World Cup 2014: Imagine the HD TV Experience
As Doug Webster mentioned in our first post on this topic, we’ve been considering how the TV viewing experience might evolve in four more years. I can also already imagine the likely enhancements that will transform the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
I believe that in the foreseeable future the term “Television” entertainment may be equally associated with on-demand video streaming over the Internet as it is with traditional linear programming via broadcast channels. At home, many pay-TV service providers will have deployed hybrid set-top boxes that combine video content from a variety of different content sources.
Mainstream User Adoption of Streaming Video
According to Akamai’s latest real-time World Cup 2010 assessment, the tournament is already shaping up to be a major Internet milestone event. If the current state of video streaming adoption produces these incredible results, then just try to imagine how IP video consumption will skyrocket once online viewing behavior increasingly shifts from the PC screen to the TV set.
In the near term, service providers will continue experimenting with several different entertainment distribution business models that include a content delivery network (CDN) component. The applications of CDNs will be pervasive, and as we’ve already witnessed with the recent Direct One deployment in Romania, it will become a truly global phenomenon that reaches all markets.
The other trend that’s accelerating quickly is the availability of 3D video content.
Satisfying an Appetite for HD 3D Innovation
Late last year, FIFA and Sony announced that up to 25 matches of the 2010 World Cup would be broadcast in 3D. ESPN in the US, Sogecable in Spain, and Korea’s SBS are some of the networks that are offering this option to their subscribers.
And in May, our customer Numericable, in France, announced the availability of high definition 3D content in its VoD service that will launch later this year – the first service provider worldwide to do so.
In a recent video interview, Numericable’s senior executives discuss their forward-looking business strategy – to be at the forefront of this video revolution, and thereby gain an intrinsic advantage within the very competitive European digital media marketplace. As discussed previously in this blog, we are very excited to be supporting Numericable’s bold new offering with our Cisco CDS platform.
So, what’s in store for televised sports event coverage beyond 2014?
One of the reader comments on Doug’s post was particularly insightful: “Apparently Japan is said to be approaching FIFA for the 2022 World Cup with innovative video capabilities — such as using cameras to enable viewers to virtually position themselves on the pitch alongside the players. It also plans an Automatic Translation System which will enable fans from different countries to talk with each other in their own languages.”
Perhaps we’re reaching a point in time where video entertainment creativity will be limited more by our own imagination and less by the technology that will be applied to make that amazing new experience become a reality – either virtually, or in person at the sport stadium.