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Cisco, BT and the Third Wave of TV

There are lots of ways to classify the evolution of television: Analog, then digital; standard definition, then high definition; linear, then on-demand; MPEG transport, then IP.

Here at Cisco, we think TV is entering a “third wave” of evolution. What’s in the third wave? The ability to unify what’s become a multi-faceted viewing experience for consumers, into a consistent, easy-to-use amalgam of linear and on-demand, viewed on a variety of screens (TV, PC, handheld), with richer interactivity and personalization.

In that sense, the third wave of TV is about service velocity -- getting new video products unified and deployed quickly into the video ecosystem.

       Simon Orme, BT Wholesale’s GM of Content Services speaks with
       Cisco BT Regional Sales Manager Mike McKeown about the evolution of video.

Wave one of TV was the biggest, in chronological time. It spanned analog and digital delivery of linear television, over terrestrial, cable or satellite networks. So, the 1940s until the early 2000s.

TV’s second wave added the delivery of video “over the top,” on the Internet -- meaning the use of a broadband connection to stream video to a PC screen.

Right now, as we enter the third wave of television, it’s about simultaneously unifying and customizing the viewing experience.

The third wave is about getting more content onto more fixed and mobile screens, beyond TVs - and being able to easily personalize and share that video information with friends and contacts.

This transition is happening all along the video distribution pathway, from origination to ingest to transport to the in-home environment. That’s why service providers are more and more interested in building their own content delivery networks (CDNs), for instance, in addition to or in lieu of renting passage on best-effort, overlay-based CDNs.

It’s the difference between using a leased, one-size-fits-all CDN, versus building one that’s optimized for video and media.

CDNs are a really important part of the third wave of television. They enable not only the quality of experience (QoE) features necessary for multi-platform video, but also the foundational backbone for the inevitable shift toward more on-demand video, and less linear.

Enter the Cisco “What If Your TV Could…?” Global video contest to share your idea on what YOU think is the third wave of TV.

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