Contributed By Ken Morse, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group
It’s probably not all that surprising, given the state of the video marketplace these days, that what’s top of mind for me is the migration of video to IP (Internet Protocol) everything.
At this point, I think we’re all fairly clear on what the end game looks like – pick any definition you favor about “TV Everywhere” and “the four Anys” (anytime, anywhere, any thing, any device). I think we can all agree that that’s where we’re headed.
The challenge now is that so many different paths exist to get there. As usual!, right? Differences between service providers exist for understandable reasons: Starting position (which options were selected for bandwidth creation/preservation?), plant configuration (switched or not?), and economics (what’s the budget?)
As a vendor, one of the bigger challenges in building products for the IP video migration is identifying which elements to put in the toolbox, to support all of the different ways service providers are considering. There’s the QAM termination approach, there’s the “run high-speed data to the hilt” approach, and several other options in the middle.
My view is, serve them all by gradually “virtualizing” the elements in the toolbox. Encapsulate the functionalities of a particular component - whatever it is - and then instantiate those same functionalities on another device.
It’s a new world of media, and consumers want more: more content, more interactivity, and more personalization. They also want their entertainment available across more screens, and in higher quality. With Cisco video and content delivery solutions, you can give your customers the “Connected Life”: the ability to access any type of content, anywhere and anytime, on a variety of devices.
We’re interested in hearing what you think about this trend. So please join our Video Solutions Marketing Manager Sachin Sathaye and Marcia Bana in Cisco’s NCTA TweetChat series. Please feel free to send any questions or topics of interest to @CiscoSPVideo.
Alternatively, you can use your favorite Twitter client (such as TweetGrid, TweetDeck) or TwitterSearch to follow the chat hashtag #ciscospchat. During the event, you can follow the discussion, contribute questions, and submit your own comments by using the same hashtag.
Who? The session will be hosted by @CiscoSPVideo managed by the Cisco Service Provider Marketing team.
Sachin Sathaye, Service Provider Marketing Manager, Video Solutions, @sachinsathaye
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.