Competitors are deploying IP video today and are moving toward the vision of
“any service at any time to any customer device”

IP video continues to proliferate as the number of broadband connections grows, bandwidth speeds get faster and mobile connectivity drives toward ubiquity. Consumers are experiencing what is possible with the rapidly expanding list of consumer electronics devices in and out of the home. As customers demand the flexibility of viewing video on an everexpanding array of IP devices, MSOs face key challenges in how to deliver and manage professional or managed video services to these unmanaged consumer electronics devices. Namely, how do MSOs use today’s network and available bandwidth to deliver these new services and ensure all of these devices, as one cable CTO put it, “wake up together” every morning?

Ran OzGiven that a full migration to all-IP networks is years away, it is vital that MSOs have the technology in place to be able to meet customers’ demand for multi-screen IP video today. Service providers also need a way to circumvent consumers from sourcing IP video from the Internet over broadband connections because it only results in significant costs with no commercial benefit to the MSO, whose network is being used to deliver the content.

The good news is that operators can leverage today’s proven and widely deployed switched digital video and edge QAM architecture to distribute IP content and extend managed video services to subscriber-owned devices in the home or business with control.

If an operator has already deployed SDV for bandwidth reclamation, it can easily extend that infrastructure with just a piece of software to ensure that IP video is delivered and managed effectively to devices in the home with an open, standards-based approach. If an operator hasn’t deployed SDV, there are other options, but they aren’t as scalable.

Leveraging SDV for the transport of video – utilizing either existing MPEG-2 or IP transport encapsulated with a DOCSIS header and transported over the RF-switched QAM tier to terminate on a standard modem, or encapsulated directly in a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, otherwise known as CMTS offload solutions – enables MSOs to take advantage of the IP video opportunity today. It is also integrated with the end-to-end solution elements of an IP video ecosystem required for delivering a high-quality managed IP video service to subscribers, such as digital rights management solutions, guides and open standards/guidelines, to simplify the communication and management of consumer electronics devices.

Other alternatives such as transport gateways or CMTS-only solutions have various limitations related to scale, economics, quality of service, DRM and measurement that will hinder der operators from rapidly, efficiently and cost-effectively meeting subscribers’ demand for IP video services today.

Using proven SDV infrastructure in conjunction with a CMTS offload approach can be implemented with Digital Living Network Alliance capabilities in the cable modem/home gateway as part of the client. This means standard consumer IP devices such as mobile tablets/Apple iPads, gaming consoles, TVs and other devices that have implemented DLNA can access IP video services – such as linear, video-ondemand and hosted Internet video via open standards – without the need for operators to develop any electronic program guide or special guides for each of the devices. Additionally, DLNA's more than 250 member companies are continually working to develop new products to expand the number of DLNA-certified devices.

Competitors are deploying IP video today and are moving toward the vision of “any service at any time to any customer device.” Operators must be well positioned to launch managed IP video services to the tens of millions of unmanaged customer premises devices that are already in subscribers’ homes today. Fortunately, we estimate that more than 40 million households in North America have been, or are in the process of, being deployed with SDV, which offers the most cost-effective and rapid means to deliver managed IP video to the growing number of consumer electronics devices, including all of the tools necessary to measure and monetize these services. When implemented with DLNA capabilities, SDV further extends IP video delivery, finally managing what has been – until now – an unmanaged experience for devices in the home.

Next month, Aurora Networks' Wim Mostert will discuss how cable operators can get the most out of their DOCSIS 3.0 deployments.