clients at any given time. Sure, IP automates 
the process. But I see nothing particularly challenging doing the same 
automatic rate control without IP, in this case. Simple.

> The core of this arg...discussion is that you believe the content
> owners will cut out the MVPD middlemen, and possibly broadcasters, and
> sell directly to consumers via the Internet.

I seem to have to repeat myself a lot to Craig, these days. No, Craig, I never 
insisted that the congloms must only sell directly to the public. I have said 
many times that they can use whatever middlemen make sense to them *TODAY*, and 
not those that might have made sense yesterday.

> 1970's technology was called broadcasting.

Broadcast is one point. 1970s technology also meant that a broadband local 
network capable of bypassing the spectrum deficiencies of OTA delivery was 
*also* going to be a one-way broadcast medium! And most importantly, these 
one-way plants naturally become walled gardens. One guy only controls the 
source signals, right?

The MVPD MPEG-TS broadcast bandwidth still fits this 1970s description. So, the 
major TV networks, the owners of the content, have no reason whatever to insist 
on this old technology to distribute their content to homes. Packet switching 
and Internet Protocols give them the option of sourcing their content from any 
number of different portals, **independent of the physical ISP infrastructure**.

That's all, Craig. I understand all the bundling and dual revenue stream points 
you repeat, but as I've said **countless** times, you don't have to insist on 
MVPD MPEG-2 TS broadcast plants to get **either** bundling **or** dual revenue 
streams anymore.

> But CBS clearly stated on the panel that they prefer for people to
> watch the live broadcasts.

Or at least, the guy speaking for CBS said this, while instead, the people 
designing their web site have figured it out. I don't take any of these 
interviews with executives too seriously. Too often, they aren't doing anything 
more than reciting the party line to the press.

> What is most evident here is that the middlemen most threatened by all of
> this are the network affiliated FOTA broadcasters.

We have been over this too, many times, Craig. The local broadcasters need to 
reinvent themselves into local Internet server and local content services. The 
DBS systems need to reinvent themselves primarily as ISPs for the boonies, 
where their coverage is essential and their two-way bandwidth limitations not 
as severe as they are in urban settings. The cabled MVPDs need to quit wasting 
so much bandwidth on 1970s one-way broadcast streams.

As far as I'm concerned, all of these players need to reinvent themselves. It's 
really only the congloms that have it made, because they have the high value 
content that all of these others require.

>> That's a no-brainer, right? You can do that today on any number of
>> Internet portals.
> More like just a BIG NO for you. Do you subscribe to ANY OTT service?

Are you kidding me? I can go to my bank from anywhere, and access my account. I 
can go to pay my lawn service from anywhere. I can go shopping or watching 
movies and TV shows from Amazon, from anywhere. All of these need to 
authenticate me. This is a no-brainer, Craig. Authentication that allows access 
to different amounts of content is hardly a big deal.


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