TV Everywhere has been a hot topic at a cold SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Denver this week, and CableLabs has added fuel to the fire by issuing a request for information (RFI) to nail down the elements for a common technical approach for consumers to have secure online subscription video services from a provider.
The deadline for responses is Dec. 11. CableLabs said the objective of the RFI was to have suppliers provide CableLabs and its cable operator members with assistance in defining the technical requirements and architecture necessary to enable online access to subscription cable TV video services involving both multiple programmers and multiple multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). A goal is to use existing standards and specifications.
“We are issuing this RFI at the strong urging of our members,” said CableLabs President and CEO Paul Liao. “It is their belief that a common technical approach will offer greater choice to consumers, and will enable competition among technology providers to support the market,” he added.
Comcast has expanded its trial version of TV Everywhere, On Demand Online, to roughly 10,000 Comcast homes, while Time Warner Cable has 300 in its trial but expects to expand to 6,000 in the near future. Comcast is working with 25 networks and is using its own Web portals for the video content that is sent over the Internet to its subscribers, while Time Warner Cable is using the Web portals of TNT and TBS.
“I am greatly encouraged that this RFI and CableLabs' efforts will provide the technical tools to our industry and other multichannel programming providers to offer high-quality video online,” said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, who is also chairman of the CableLabs board of directors.
Key components of the RFI include broad areas such as service architecture, technical interface specifications, resource attributes specifications, infrastructure components and security.
“This work by CableLabs will be consistent with the high-level service goals that we at Time Warner Cable announced last June,” said Time Warner Cable CEO and President Glenn Britt. “Our intention is to make this technology open and non-exclusive.”
CableLabs said guiding principles behind the RFI for online content access include providing technology solutions with the highest level of security possible to enable consumer choice and convenience while protecting consumer privacy, protecting copyright, and enabling both ad-supported and pure subscription programming online.
TV Everywhere solutions have been abundant at Expo this week as vendors rush in to help cable operators enable their own video services over the Internet to their subscribers. Motorola has elements of its TV Everywhere initiative at the show, but only its customers are allowed to view the demonstrations.