Video and streaming are obviously going to be hot topics for a long time, and there’s interesting stuff happening all through the food chain. The question is whether the ecosystem that’s being pushed in so many directions at so many levels is going to converge on anything that all the players can survive in.
CES suggested that there are going to be more options for video connectivity offered in the future. Sets running Google TV (or Apple TV, of course, but they weren’t at CES), streaming to tablets in the home…maybe even smart car entertainment. We’ve also seen increased attention to the broader video ecosystem from the vendor community. Alcatel-Lucent has been promoting its “ng Connect” program, a framework for linking developers with bigger players who might be of help in sponsoring an innovative service notion, then moving the whole thing as a cooperative project. The concept isn’t limited to video, but clearly video is a main target. Cisco has announced a partnership with ActiveVideo, a “cloud video” player that creates better integration between legacy RF and IP streaming, to expand the functional scope of its Videoscape offering. Hulu, who seemed to be on the block, now seems to be getting more financing from the very players who were trying to sell it.
There’s clearly going to be a new set of video options, but I still think that we’re sensationalizing the impact of streaming given the dire effects it would have on traffic. We can deliver RF multi-channel on cable or fiber pretty darn easily and relatively cheaply. To deliver exactly the same material to the same number of users with IP streaming would require significant investment in some combination of metro infrastructure and CDN caching. Even in the US, TV delivery on what could be called “partitioned IP” meaning off-Internet like U-verse, wouldn’t violate neutrality, but that would require access providers get into the game, and that’s the segment that’s been looking elsewhere. TV Everywhere isn’t intended to be “everywhere” meaning to the exclusion of linear RF to these guys! It’s sort of “everywhere-my-RF-isn’t” instead. I think that the Bell Ladies have to sing before we can call the ball on the future of streaming.