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Addressable ads – getting them right the first (and second) time

A generation ago, part of the TV viewing experience was an unstated compact that in exchange for content, viewers would be subject to a certain amount of advertising. These ads may or may not have been relevant, but viewers nonetheless sat through them – what choice did they have? These days, service providers have moved far beyond merely hoping an ad lobbed at a specific demographic hits its target. Now we have all sorts of info about viewers to make sure they’re seeing the ads we want them to see. But just as we worked that out, the way we watched TV started to change. Yes, now TV is on many devices, but that’s not the only change. Binge-watching of entire seasons long after the show’s original airing, has changed how ads can be integrated into non-linear content. The second-screen phenomenon and the shrinking attention span of the TV viewer have created an environment where a message must hit its mark immediately, with no margin for error. To keep ads fresh, to keep wandering eyes watching ads and to keep content monetized, service providers and advertisers need to find their footing in this new world.

The beauty of the Advertising Management solution is that it Read More »

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The Age of Open Source Video Codecs

The first time I met Jim Barton (DVR pioneer and TiVo co-founder) I was a young man looking at the hottest company in Silicon Valley in the day: SGI, the place where Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg just arrived to visit, the same building in Mountain View as it were, that same week in late Spring, 1995.

The second question that Jim asked me that day was if I knew H.263 – a fledgling, new specification promising to make video ubiquitous, affordable over any public or private network – oh, those 90’s seem so far away…

For a hard core database, kernel and compiler hacker, that was a bit too much telco chit-chat for me, though remembering this was supposed to be an interview, and that the person who asks the questions is in control, not knowing the answer, I managed to mumble a question instead of an answer.  Jim liked the conversation and obliged me with an explanation equally encrypted, that one day, we will have these really cool, ubiquitous players on all sorts of video devices, not just “geometry engines” running workstations in “Jurassic Park” post-production studios (actually, come to think of it, the scene itself), but over all sorts of networked devices and maybe that should be a great opportunity to dive into and change the world.

Open standards and open source live in an entangled relationship, or so I wrote about it years ago, the Yang of Open Standards, the Ying of Open Source.  Never has it been more intertwined and somewhat challenging than with the case of H.264, MPEG4 and the years old saga of so-called “standard” video codecs.

Almost a generation later, even if H.263 and its eventual successors H.264 and MPEG4 came a long way, we still don’t have a truly standard and open source implementation of such a video codec, though we are hoping to change that now!

My colleagues announced today that we are open sourcing our H.264 codec.  We still have a bit of work left to do as we start this new open source project and I am counting on both communities to receive it with “open” arms.  It is meant to remove all barriers, to be truly free and open, as open source was meant to be.

Please join us this morning in a twitter chat covering this event.  We are convinced no matter how one looks at this, it is a positive move for the industry.

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And the (Two!) Technology & Engineering Emmys Go To….

seebecjBy Jeff Seebeck, VP/GM, Video Control Plane Business Unit,Cisco

…Cisco! As you can imagine, this super-charged our annual trek to Las Vegas for the International CES show, which serves as host for the fanciest-ever black tie event for tech people. (It even had a tech host – David Pogue, himself an  Emmy award winning tech columnist for the New York Times.  Cool.)

This year marked the 64th time the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ put on its annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards, and on the evening of January 10th, I was glad to be amongst my friends and colleagues to accept two, count’em two, Emmys. Read More »

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A Treat for U-verse Customers: Cisco and AT&T Launch Wireless TV Today

By David Alsobrook , Director of Business Development, Connected Home Solutions, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group

It’s a big day here at Cisco (and it’s not just because it’s Halloween and there are bowls of candy everywhere…!)

Today, we go to market with AT&T with an industry first: IPTV set-tops equipped with video-optimized Wi-Fi. AT&T calls it the “AT&T U-verse TV Wireless Receiver” — a first-ever way to arrange your TV to go with your life, furniture, and living environment.

Guests for the weekend? Move the TV to the guest room. Wish you could have three TVs to follow this weekend’s games? Go for it.   With this no new wires solution, the “plumbing” is no longer an issue.

We Cisco people call it our ISB7005 wireless set-top box and our VEN401 wireless access point.  One is a set-top that can be located anywhere in the house; the other is a video-optimized wireless access point. Read More »

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