On Demand Summit: The State of VOD


Philadelphia — Time Warner Cable’s New York
City system is starting a trial of “TV Everywhere” online
viewing of premium content for authenticated
subscribers, and the cable operator is gearing up for
an Internet-protocol TV trial at the end of the year.

James Manchester, regional president of network
operations and engineering in the company’s
New York City system, mentioned those events
in the context of how Time Warner Cable sees “the
home of the future” developing at the On Demand
Summit 2.0, organized by Multichannel News and
Broadcasting & Cable.

He said Time Warner Cable is moving toward a
“big pipe” approach, delivering content to an edge
device in the home, one with a hard drive and caching
capabilities, that can link to computers, iPads,
iPods or any other device on which a subscriber
wants to view content.

DOCSIS 3.0, cable’s next-generation broadband
platform, enables that big pipe, he said.

On-demand content — or “nonlinear” programming,
as he termed it — could comprise the majority
of viewed programming over time, other than sports
and other fare watched live, according to Manchester.
Nonlinear content is already a big part of TV
viewing, whether it be from a DVR, video on demand,
Apple TV or videos from Netflix or Redbox.

The TV Everywhere trial going on now in New York,
with a small number of subscribers, involves premium
content that can be viewed on the Web for authenticated
customers, he said. Working out the authentication
process is a major reason for the trial, he said.

An IPTV test would be in keeping with Time Warner
Cable’s evolution of digital video distribution.
The company was previously reported to be planning
a test of Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV software
in the Los Angeles system. Manchester didn’t spell
out specifics of the planned IPTV trial.

He said cable’s erosion of video subscribers,
at a time when digital voice and broadband subscriptions
continue to grow, makes it essential
to move to more of an IPTV environment.

Right now, he said, customers that want robust
international programming are using
Time Warner Cable cable modems plugged into
IPTV devices to get Chinese language fare from
KyLin TV. Time Warner Cable would like to be
able to make such programming services an extension
of the Time Warner Cable offering, he said.
Manchester made a point that Time Warner Cable
started testing VOIP in 1997 and didn’t deploy it
fully until 2004.

“It’s no secret that we’re losing video subscribers
as an industry,” he said. “We can’t afford to wait.”