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Milestones in Cisco Content Delivery Networks (CDN) Deployments

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) confirms much of what we already know: Service providers will need to carry more video traffic to more devices delivered as unique on-demand streams. All at the time and place of the end-user’s choosing.

But the sheer scale of this demand makes interesting reading. The Cisco VNI projects that by 2017, the global Internet will reach nearly half (48%) the world’s population, each with roughly five devices and machine-to-machine connections. Together, they will drive a total of 93 exabytes of internet traffic per month. Significantly, Internet video will make up two thirds of this Internet traffic, 65% of which will be carried over content delivery networks (CDN).

And it’s not only Internet video.

Cisco VNI also projects that by 2017, video on-demand (VOD) traffic will nearly triple as it reaches 400 million global subscribers.

The bottom line is that service providers need to deal with unprecedented scale requirements with ever greater capabilities to manage and monitor their CDNs.

The question, of course, is Read More »

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Behind the Scenes of Cloud DVR

In the three months that passed between this year’s Cable Show, in Washington, D.C., and this week’s IBC conference, in Amsterdam, one thing is certain: Cloud DVR. It’s on.

Comcast started the buzz, with its X2 platform. Ever since, we’ve seen a surge of interest in cloud DVR from service providers around the globe.  Directionally, it’s gone from “that sounds interesting, let’s keep an eye on it,” to “we need to do this — let’s get a proof of concept going.”

That’s all good news for us, of course, and seems a good reason to share a few observations we’ve made along the way, as cloud DVR services go to market.

One: Linear parity matters, especially for advertising. If ever you want to create an instant imbroglio, tell the people in the ad sales department that the new service – cloud DVR, in this case – doesn’t provide linear parity. Put another way: Support for basic ad zones is a table stake, when it comes to cloud DVR.

So: Putting DVR services in Read More »

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Streaming Is Going Mainstream: The Upward Arc of Online Video, Driven By Consumers

Only a short time ago, consumers had limited choices for accessing professional video content.

Today, a smorgasbord of options continues to multiply—from premium cable and DVDs, to online choices such as Apple, Netflix, and Hulu. Hardware options are equally dizzying, as traditional TV gives way to PCs, smartphones, and tablets. As portable devices meet the cloud, more consumers expect to view their favorite content anywhere, anytime.

The London Olympics this year were a case in point. NBC statistics reveal that more than 57 million U.S. viewers streamed Olympic events online. And over 7 million unique visitors per day accessed the BBC’s online Olympic sites, with nearly half of them watching on mobile devices.

Clearly, media consumption has evolved. Given the complexity of choices, it is essential for all players in the video value chain to understand what consumers need and want. To gain greater insight, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) studied the trends and behaviors of 1,152 video consumers in the United States in 2012.

Chief among our findings? Streaming is going mainstream—and if the quality, variety, and delivery of streaming video are held to a high standard, consumers will be willing to pay
for it.

Streaming Is Going Mainstream

Seventy percent of U.S. broadband users are watching professionally produced Internet video every week, with an average viewing time of more than 100 minutes per week. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, viewership rises to 94 percent. Overall, streaming video is ahead of downloading and about even with DVDs and Blu-ray Discs (see Figure 1). Read More »

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Vegas, Videoscape, and Vive La France!

Today we’re glad to shine the spotlight on our colleagues at Numericable, for taking such a comprehensive step forward in making multi-screen television available to its wide-reaching residential footprint in France.

Specifically, Numericable is deploying our  (3G60) Broadband Processing Engine, a high-density CMTS and uBR10k line card used for DOCSIS 3.0, wideband connectivity, as well as several components in our Videoscape TV family – meaning our CDS (Content Delivery System), for adapting multiple content types to different screen sizes; our Media Processor and Transcode Manager, for adaptive bit rate streaming; and our UCS and Nexus family of data center switches.

The plan augments Numericable’s existing work on its “fiber to the basement” initiative, which can offer up to 4 Gbps of capacity over fiber and coax. Read More »

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The Business Case for Unbundled IP Video

As I mentioned in an earlier post on the recent market study of U.S. pay-TV subscriber needs and wants, the segmentation of the video marketplace potentially  brings both new challenges and opportunities for incumbent service providers.

That said, the debate around what to do about the unprecedented growth of the Netflix phenomenon now seems to be a moot point – as incumbent pay-TV service providers openly acknowledge its disruptive impact on the traditional video entertainment industry. And, now they’re proceeding with their plans to execute their long-awaited counter strategy.

Clearly, 2011 could prove to be a pivotal year for testing new business cases, as the marketplace becomes more fluid and is subject to further significant changes that are on the near horizon.

While it’s perfectly understandable that incumbent pay-TV service providers might prefer to bundle a Netflix-like, on-demand IP video service offering with their standard digital cable tier subscriptions, let’s remember that this is but one potential scenario.

Revisiting the results of the Cisco market study, it’s interesting that note that – by far – “the most likely motivation to pay for an online video package…” is a low price point. Call this the “value-based” market segment, if you will – it likely includes some current subscribers and previously lost customers. To win-back these prior subscribers, such as those that are looking at more of an iTunes or Hulu approach to catch up on their TV, an unbundled IP VOD offering by the provider could be very attractive.

Read More »

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