Marketing

Video Everywhere Still Has Tech Issues

4/04/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

New York — Advances
in video technology are
causing big changes in the
television business, according
to TV executives speaking
on a panel at last week’s
“Video Everywhere: Who’s
Cracking the Code” event
here, presented by Multichannel
News
and Broadcasting
& Cable
.

“The rate of change in
technology is out of synch
with change on the business
side,” Doug Sylvester,
chief strategy officer at
Avail-TVN, said during a
panel conversation moderated
by Multichannel News
technology editor Todd
Spangler.

While that helps to explain
some of the delay
in allowing consumers to
view content wherever they
want and on any device
they choose, some technology
hurdles remain.

The challenge is taking
systems that handle such
pieces as Internet-protocol
distribution and digital
rights management
and “meshing them into a
consumer experience that
works in a way that’s really
simple and easy,” said Verizon Communications
vice president of product management
Eric Bruno.

Rich DiGeronimo, senior vice president
of product and strategy at Charter Communications,
said the development of the
iPad and other tablet devices has given
cable operators a way to work around the
limitations of the set-top box. “It’s a game
changer … it’s a fantastic user experience,”
he said, and Charter wants to partner with
innovators to provide customers with the
latest and greatest.

While Time Warner Cable has run into
controversy with its iPad app, which allows
subscribers to view live cable TV on the tablet,
DiGeronimo said “ultimately consumers
want to consume TV on their iPads” and he
doesn’t want to have to “communicate to a
consumer that you can watch this show on
the Long Island Railroad, but this one you
can’t.”

Jan Steenkamp, vice president of Americas
at Irdeto, said that with both Apple iOS and
Android devices, the app store is becoming
the user interface. “It will be interesting to
see how conventional pay TV operators interact
with the app store.”

Adaptive bit-rate streaming is allowing
viewers with slower broadband connections
to watch online video, although with quality
that is lower than most TV providers would
find acceptable.

“If there is no other solution, people will
accept lower quality,” Bruno said. “As soon
as there’s a solution, lower quality goes out
the door. They’ll settle if they have to, but given
a choice, they’ll always choose quality.”


Jon Lafayette is business editor at Broadcasting
& Cable.
March