Facilitating Hybrid Video Delivery

Video services are a compelling component of any service providers suite of services. Google recently announced a new broadcast stack on Android TV that supports open architectures while expanding support for a variety of capabilities including global broadcast standards such as DVB-T/T2, DVB-C, DVB-s2 and ISDB. Amino has been integrating tuners into its IP set-top boxes for quite some time and appreciates the focus on the need for hybrid video delivery

Why? Because first and foremost consumers overwhelming prefer the choice and convenience of streaming on demand versus the defined schedule of linear TV. Even with 500 channels, the scheduled programming offered by pay TV services doesn’t match the broad appeal of the wide variety of content choice offered by Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, TikTok and others – on demand. However, many consumers do still want access to the local content provided by their pay TV provider. The rise of streaming has been enabled by the adoption of IP as the underlying network technology. And it is the technology of choice for streaming to phones, tablets and the TV itself.

Second, as demand for streamed video content increases so does the need for more effective video compression and transmission technologies. Most QAM based services still use MPEG-2 for SD and H.264 for HD content. The latest video compression algorithms, like VP9 and AV1, achieve significantly higher compression rates and are thus more bandwidth efficient. in addition, the modulation technologies underlying DOCSIS 3.1, the current most widely deployed version of DOCSIS, support more efficient schemes than QAM256, which is the limit of older cable receivers. In essence, by moving from legacy QAM to IP cable operators can take advantage of technologies that increase bandwidth and increase compression.

Finally, while coaxial wiring has been the most important in-home video distribution technology for the past 70 years it has been supplanted by WiFi. WiFi has been embraced as the primary in home and in building distribution technology for consumers and business worldwide, ensuring continued investment in speed and quality while also lowering costs due to enormous scale. HFC networks are a very effective means to connect millions of WiFi networks to the fiber backbones that comprise the Internet. Therefore, cable network bandwidth is most valuable when used to convey IP traffic to and from WiFi networks in homes and businesses rather than dedicated to one-way linear video.

What does this mean for cable pay-TV providers? It means they are now offering hybrid video services – meaning they deliver linear channels via their existing infrastructure while also streaming content from the plethora of OTT providers – all across their IP-enabled networks. This means that the set-top box, which represents their brand within the consumer home, must support legacy cable technology as well as multicast and unicast delivery.

The cable tuner variant of our popular Amigo 7X provides the Android TV experience attractive to both operators and their subscribers, while easily integrating with middleware, conditional access system and DRM platforms popular in cable deployments. Our experience within the pay TV ecosystem enhances technology built into the Android TV platform, with an understanding of legacy audio/video decoding, subtitling, QoS tagging, ADB to Syslog support, and much more. We have the expertise to ensure a smooth Android TV certification process that incorporates your need to support hybrid video delivery to your subscribers. Let’s talk!

 

Mark Evensen,
CTO, Chief Technology Officer