Viodi View – 06/23/14

My aha moment from last week’s SMPTE ETIA Conference was triggered by the FCC’s Matthew DelNero’s excellent presentation on the history and status of Net Neutrality. That is, and it’s something that has been said for years by many experts, the entire telecom legal and regulatory morass needs to be simplified and flattened in a way that is analogous to what IP has done to the various telecom segments. Piecemeal legislation, like that offered up last week by Senator Leahy D-VT and Representative Matsui D-CA regarding paid prioritization, won’t help to break down these barriers. It is a brave new world and the legal and regulatory framework needs to catch up to the year 2014.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A screenshot of different audio profiles in a demonstration from Dolby Labs.
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Some 80% of those with hearing loss do not use a hearing aid, according to Philip Hilmes of L126/Amazon at SMPTE’s Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age Conference. His presentation was particularly timely given last week’s announcement of the Amazon Fire phone, Hilmes’ brought interesting insight into the topic of immersive and personal audio and how Amazon is using feedback from multiple sensors to create a better sound experience. Their work could have interesting implications for the hearing aid market as well as creating some interesting privacy implications.

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Broadband TV Conference Overview & Summary of MPEG-DASH Video Streaming Standard by Alan Weissberger

An image showing where DASH fits in the streaming ecosystem.
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The vital importance of the relatively new video streaming standard, DASH, was emphasized by Will Law of Akamai Technologies during his opening remarks: “DASH intends to be to the Internet world … what MPEG2-TS and NTSC have been to the broadcast world.” Video/multi-media streaming over the Internet (from web based video server to streaming client receiving device) was said to be a “feudal landscape.” That may now change with DASH, according to Will.

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Broadband TV Conference Part 2: How to Measure Streaming Video Quality by Alan Weissberger

A diagram showing different streaming methods.
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This second article on the 2014 Broadband TV Conference summarizes a presentation by OPTICOM’s CEO on streaming video quality measurements. This topic will be very important for many players in the OTT streaming video and connected TV markets. In particular, it’ll be quite valuable for adaptive bit rate OTT and mobile video streaming providers to measure and then attempt to improve the Quality of Experience (QoE) of their customers.

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Broadband TV Conference- Part 3: The Problem and Solution for WiFi Delivered Video Content… by Alan Weissberger

An image of AirTies Mesh network configuration.
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The number of mobile devices in the home is exploding. Most “Pay TV” operators (like Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FioS, and AT&T U-Verse) are supporting multiple screen viewing as part of their “TV Everywhere” services. The content is mostly OTT VoD, video clips, or real-time sporting events available by subscription (e.g. MLB.TV, or ESPN3) that’s played on mobile devices, gaming consoles and even connected TVs. Whole-home WiFi coverage and a consistent signal become mandatory for a good “user quality of experience.”
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Look Ma, Video with No Plug-Ins

Ken Pyle interviews Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis at the MetaSwitch 2014 Forum.
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For anyone who has ever faced the frustration of having to download a plug-in to launch a web conferencing program, WebRTC may provide the answer. Providing real-time communications via simple JavaScript APIs within the browser (Chrome, Opera, Mozilla) or mobile app, it is very simple for the average user to view video or contribute their own content without the need for plug-ins. Bubley explains the reason WebRTC has such a disruptive potential is that there are many uses cases over many market segments, so that even if some of them aren’t successful there will be a number that will find success.

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The Golden Age of Local TV Advertising

Ken Pyle interviews Mark Lieberman, CEO and president, of Viamedia at The Cable Show 2014.
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We are going through a a golden age; a renaissance; of TV programming,” said Mark Lieberman president and CEO of Viamedia. “It is the best platform; the most engaging platform for advertisers to get across their message.” He was referring to the value of television for advertisers. Lieberman discusses the automated, end-to-end programmatic solution they are introducing to make TV advertising even more valuable for local advertisers.

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A Hybrid Gaming Device

Ken Pyle interviews Whitney Merrifield of Xi3.
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Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and their associated game consoles were, as usual, center stage at this year’s premier gaming conference E3. PC gaming by one estimate and measure has a 20% market shareand isn’t going away. As a proof-point, the Piston Console from Xi3 is the latest in a series of micro-mini PCs that are both compact (e.g. can bolt to the back of a monitor) and powerful. Whitney Merrifield speaks to the advantages of the micro-mini approach, as embodied in the Piston, compared to the traditional console approach.

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Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

The Korner – The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means

An automobile industry executive and subject matter expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote the article that follows this preface. It is in response to my June 2nd article that speculated on Google’s long-term plans for the autonomous vehicle. This article provides additional insight into the AV market with some excellent references, while having some more fun imagining the type of vehicles we may see in the future.

Image showing what a vehicle might look like without a steering wheel.
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This article also introduces images from ED Design’s Michael Robinson, a Hall of Fame vehicle designer and leader in “Experiential Design”. He is at the forefront of determining what autonomous vehicles (whether on wheels, rails or wings) will look like and their impact on society. He wants to ensure that, in addition to achieving a safety goal of zero accidents, the autonomous vehicle doesn’t kill the love affair people have had with their cars.

More importantly, he wants the autonomous vehicle to be an extension of the future digital home; an environment that stimulates emotions and thoughts and not one that is simply a mobile couch potato transporter. As he points out, removing the steering wheel changes everything as far as vehicle design and he even suggests a scenario where regulators outlaw steering wheels and driver-less cars are mandatory in 2040 (coincidentally, the same year as my story takes place).

It is important for broadband providers to stay abreast of the direction of the AV market and the thinking of visionaries like Robinson and the anonymous author of the following article, as this mobile Internet of Things, known as autonomous vehicles, will have an impact on broadband networks at some level. Broadband providers will either find new opportunities in this arena or let the Googles of the world grab the opportunity.

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