OTT rapidly becoming the future of video transport

August 5, 2013 - 1:18pm
OTT content delivery is changing the way viewers watch TV.

In the increasingly crowded market of video and broadcast delivery, over-the-top streaming is beginning to separate itself from the pack. The traditional pay-TV alternative offers more agile installation - and the interactivity and flexibility to which Internet users are accustomed. Many industry analysts have said that OTT content delivery is simply better positioned than other multichannel distribution options to capitalize on the trends of consumerization and high speed internet demand that are driving tech purchases and subscriptions today.

Even cable MSOs, who were traditionally opposed to OTT video, have begun to see the writing on the wall, according to Light Reading contributor and Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick. During the recent general sessions of The Independent Show, many industry insiders advocated the inclusion of OTT video into video and broadband bundles.

"OTT is a real trend," stated Patrick Knorr, EV at midsize cable operator Wave Broadband, according to Breznick. "That's where the 20-year-olds are going. There's absolutely going to be a long-term trend toward different kinds of video."

Analysts cited mounting evidence, including what could be the first-ever overall loss of pay TV video subscribers this year as cable operators continue to add 2 million broadband customers, which suggests that customers are investing in IP video and bundled services, prioritizing speed and convenience above all else. 

Optimal hardware for OTT video
Technology is one barrier to the expansion of OTT video, as well as its inclusion in cable providers' service offerings. Many organizations are unwilling or unable to part with legacy infrastructure that is insufficient for IP video transport. A recent survey by Unisphere Research found that financial and regulatory limitations were restricting the deployment of next generation hardware and architecture. For example, 59 percent of their respondents, which included pay TV operators, content owners and technology providers, stated that broadband bandwidth limitations are the top obstruction to OTT adoption. Quality of service and quality of experience were considered to be a hindrance by 55 percent of respondents. The researchers said that these considerations could also extend from bandwidth concerns. 

Providers and operators concerned about contending with rising OTT demand can invest in several key technologies that can offer the most bang for their buck. In the case of OTT, QoS monitoring should be equal in importance to the network. It's essential to keep tabs on video quality, as it's one of the major reasons for increased consumer attention. Next generation solutions like MPEG4 decoders are also necessary, as they can modulate video quality in transit to ensure that the product delivered to consumers is clear, crisp and consistent. 

Video Transcoding
Video Monitoring
Signal Quality