IBC 2014 – Over-The–Top (OTT) Business Convention

There has never been a more exciting time than now when it comes to the business of producing, delivering and consuming video. The buzz surrounding this year’s IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) event in Amsterdam certainly proved that.

With over 1,500 exhibitors, 55,000 attendees, combined with a ton of different video equipment releases, and new software solutions for video capturing, editing, delivering, and how it is watched, is certainly overwhelming to say the least.

While the creation and distribution of 4K Ultra-HD video remained prominent, there was a lot of talk about TV everywhere on any device, compounded by what seemed like a higher number of OTT (over-the-top) cloud-based TV solutions. 

Over-The–Top (OTT) cloud-based TV Solutions

kontron_IBCAs per an Ooyala report, OTT video is expected to generate more than $42B in revenue on fixed broadband networks alone by 2020. Look at US-based Netflix, for example. From a declining DVD-by-mail business to transforming the movie rental market, it’s now going after television in a big way – from the content delivery business to the content creation business. The company’s stock price has quadrupled over the past year, alone. It is TV transcended, where one can watch anytime, anywhere on any device. Entire seasons of episodes watched in one binge-filled sitting. Europe is next, with expansion plans already established in the UK, and France and Germany having just started, now Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg are the next targets.

Win-win-win Scenario between OTT Player, Operator and Subscriber

So where does this leave all the Pay-TV cable operators? Well, the more progressive ones are looking “to join the OTT fray” and start producing service strategies with OTT-type options in a co-branded model. Which brings me back to IBC. There were dozens of players offering software-defined solutions for telcos and cable operators. One that is very interesting is ActiveVideo and its CloudTV™ StreamCast used by operators in Europe to deliver the full online YouTube experience to existing set-top boxes in a very scalable model. With a first phase implementation in central Europe, the response has been immediate with very hungry Pay-TV subscribers consuming VoD YouTube content at peak times that are complementary to any linear television’s primetime hours. So clearly it’s a win-win-win scenario between OTT player, operator, and subscriber.

Symkloud: Scalability on a compact, common COTS Platform is Key

KONTRON DEMOThe added cool factor for Kontron is the SYMKLOUD platform which is being strongly considered to play a supporting role as the cloud hardware part of the software-defined equation. Scalability on a compact, common COTS platform is key, which was a commonly coveted by the various vendors seeking new HPC servers during IBC.

The Kontron Symkloud platform was in the Intel booth running a full end-to-end live OTT software-defined demo , done in collaboration with Vantrix, a global provider of media optimization and delivery solutions.

The demo essentially showed off all the various applications that can be used on Symkloud, including –Head-End SDI video acquisition (new integrated Matrox SDI module; up to 72 1080p HD/2U); Intel AES encryption; adaptive bit-rate packaged streams cached (up to 18 TB per 2U) for Private Cloud nPVR applications, and lastly video transcoding to stream back out for multiscreen viewing, including a 4K TV, tablet, and mobile device in the booth. Hardware-wise, this is achieved by a modular design that supports up to 18 Intel® Core™ i7 processors that feature the Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics, which can yield up to 180 live 1080p HD video streams or up to 10x real-time VoD HD offline transcoding per file. Intel has made major investments to make the GPU portion a key to this success in the video market. An Intel Media SDK is available (part of the new Intel® Media Server Studio 2015) for ISVs to develop or leverage their application workloads on the GPU based on Linux or Windows.

The global online TV and video revenues are forecast to exceed $42.3 billion in 2020, an increase of more than 123% over expected 2014 revenues of $19 billion, and a whopping 968% increase from 2010’s $3.96 billion. Clearly, we are all active consumers of video and there is no end in sight for this industry ever slowing down. The evolution of creating, producing and delivering video is moving exceedingly fast.

Depending on what part of the world you live in, what changes have you seen from one year to the next? Do you consume more video? How? Have your viewing habits changed? Let me know. Feel free to share your comments below.

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