Demonstrating “Skinny TV” Options @ INTX

For many consumers, TV and Internet services go hand in hand. But OTT providers—recently Sony, Dish/Sling, and HBO—are challenging that model and enticing consumers to consider new “Skinny TV” packages, which offer a select lineup of channels that can appeal to “cord nevers.”

The emerging challenge for service providers is two-fold: consumer migration from traditional TV services and the bandwidth strain of supporting OTT.

But there’s a simple solution: if service providers deliver their own version of “Skinny TV,” not only can they recapture subscriber video revenue, but they can also leverage the ARRIS Multicast system to reduce traffic by a factor of 20—and that’s what we’re demonstrating in our booth (#101) at INTX.

Our new ARRIS 24-Channel Streaming solution showcases the incredible efficiency of our Multicast system in offering an alternative to OTT. It also yields two distinct advantages:

  • Compatibility with Consumer Devices – ARRIS multicast system has intelligence in the network cloud and subscriber gateway to avoid OTT bandwidth bloating and maintain compatibility with consumer connected devices. From streaming video sources, Internet backbone, CMTS, and out through the DOCSIS network to the gateway, bandwidth efficiency is maximized with multicast protocols. From there, the gateway performs a simple protocol translation to ABR streaming protocols to be compatible with consumer devices.
  • Bandwidth Efficiency – Using multicast protocol through the network eliminates carrying a unique copy of every stream, thereby conserving bandwidth. This efficiency can be significant. For example, if 500 homes are consuming streaming services at 6 Mbps, then 3 Gbps of backbone and DOCSIS bandwidth is consumed. The same number of homes with multicast protocol consumes a mere 144 Mbps of bandwidth – a factor of 20 reduction.

The ARRIS 24-Channel Streaming solution demo features several ARRIS solution elements:

Stop by the ARRIS booth #101 at INTX to see how this solution can change the consumer’s entertainment game.

Ultra HD – The future is clear, but why can’t I see it?

Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow, ARRIS

The landscape is shifting in the world of entertainment, content and delivery. The last few years have seen the world’s biggest brands touting their latest and greatest TVs, most of which boast some form of Ultra HD (UHD) capability. But how many people actually know what this technology is. And for those who have already purchased it, why doesn’t their favorite TV show look wildly better?

Within our industry, UHD, 4K, HDR, 8K, etc. are all common, well-known terms, but we recognize that the majority of consumers out there are unfamiliar with the next generation of HD technologies. So, this year, we would like to take a step back and work to set the stage for what new standards for TV are coming very soon (and are already here).

For those early adopters who already own a UHD TV, you might be frustrated that the UHD content currently available is so limited and difficult to stream. Right now, your smart TV uses several third party apps/monthly services to provide this content, but most of us are wondering the same thing – when will my service provider start programming sports and other content in the resolution my TV is able to deliver?

This is where ARRIS can help. ARRIS is working with programmers and content distributors to develop efficient, reliable, high-quality infrastructure to make UHD a reality. Building out this infrastructure enables a UHD “workflow” to evolve that will get UHD pictures to your living room.

The network matters because workflow matters. How will those who create and deliver content be able to provide these experiences at the highest possible quality, in an efficient way, allowing the service to be affordable for everyone? If the workflow is too complicated, it will drive costs up and even hinder quality. ARRIS is ahead of the curve on this front. We have developed several new technologies that simplify these processes, making them more efficient, and enable cable, IPTV, satellite, and OTT providers to deliver better and richer UHD experiences to customers.

Needless to say, the way we see content on our TVs and smart devices is in the midst of a massive transformation. Over the coming months, we will break down these elements to their core truths to give you a clear picture of what’s to come, how you can prepare, when you should upgrade devices, and much more. So, stay tuned and be sure to send us any questions below.

We’ll also be at the NAB show next week in Vegas, so drop by our booth SU7121 to hear more.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of April 6, 2015

 

This week, Light Reading highlighted the results of a study conducted for ARRIS by Heavy Reading, which found that cable operators and telcos anticipate strong growth in both the deployment and adoption of their multiscreen video services over the next couple of years.

In other industry news, Rapid TV News reported that over-the-top (OTT) content paid for via carrier billing is expected to provide operators with upwards of $14 billion in revenues over the next five years, according to Juniper Research.

However, Daniel Frankel of FierceCable noted that we are very much in the early stages of OTT and that it is still unknown how fast the earliest OTT business models put forth by the pay-TV industry will grow.

Separately, Advanced Television covered the results of a YouGov poll, which found that the average UK household now owns 7.4 connected devices.

Finally, Huffington Post included an article on how the difficulties faced by consumers when streaming TV are leading many to reconsider cutting the cord.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. Pay-TV Providers See Multiscreen Promise (April 8) By Alan Breznick, Light Reading: Despite still relatively low consumer awareness of its benefits, multiscreen video is offering service providers more hope in the fiercely competitive pay-TV market.
  2. OTT carrier billing to generate $14BN (April 8) By Michelle Clancy, Rapid TV News: In the ongoing quest to combat the threat of over-the-top (OTT) applications, network operators are looking for ways to distribute cloud-based and mobile content to consumers themselves, bundled with their broadband.
  3. Pay-TV operators writing the rules for their OTT future (April 8) By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable: In the area of over-the-top distribution, there are plenty of known unknowns, to borrow some rather infamous political phrasing.
  4. Average UK home owns 7.4 connected devices (April 9) By Staff Writer, Advanced Television: The average UK household now owns 7.4 connected devices, with four out of 10 households buying a tablet in the last year, according to YouGov.
  5. Streaming TV Is Bigger Than Ever — But Pause Before Cutting The Cord (April 7) By Timothy Stenovec, Huffington Post: A colleague of mine was considering ditching his Time Warner Cable subscription in favor of PlayStation’s new Vue TV service, which streams live TV over the Internet.

Interview with Charles Cheevers: Internet of Things

Charles Cheevers, CTO, Customer Premises Equipment

Charles Cheevers, CTO, CPE, ARRIS 

Today is the Fifth Annual Internet of Things (IoT) day. And while IoT is a hot industry topic that continues to make its way into our lives, it’s one that’s still evolving and often misunderstood. In celebration of IoT day, we sat down with ARRIS CTO Charles Cheevers to demystify IoT and shed some light on the ways it’s changing our industry and creating new opportunities ahead.

The Internet of Things means different things to different people. How do you define it and what does it mean to you?

It’s simply the ability to connect more end devices over wireless technologies and affect actions and operations across these devices – typically for a better user experience in the home as well as the ability to interact with devices outside the home.

An example of such a service is home automation where a homeowner can manage their heating and lighting remotely through the Internet – setting the lighting or heating to come on even if they are not in the house.

But what IoT means to the consumer can vary immensely, because of the sheer number of related devices and potential services.

What can IoT look like from a consumer’s perspective?

Currently, it’s unclear and even confusing.

Consumer are already involved in IoT, and getting more and more involved with each device they connect to a network – from smartphones on LTE to smart features in connected cars, smart TVs at home, wearable fitness devices, and Connected Home or Home Automation systems.

The problem with the consumer experience is that it’s fragmented and not consistent across different classes of services and devices. Many of the current solutions are proprietary and don’t play well in a diverse IoT environment, despite efforts to standardize them.

There’s a big opportunity to create simple, standardized solutions that minimize the number of different applications, instructions and services a user has to access to benefit from improvements in their digital lives. Often, the best IoT applications are the ones that are fully automated and work without human intervention or simple solutions that solve a distinct use case, like home camera solutions that allow you to check on the well being of a pet. Additionally using your voice to set house commands instead of costly products like keypads is both easier and more cost-effective for home automation.

Why should people care about IoT?

It’s about cost vs. value. There are many Internet-connected and -controlled devices and there’s an opportunity to create a lot of value here, but what it’s worth is different for different people. For example, people value convenience and simplicity, but while it may be convenient and therefore valuable to set your thermostat remotely, the cost to do so may or may not justify the convenience.

In general, however, these connected devices are becoming more capable, connected, and affordable. And this growing collection of connected devices creates the foundation for unprecedented levels of convenience and simplicity in everything from entertainment to transportation and medicine. As that value to consumers overcomes the price of entry, more and more people will jump on IoT to improve their lifestyles. One of the ways to ensure this is to collapse more functionality into existing devices like Broadband Gateways, Wi-Fi extenders, set-top/video gateways and remote controls. Including IoT onboarding functions in these devices reduces capital expenditure investments in IoT and allows service providers in particular to play a direct role in the IoT home experience.

The promise of IoT sounds a lot like Home Automation years ago; how is it different? 

IoT is much bigger than Home Automation; that’s just one of a thousand potential applications.

One can already see new services emerge, like connected automobile applications, where new levels of connectivity enable new services to be delivered to the car, which one day could include driving the car remotely because of the presence of a high-speed connection.

And then there’s the fundamental repositioning of the consumer’s involvement in these services… The future is not giving consumers the ability to control and manage more and more things, but anticipating, recommending, and eventually automating these actions.

The implication is a much greater connection between businesses and consumers that allow this exchange of services in the many facets of consumers’ lifestyles. A great example is in the verticals of Medicare and Energy management…

In the case of Medicare, consumers — if sent home from a medical treatment — can continue to be monitored in the home and stay in contact with their caregiver. Through reliable connectivity over wireless devices and leveraging things like the TV and Cameras to engage with physicians, the cost of aftercare or aging in place can be greatly reduced and the services enhanced.

In the case of Energy Management — think of a future where the washing machine could declare that it is now ready for a two-hour wash cycle and looking for a utility company to offer the best rate of energy for this cycle. These types of B2C operations can start to take place to create benefits for both businesses and consumers alike.

What’s the opportunity for Service Providers?

Service Providers have 2 basic choices regarding IoT in the coming years:

1.)    Focus on the connectivity and onboarding of devices and become a connectivity provider – extending the broadband network into the IoT realm but remaining a pipe for over-the-top (OTT) services

2.)    Extending their current demarcation of having gateways, extenders and set-tops in various locations of the home and adding 802.15.4 and Bluetooth low-energy radios to these devices to create multiple IoT hubs in the home by:

  • (a) Leveraging their own vertical IoT devices and services like Security and Automation
  • (b) Adding value to BYoD devices by partnering with the top IoT device and service providers and integrating their solutions into the overall Home experience — effectively becoming the aggregator for all connected services in the home. An example of this may be a partnership with a Smart Garage Door Opener where the notification of the door opening may also appear in the TV User Experience of the MSO.
  • (c) Partnering with large verticals of Medicare and Energy and Utilities to extend their current service offerings to include other OTT services and IoT derived connected home services. They can range from the traditional ones like Home Security right through the range of M2M and B2C opportunities with the service provider offering secure onboarding and integration into the multiscreen devices in the home.

The latter approach seems to be within the reach of the service provider by leveraging existing devices and adding new service layers to their backoffice.

How will IoT change our entertainment and communications? What’s the promise of IOT?

Entertainment and communications will be more automatic and more personalized.

The preferred experience is one in which the user does very little. Enter the room, and the music audio level increases. The phone rings, and the audio level decreases.

The success of IoT will be how simple it is and how little we have to interact with it… We don’t want to push three buttons over and over again to get the content we want.

There are already published applications where wrist-based wearable devices are integrated in the TV-viewing experience: when the person leaves the room the TV pauses or if they fall asleep the DVR kicks in automatically. The technology is already here; the test is its value to consumers.

The ultimate promise is improving our lives while reducing our interaction with technology—letting us focus on other things in life.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of March 30, 2015

This week, the Associated Press covered ARRIS’s deal with NASCAR Productions to provide each of the racing teams participating in this year’s Sprint Cup Series with a SURFboard® SB6183 modem and E6000™ converted edge router.

Separately, CED included a story on the general availability of AgileMax™, ARRIS’s new hybrid passive optical network (HPON™) solution to completely eliminate Optical Beat Interference (OBI) in Advanced DOCSIS, FTTP deployments.

Additionally, the Atlanta Business Chronicle highlighted the recent appointment of Patrick Macken as ARRIS’s new senior vice president and general counsel.

In other industry news, Multichannel News noted the results of Adobe’s 2014 U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report, which suggests that consumers continue to prefer TV Everywhere services from their pay-TV providers, despite the recent surge in competition from over-the-top (OTT) services.

Finally, Advanced Television reported that, according to the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers, the industry is quickly adopting 4K, with production of ‘ordinary’ HDTV screens expected to potentially cease altogether by the end of 2016-2017.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. ARRIS technology to help power NASCAR communications (March 31) By Staff Writer, Associated Press: ARRIS Technology will provide NASCAR Productions with equipment for Internet services at Sprint Cup races this season.
  2. Arris marketing new RFoG approach (March 31) By Brian Santo, CED: Arris is hitting the market with its previously announced AgileMax system, which introduces a variation of RF over glass technology that is designed to entirely sidestep what the company says is a chronic problem in RFoG installations.
  3. People on the Move (March 31) By Staff Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle: Macken will oversee all aspects of the company’s global legal function and will report to ARRIS Chairman and CEO Bob Stanzione.
  4. TV Everywhere Makes Strides Against OTT Rivals: Study (March 30) By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News: If TV Everywhere aims to help traditional pay TV providers fend off a surge of over-the-top competition, new data suggests that the needle is moving in the right direction.
  5. SMPTE: “4K picking up speed” (March 31) By Chris Forrester, Advanced Television: The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), in its latest ‘Newswatch’ publication, states that the industry’s transition to 4K has “picked up considerable speed.”

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of March 23, 2015

This week, Multichannel News covered Wurl’s announcement that its 1Guide streaming platform has rolled out to WideOpenWest subscribers in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Michigan via WOW’s “Streamland” service, which is available on its ARRIS-made Ultra set-tops.

In other industry news, TV News Check highlighted a MoffettNathanson Research study that found that new over-the-top (OTT) services that offer no or limited broadcast networks are not likely to be as attractive to consumers.

Separately, Digital TV Europe reported new findings from market intelligence agency Mintel that show that streaming video on demand (SVoD) is set to account for 38 percent of the total UK video market by 2019.

Broadband TV News included coverage of a recent ABI Research report that shows that the worldwide pay TV market generated $257 billion in 2014 and is on track to surpass 1.1 billion subscribers in 2020.

Finally, The Washington Post noted that broadband speeds are expanding nationwide and that all but seven states saw increases in average connection speeds between the third and fourth quarters of 2014, indicating that Internet connection capacity across the country will continue to grow.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. Wurl’s Streaming Platform Powers WOW’s Integrated OTT (March 25) By Leslie Jaye Goff, Multichannel News: Wurl, a provider of streaming-video programming to pay TV operators, confirmed Wednesday that its 1Guide streaming platform has rolled out to WideOpenWest subscribers via the cable system’s “Streamland” service in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Michigan. Streamland is WOW’s branded over-the-top streaming service available on its Ultra TV set-tops, which are manufactured by Arris.
  2. Study: OTT Services Need Broadcast Nets (March 25) By Harry A. Jessell, TV News Check: The best hope of the new breed of OTT TV services is for them to include the broadcast networks, which reach seven times more viewers than the average cable network and two times more than the most popular cable networks.
  3. UK SVoD market to pass £1 billion by 2019 (March 23) By Staff Writer, Digital TV Europe: The subscription video streaming market in the UK is due to exceed revenues of £1 billion (€1.37 billion) by 2019, and account for 38% of the total UK video market, according to new research.
  4. Global pay TV subscribers to surpass 1.1 billion in 2020 (March 26) By Staff Writer, Broadband TV News: The worldwide pay TV market grew at a steady rate of 4% in 2014 to reach 923.5 million subscribers, according to ABI Research.
  5. Map: The state of broadband in the states (March 25) By Niraj Chokshi, The Washington Post: Broadband speeds are expanding nationwide and the conditions seem good for even more growth.
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