The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo held in Atlanta (Nov 15-17, 2011), provided further industry confirmation that multi-screen delivery has become table stakes for operators. Yet, an undercurrent of all the promise that multi-screen video can bring is the cost of delivering applications and services to additional screens. There are network costs for additional bandwidth provisioning, data center costs for transcoding content into various bit rates and formats, and customer support costs related to the launch of new services, among others. How can operators confidently launch multi-screen services under these circumstances? Cisco’s Videoscape addresses this operator concern with an architecture designed to mitigate the cost of multi-screen video delivery and to achieve tangible results.
Let’s take the use case of linear TV streaming to companion devices in the home. There is growing concern that consumers will treat their companion devices as they do their regular TVs, and continuously stream linear content to their connected devices, raising the cost to provision sufficient bandwidth to support subscribers. There are multiple ways to tackle this consumer behavior challenge. Better content discovery and recommendation can ensure that consumers only stream content they actively want to watch, and data caps can provide the disincentive to over-consumption.
Cisco’s Videoscape architecture addresses this challenge by extending cloud transcoding and network intelligence into the home. Videoscape multi-screen home gateways can alleviate some of the bandwidth concerns for streaming to Internet-connected devices by requesting and joining multicast streams in the network and then transcoding them into bit-rate and format specific streams for unicast delivery to devices in the home. Where possible, unicast streams across the network are replaced by a more bandwidth efficient multicast stream, which can yield savings in transport and access costs, while caching and transcoding within the home gateway further reduces network bandwidth loads.
In fact, at SCTE a major North American MSO announced their live TV streaming application, delivering 35 linear channels to connected devices within the home, while calling out the significant investment costs to deliver IP video. Modeling the multicast gains with 30% content concurrency and multi-format delivery, an investment in Videoscape multi-screen home gateways leveraging multicast-to-unicast conversion and content caching and transcoding technology could yield such an operator a 49% drop in CDN costs, a 25% drop in transport cost, and a 14% drop in access cost.
With Videoscape, we are enabling operators to more confidently expand their TV Everywhere strategies.