Moving content to the edge of the network, closer to subscribers, optimizes transport costs, ensures a scalable quality of experience and creates value on which to build new business models.
Innovation is rapidly changing what we think of as the "TV"expanding how we watch TV, what and when we watch and even how we interact with it. This can mean boom or bust for the TV industry. For telecom service providers, in particular, whose aggressive IPTV investments got them in the game, now is the chance to win it. They have an opportunity to leverage their IP-based networks to eclipse the quality of experience enabled by conventional broadcast technologies, seizing market share and new revenue. The implications are huge.
The technology for FCC/RET is an ideal foundation for more advanced apps, such as PLTV and TSTV
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Ubiquitous high-definition (HD) content with more personalization and greater interactivity means higher concurrency and mass-scale unicasting: simultaneous users and high-service usage increases network and per-subscriber bandwidth. Combined with the demand for IPTV services in several rooms in the home, operators must ensure their delivery of a high-quality TV experience is never jeopardized. Given the necessity of a low Total Cost of Ownership to profitability, service delivery architectures must evolve.
Fortunately, declining memory and processing costs now make it viable to implement video caching, storing, splicing and streaming capabilities within the network.
Case in point
A case study on linear TV delivery (that is, conventional broadcast TV delivered over IP) and its challenges with HD and multiroom offers is a useful place to begin. Despite its use of bandwidth-efficient multicasting to distribute hundreds of channels in the first instance, it provides insight into the challenges driving architecture evolution for mass-market unicasting and is thus a good proxy for the challenges of more advanced personalized and interactive services.
With linear TV programming, a single copy of each channel is pushed onto the network at the video office and thereafter the network uses multicasting to replicate and deliver, as required, all channels to the edge of the network. Only the channels being watched are switched onto a given subscriber's broadband connection. When a subscriber changes channels, Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) is used to signal the change to the network.
HD content and multiroom offerings push more bandwidth into the home, increasing the likelihood of transmission errors from higher Digital Subscriber Line capacities and/or noisy home networking technologies such as power lines. Since IPTV is User Datagram Protocol-based, there is no inherent mechanism to retransmit the damaged video content. As a result, visual artifacts will appear on the screen when errors occur, deteriorating the user experience. While true for all video encoding techniques, MPEG4 is particularly sensitive to transmission errors, thus compounding the issue.