We Can’t Really Call Cable A ‘Dinosaur’ Anymore


The who’s who of the over-the-top (OTT) video community met in San Jose, Calif., a few weeks ago, at a trade show called OTTCON. Missed it? Me too. But I dispatched Sara Dirkse, who runs our OTT video lab. Luckily for us, she takes great notes. Here are the highlights:

• Backhanded compliment of the year: Cable companies were described as “dinosaurs with lasers.” Jeremy Toeman, CEO of Digit Media, said: “The dinosaurs are getting more advanced, so we can’t really call them that anymore,” .

• The words “1970s cable TV” came up repeatedly, as participants likened the current state of OTT to the programming heyday of yore.

• “Long-form video” now means anything over 10 minutes!

• When asked how many had seen every episode of the Netflix original series House of Cards, a third of the audience raised its hands. Every episode.

• “Syndicated metadata” popped up regularly at OTTCON. It’s a way for content owners to ensure, regardless of what apppeople use to get to their content, their metadata persists, so the experience is rich and consistent.

• People with Apple products watch twice as much video on their phones and tablets than people with Android-based gadgets.

• If 10% of cable’s audience cut the cord, it would double the load on CDN (content-delivery network) providers like Akamai, which is already moving traffic at just under 10 Terabits per second.

• The last-mile network is not where the major congestion is occurring, Will Law, principal architect for Akamai’s Media division, said. “It’s like widening your driveway and expecting to reduce your commute time.”

• Making TVs into phones is a bad idea, Digit Media’s Toeman said. Skype on a tablet trumps.

• Watch for more original content from non-traditional names (Red Bull, Funny or Die) and brands (Netflix, Hulu). It won’t replace cable, but we’ll see a lot more of it.

• More than 850 display devices use Netflix’s API (application program interface).

• Netflix is developing 4K streaming content. Which weighs 17 Megabits per second, if compressed with the best technique in the market today (H.264/MPEG-4). With HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding), that’ll be cut in half to 8.5 Mbps — but is still more than two times the heft of today’s HD streams, compressed with H.264/MPEG-4.

The bottom line? Netflix doing 4K will seriously tweak that already tweaked 50% CAGR in broadband usage.

So, dinosaurs with lasers: That’s what the new kids are up to. Onward! )

Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis attranslation-please.comormultichannel.com/blog.