One of the limiting factors for OTT television previously had
been the technology and its ability to provide a top-quality
customer experience. Leteurtre says OTT television was
born out of two important technical developments.
real-time, adaptive, bit-rate streaming technologies have
now emerged on the market. This allows for continually
adjusting picture quality in response to available bandwidth
so that live video content is streamed seamlessly and without
interruption. Only in this way can a reliable OTT television
service be delivered over unmanaged he says.
HTTP protocols can now be used for video
streaming in place of the incumbent RTP/RTSP technology.
HTTP minimizes the investment required by content
providers and ensures compatibility with the growing variety
of internet-connected and mobile devices. For example,
HTTP makes it much easier to stream through firewalls
and network address translation The technology
now has moved on to enable high-quality OTT television
services. now possible to stream high-quality video over
an unmanaged network with over-the top solutions. This
means that many new types of video players and servers
from different content providers and device manufacturers
are able to stream content to end users without the need
for specific agreements with he says.
Verimatrix CEO Tom Munro says in many of the request
for proposals that the conditional access and interactive
solutions vendor is taking part in, OTT is becoming an
increasingly important element. 2010, almost everyone had some element of OTT or TV anywhere with it. It
was seen as a critical component. It does not mean that
operators were ready to roll out the service immediately,
but they wanted to make sure their system was futureproof and expandable into that domain. They know their
subscribers will add new devices and know they need to
be able to reach those devices on whatever network they
can. It is definitely a hot topic and a key part of the planning for any new system we have he says.
Verimatrix has embraced OTT television in terms of its
product. support the HTTP Live Streaming protocol,
which is part of the iOS and is central to streaming video
support on the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, and we are supporting a number of other devices which are incorporating
that same Munro says. have implemented a
linkage between that protocol and our key server for security purposes, so you can have a pay-TV service that delivers
video to devices like the iPad and the iPhone through a single
headend. In the Apple application store, you can download
our Verimatrix ViewRight Live application and view that firsthand. We are extending that out to reach Android devices,
other set-top box devices and connected TVs. Beyond that,
we have incorporated our MultiRights engine, which allows
us to address devices that have a native DRM, like Marlin or
Microsoft Playready, for example. We can incorporate those
into our headend and be able to address the wide range of
devices that a consumer may bring to a pay-TV
There are also standards issues which need to be overcome. definitely see HTTP Live Streaming as a dark horse.
Although there are no formal industry standards bodies behind
it, it is definitely becoming a very readily accepted protocol,
compared with the more proprietary adaptive rate streaming
says Munro. the Apple devices have
created a real pull for it. We see this is as a very strong trend.
There is a bit of a standards battle going on among the various competing ideas. We are part of the UltraViolet initiative,
which aims to create standard formats for video downloads,
including interoperable digital rights management regimes.
They are trying to reduce the complexity of delivering those
videos, but implementation is in the early
New Models Emerge
OTT television will lead to different business models
emerging and a new environment for broadcasters and
services providers. will help lead video services to a
more competitive environment in which la carte purchases
coexist with bundles. The ability of content producers to
reach their core audiences directly or through multiple
aggregators will put some price pressure on content and
will help sort valuable content from also-run
says Rosen. content producers will be able
to effectively target and monetize niche audiences. In
addition to subscription, pay-per view and traditional ad
models, new forms of product promotion and premium
sponsored content will expand the media universe.
Advertising should be able to extract more revenue per
user by being both targeted and
For the broadcaster or content owner, OTT will give them
an opportunity to leverage the Internet, Leteurtre says,
solutions supporting adaptive bit-rate and HTTP streaming
frees them from the constraints of unmanaged IP networks
and allows them to deliver quality services that consumers
will be willing to pay for. For example, we believe that there
is a huge opportunity for local content owners to extend out
beyond their market by offering OTT ethnic TV services.
OTT is also a way for cable and satellite providers to add
a mobile TV service without needing to invest in their own
fixed or mobile he says.
However, traditional pay-TV is not going to go away overnight, as the OTT service still has many obstacles to overcome, Erickson says. it is contingent upon broadband
availability and at least a certain amount of speed, particularly in the case of HD. Second, there is still a substantial
amount of content available via traditional means (linear,
physical media, traditional pay-TV video on demand) that
is not fully available via OTT means. Though this gap will
decrease over time, it will remain there for at least a couple
of years. Third, the popular theme of cord-cutting devastating
the pay-TV sector has been talked about with some amount
of overexuberance. The research out there so far does not
seem to support more than a small increase in actual cord-
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