Reinventing the Television Experience

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Reinventing the Television Experience

Sanjay Rohatgi, SVP, Service provider, Cisco, India & SAARC

Consumers today have more media and communications choices than ever before, and more ways to access them. What they lack however is an intuitive, unified experience that encompasses all of the content, applications and devices they use, wherever they want to use them. While all the entertainment in the world seems to be available, accessing it means navigating a complex web of devices, networks, billing models, and viewing experiences. Consumers want to know why they cannot get all the content they want across all their devices. As content becomes more accessible, broadcasters and content providers are struggling to find ways to preserve the value of their content.

Meanwhile the consumer appetite for more video over more platforms is insatiable what with today's media marketplace having entered the age of "more" - more video-capable devices, more video services, and more video traffic than ever before. More than 12 billion connected IP endpoints are predicted worldwide by 2014 (Cisco VNI), with web content and services expanding across TV sets, tablets, game consoles, and other consumer electronics devices. New devices and services are accelerating growth in Internet video traffic. By 2014, online video is expected to make up 91 percent of consumer IP traffic, generating traffic equivalent to 6 billion DVDs per month.

More consumer electronics manufacturers are positioning Internet-connected TVs and other devices as gateways to Internet content, and making significant investments in creating online video and application ecosystems. At the same time, new over-the-top (OTT) online video services such as Netflix and Hulu are competing for the consumer's time and discretionary spending, creating a global online video community that now includes more than 1 billion users. Broadcasters and media companies are seeking to capitalize on this trend, embracing new distribution platforms and interactive content.

Navigating an evolving media landscape

The three trends - more devices, more online video services, and more Internet video traffic are changing the media delivery landscape as we know it and creating a growing sense of frustration among consumers, content providers, and service providers. Service providers face stiff competition, increased churn and increased costs to acquire and retain subscribers. Basic pay-TV services are no longer enough: multi-screen offerings have become a core requirement.

Therefore service providers are seeking comprehensive solutions for delivering next generation media entertainment. They look for solutions that bring together virtually infinite content and applications from pay TV, online, and on-demand sources into a unified, personalized experience that can extend anywhere, across managed or unmanaged networks and devices.

Solutions that take advantage of intelligence throughout the cloud, network, and clients can help to deliver the premium quality of experience that customers' expect. Architectures that deliver such new generation of TV and media experiences help to integrate digital content on and off the network from a vast library of linear and on-demand sources as well as third-party content and applications, and let consumers easily search, purchase, and play any content of their choice. These solutions enable consumers to communicate, share and manage both their premium content and services and their personal content within the same immersive, multi-screen experience when delivered through an open platform that supports common industry standards, and does not lock customers into specific devices or platforms.

By delivering a new world of cloud-based media across multiple screens, such solutions help to position the service provider network as the nexus between consumers, content providers, and web and entertainment applications. As a result, service providers can:

  • Strengthen the value they provide to both consumers and content providers
  • Deliver more intuitive, visual, social, and mobile media experiences
  • Extend the service provider cloud to multiple IP endpoints, inside and outside the home
  • Monetize online content more effectively
  • Develop new markets and business partnerships

Reinventing the TV experience

While changing customer preferences present significant challenges, they also offer a tremendous opportunity. All point toward a new era of media, where consumer entertainment breaks free from the limitations of closed networks and devices and becomes more visual, more social, and more mobile. Soon, consumers may be able to access all content, applications, and communications - on any device, over any network - as part of a consistent, unified experience.

As high-definition quality and mobility become more important, the service provider network and the service provider can deliver the full range of cloud-based media and applications across multiple consumer screens. Comprehensive solutions that help service providers exploit the power of their networks to deliver new media and TV experiences help to create a more profitable media ecosystem.

Solutions that help deliver the next generation of TV experience, simplifying it for consumers, and transforming the opportunity for service providers bring together virtually infinite content, applications, and communications from any source (linear TV, online video, video-on-demand (VoD), user's digital video recorder (DVR)), into an immersive, unified experience. They let service providers extend the experience across any managed or unmanaged network, to any managed or unmanaged device and deliver a consumer experience that is:

  • More intuitive, with a consistent interface across multiple devices and universal guide and search capabilities across all content sources.
  • More visual, with seemingly infinite content and applications available from a range of sources, made easy to navigate on the TV screen or the customer's screen of choice
  • More social, by integrating social networking and Telepresence capabilities that let consumers show, share, and engage with video
  • More mobile, with the ability to extend this unified experience over the service provider footprint or over unmanaged networks, to almost any managed or unmanaged device

For consumers, such solutions position the service provider as the gateway to a vast library of linear, on-demand, and third-party content. Consumers can communicate, share, and manage both premium content and services and personal content on multiple screens, and access an immense ecosystem of online content and applications. Customers can buy content once and access it however they choose, without having to worry about which devices work with which content. They can see what their friends are watching and get recommendations from the people who know them best and can take their own, personalized TV experience with them, wherever they go, on whichever screen they choose.

At the same time, they help service providers unlock new revenue opportunities, monetize online video, and reinforce the value of their networks in the content delivery ecosystem. Using such solutions service providers can:

  • Assure a consistent quality of experience for consumers, no matter how or where they view content
  • Bring web applications and online video to a broader audience by easily delivering them to the TV set
  • Deliver new levels of interactivity with content using web and social attributes
  • Extend services beyond any single device or platform (for example, Apple or Android ecosystem), with an open, standards-based software and hardware platform
  • Preserve and extend the value of content by supporting existing carriage fees and advertising-based revenues, in addition to new online video subscription and advertising models
  • Provide more value to media companies by offloading the burden of formatting content for a seemingly endless array of devices and screens
  • Provide more value to consumers by extending the service provider cloud into the home network and enabling content sharing across managed and unmanaged devices
  • Reach new markets by offering premium video services (and even linear TV channels) to new customers within and beyond the service provider footprint
  • Exploit business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) services by opening the service provider ecosystem to deliver third-party web-enabled applications, including social media, lifestyle management applications, content marketplaces, home Telepresence, games, and advanced advertising

All about convergence

The combination of cloud, network, and clients, working together as one sets these solutions apart in the marketplace. They help provide a truly unified experience by converging linear, pay-TV, and online sources into a personalized TV experience with universal search and navigation across multiple screens. They help create an experience that extends across the consumer's entire lifestyle.

These solutions help to build a video-optimized, end-to-end network infrastructure that eliminates current silos in voice, video, mobility, and data networks, and helps deliver consistent quality across multiple screens. This in turn provides a clear migration path that protects service provider investments and helps deliver service-provider-branded user interfaces and experiences across all types of screens.

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