Feature: Soapbox Musings

A Possible Direction For Streaming Video

Author: dana blouin
Published: August 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

Over the past few years an immanent convergence of consumer electronics and streaming web content has been very clear. Device integration has been on the rise; devices like Roku and Boxee have become more sophisticated and the number of TV’s that come IP ready are creeping up.

While at the same time streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are ever expanding their content. Couple all of these factors with an under-performing economy and a high rate of unemployment and it’s no surprise that more and more people are dropping traditional video service and making the move to streaming web content as their exclusive video source.

All of the above factors might seem to point at the slow demise of traditional video service providers; but a case could be made that for IP video to grow it will need to be embraced by cable and satellite providers. Streaming video already accounts for the majority of traffic on the data side service providers’ networks and these services are hurting Video-On-Demand revenues. Not to mention that the integration of IP technology into newer TV sets is only going to increase the popularity of these services by making access to the content more convenient for the user.

If cable and satellite providers were willing to work with streaming content providers and integrate streaming functionality into their set-top boxes and cable card platforms they would be able to leverage streaming video as part of their service. This would also allow the streaming providers who enter into these agreements to grow their customer base as well as avoid the ever imminent threat of end user bandwidth caps that some service providers have begun to implement as a way to fend off such services.

Some cable companies have already launched their own streaming video services in an attempt to offset the user’s appetite for such content. Comcast offers their Xfinity TV service where they offer streaming for much of their content to their customer’s devices such as a Laptop, Tablet, or Phone. This is a great service, but is not able to offer the same kind of content library as a service such as Netflix. If a provider were able to offer both a service like Comcast’s Xfinity and supplement it with content from Netflix that could be streamed direct to the customers TV from the same set-top or cable card then that could potentially be a game changing service.


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Article Author: dana blouin

dana blouin is a network engineer and a technologist with a passion for networking and digital communication. He is currently a PhD student studying Information and Communication Technology at Thammasat University - SIIT in Bangkok, Thailand. …

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