If I had to sum up how the 2011 NAB Show will be remembered in years hence, I’d say this: Proliferation pandemonium. The year of the explosion of video content types, formats, and profiles -- most of which require processing, storage, and distribution.
It’s a matrix of complexity that’s expanding at a pace both exhilarating and exhausting.
It was also the year of an unusual level of consensus amongst the various constituents of the video eco-system, many of them competitors. From content owners to technology providers to service providers, there’s one general acknowledgement about managing and scaling all these different platforms for content delivery: This is hard!
The TweetChat we hosted about hot topics at NAB showed that people are focused on streaming TV-like experiences to multiple screens. That, and transcoding, preparing video files in different formats, and adaptive bit rate techniques, to manage the consumer experience when network conditions aren’t ideal. (See “proliferation pandemonium”)
My crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, but it was gratifying to see such a high level of interest in Cisco’s offerings for content distribution focused on secondary distribution, which we call Videoscape, and in our IP video contribution solutions. Likewise for booth activity and interest around the virtualization of video and IT functions, onto a common compute and storage architecture.
One thing is increasingly clear at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters convention, this week in Las Vegas: Content providers and service providers are quickening their pace in the transition from video signal-based routing to a more data-centric, file-based environment. Why? Because it’s faster, more efficient, and more scalable - all important considerations in today’s world of burgeoning-everything, from content types to distribution paths to video-capable screens.
At the Cisco booth (SU2617), we’re showing how that all comes together -- from video ingest, to file-based workflows to storage, virtualized apps, watermarking and transcoding. And, from there, we’re showing how those file-based video components are readied for content cataloging and publishing.
Just a few years ago, the big topic at the annual National Association of Broadcasters event was the digital transition. In that same time frame, we used to refer to “two screen” and “three screen” environments, to describe the shift of video programming to PCs and smaller screens.
All of that seems quaint now, in hindsight. The digital transition happened, without a lot of fanfare, in July of 2009; now, the number of screens capable of displaying television and video streams is into the double and triple digits.
Indeed, today’s all-digital marketplace is placing new challenges on the shoulders of the nation’s broadcasters.
John Bishop, Sr. VP of Business Development & Strategy for Inlet Technologies, now a part of Cisco, talks about Inlet’s multi-screen delivery and monetization and how these will add to Cisco’s offering.
For starters, today’s broadcast and cable networks are being asked to deliver one linear channel in as many as 30 different versions, because of the plethora of adaptive streaming methods in market. One linear stream might need to be encoded in to eight versions for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), six to eight for Adobe Flash, and so on for Microsoft Silverlight and other emerging platforms.
This Wednesday, April 13, at 2:00pm PDT, singer and songwriter Jewel will be performing a solo, acoustic set, live, to attendees of the National Association of Broadcasters convention, in Las Vegas. And to viewers in Chicago, and Dallas, and New York. And in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C. and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Live simulcast? Not really. More, the show is another example of how Cisco TelePresence technology and intelligent networking are bringing people together - audiences and artists, in this case - through video. It’s a collaboration between us (for the TelePresence components), AT&T (for intelligent TelePresence connectivity) and Marriott (which operates TelePresence viewing rooms throughout the world.)
Here’s how it works: Jewel sings, in our San Jose TV studio. Video capture moves through two TelePresence codecs, then through AT&T TelePresence Bridges, to link to the multiple receive sites. Simultaneously, the video moves through a Ustream encoder, for live streaming on the Web and any type of display screen.
Those of you who know Jewel know that she doesn’t believe in a set list of songs, performed in sequential order. Rather, and from her childhood experiences performing on the road with her father, she prefers to read her audiences -- to feel them out for the right song mix.
I wanted to take a moment and extend a brief welcome from Cisco’s booth at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters Show, happening this week in Las Vegas.
Hear about our extended adaptive bit rate work with AEG Digital Media, as well as what the Cisco booth holds in terms of Videoscape cloud technologies for content management and video transcoding, digital watermarking, TelePresence for broadcast networks, and rich media delivery to TV screens.