March 10, 2022

Pay TV Reality Check | Part 3

Managed Streaming Devices

The reality for Pay TV providers, currently, is subscriber interest in options that give them greater control. Consumers are frustrated by subscriptions that seemingly require them to pay for channels they never watch. There is little interest by the consumer in understanding the ‘back story’ that require Pay TV providers to provide them with the various channel packages. There is decreasing interest in ‘bundles’ that combine voice, data and video services.  

The consumer wants control of their home entertainment budget. But they also want simplicity in accessing the content they want. And, while streaming services give them access to content at an affordable monthly cost, they are subscribing to more than one service to gain access to all the programs they want to watch. In fact, the number of services to which the average household subscribes has been steadily increasing from 2 or 3 streaming service to 4-7 services.  

However, the “replacement” of Pay TV with streaming is not without frustration.

  • As the number of services increases, so does the aggravation of navigating between services and finding the desired content.
  • As the big studios consolidate, they are ‘bundling’ services together, raising prices and re-creating the challenge of Pay TV where the consumer is forced to pay more even though they may not be interested in all of the available content.  
  • While live streaming is improving (note the success of the Super Bowl) much content is still only available via legacy Pay TV operators and has been cited as a primary reason why many cord cutters are putting a bandage on those cords and returning to Pay TV
  • Quality of service is gaining increased attention. Consumers are frustrated with delayed video start and buffering. Validating video delivery to the consumer home is critical, particularly for live sports.  

Does this present Pay TV operators with an opportunity? We believe the answer is, yes – particularly as it applies to the last point. Ensuring video delivery has been the job of pay TV providers since their inception. The set-top box is the final piece in a supply chain that allows the operator to validate delivery at every step of the process.  

Many operators are choosing to migrate from traditional Pay TV services to broadband only offers or app-based video models. This shift allows them to reduce the cost of managing video services by eliminating or reducing costs related to content acquisition, video head-ends, managing multicast networks and set-top boxes. However, many of our customers are telling us, that even when pursuing these strategies, they still want at least one set-top box in the home. Why? The answer is simply this – the set-top box is the critical piece in the supply chain that allows them to validate the quality of the video delivered to the consumer home.  

Consumer devices such as dongles, SmartTVs or Connected TVs are “unmanaged” devices – meaning that the broadband provider cannot “ping” them or view any device metrics to confirm video quality. If the consumer has a question about their video experience and call their broadband provider, that provider can only confirm that the network does or does not have any issues. They cannot confirm the functionality of the device or its ability to display video. Even a single set-top box in the home gives the operator the ability to confirm video delivery and determine that the issue the consumer may be facing, is not caused by their network.

Amino has been providing managed devices to Pay TV providers for decades. We continue to enhance our solutions that give operators the tools that give them centralized visibility of deployed devices and the metrics validating the video quality delivered.  Let’s talk about how we can help evolve your video service capabilities.

Learn more about our managed streaming devices.