On Demand Summit: Multiple Devices Force Industry to Play Catch Up

Programmers, Operators Still Figuring How to Streamline Content to Wide Array of Options
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New York -- With the proliferation of multiscreen devices, the challenge for operators and programmers is how to streamline all of that content to be able to play on such a wide array of options.

"Managing an app pool across these growing set of devices that these consumers are using is a real challenge," said Tony Goncalves, senior VP of digital entertainment products, DirecTV. "That's where the consumer sees the problem."

Goncalves made those comments during the technology roundtable during B&C/Multichannel News' On Demand Summit here Wednesday. The panel was moderated by Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner.

"You've actually got to build great experiences on these devices," Goncalves continued. "There are many more devices this year than last year."

"I think the biggest challenge is actually going through the supply chain," chimed in Joe Ambeault, chief product officer, Redbox Instant by Verizon.

"It used to be really easy; we delivered content in SD and HD to set-top box," added Kelly Delany, VP of marketing, Deluxe Digital Distribution. "Now we're working with more content." She said there are now "hundreds of different types of variants and file formats."

"Every screen, every studio has its own nuance and in order to deliver the type of quality experience," said Delany.

Noah Levine, senior product evangelist, Adobe Primetime, said he sees the industry "at a little bit of a breaking point" right now. He argued that it doesn't make sense to build custom applications and playback environments for all the different devices out there. "As we solve the mass technical issue that is causing you to do have so many people and resources and dollars behind each platform as you're rolling it out, there's going to be a whole new suite of challenges that we find."

Idan Cohen, CEO & cofounder of Boxee, says his primary concern is trying to beef up the content Boxee customers can watch.

"Moving forward, we want to work with pay TV in order to actually get their content on our devices as well," he said. "A lot of the pay TV providers understand that they don't necessarily control the set top box."