The Revolution Will Be Televised: Asia’s Quick March to a Digital Future

Asia is in the midst of a digital transformation. Across the continent, Asian service providers are leading the way for some of the most advanced home entertainment experiences in the world. But what’s even more exciting are the incredible advances they’re making to bring these experiences to billions of consumers.

Service providers in many countries in Asia are leapfrogging entire technology generations. In some emerging markets, for example, broadband providers are going straight from dial-up to fiber broadband, while video providers are transitioning from analog to digital MPEG-4, completely bypassing MPEG-2 in the process.

These broad deployments of next-generation technology have a number of advantages. From a business perspective, they’re enabling local providers to unleash top-of-the-line services that are heads and shoulders above the competition’s offerings. And for consumers, it means that the future will arrive sooner—with faster speeds, smarter devices, and the latest entertainment coming on the heels of these cutting-edge deployments.

Even in areas without ‘straight to tomorrow’ trajectories, local providers are upgrading networks and technology at a pace that exceeds much of the world. It reflects the fact that Asia, as a market, is more competitive than ever before.

Among the biggest growth trends in Asia is the digitization of cable networks, fueled in large part by government mandates for nationwide infrastructure advancements. The resulting leaps in technology generations are changing the way that Asian providers introduce new services like network DVR. For example, in China, where few have ever owned a VCR, there is no interest in hitting the record button to watch something later. Chinese consumers expect providers to offer all shows—past and past—whenever they want them.

Asian providers are anticipating these new experiences as well as idiosyncratic expectations of their local consumers using a combination of technology and market insight. Content consumption across wireless networks is huge in Asia, as is multiscreen. In addition to investing in new network technology to handle the inevitable shift to multi-gigabit broadband, providers are also racing to ensure that there’s enough Wi-Fi coverage throughout consumers’ homes to take advantage of those speeds and power tomorrow’s TV in every room.

According to the ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index 2015, consumers in Asia-Pacific experience challenges when it comes to WiFi:  four out of every five Chinese consumers reported issues with their Wi-Fi. Add that to the nearly three-quarters of respondents who indicated that they want high-speed Internet in every room, and quickly the notion of generation-hopping both network infrastructure and home networking technology begins to make sense.

Whether it’s deploying network extenders, the latest DOCSIS devices, or laying fiber and shifting to all-IP networks, Asian service providers are setting a global example for the introduction of tomorrow’s entertainment. And very soon, Asian consumers will be the ones enjoying the fruits of falling technology prices, highly competitive markets, government incentives, and forward-looking service providers. The TV revolution in Asia is alive and very real indeed.

What’s Driving the Future of TV in Latin America?

TVLast week, we looked at the three biggest trends behind tomorrow’s TV at CES. Today, we’re uncovering two more that are transforming TV in Latin America:

Time-Shifted TV (TSTV): Tomorrow’s TV will be on consumers’ terms.

TV will become a customized experience. TSTV will give consumers whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it, and on any device. This on-demand content paradigm disrupts liner ad-driven TV in favor of alternatives like DVR, TV Everywhere, and OTT…  and they are quickly becoming the norm.

UI/UX Transformation: The future starts with the way we experience TV.

More content, on more devices, more often. That’s today’s problem. Consumers need new ways to navigate the growing and increasingly fragmented libraries of digital content. The future is a unified and familiar experience that anticipates what consumers want and allows them to enjoy it easily on any device.

These trends reveal the increasingly personalized and human-centric approaches to tomorrow’s TV. The implications transcend superficial changes to the medium itself, going so far as to change the ways in which we watch it as well as the space that it occupies in our lives.

The Three Biggest Trends Behind Tomorrow’s TV

TVThe Future of TV was one of the hottest topics of discussion at CES last week. But while newer, bigger, thinner displays; virtual reality goggles; and LED and HDR innovations may have gotten most of the headlines, the underlying technology that enables those innovations was the focus of meetings in and around the show with the world’s leading service providers.

In fact, it really boils down to three incredibly important developments that are quietly transforming TV and the way that service providers will deliver it:

Multi-gigabit Services: This is the biggest development powering the future of TV.

Service providers are upgrading to multi-gigabit pipelines, because today’s TV services sip bandwidth compared to the waterfall of bandwidth that tomorrow’s applications—from 360-degree entertainment, to holographic video and virtual reality—are destined to use.

4K Video over Wi-Fi: 4K is here, but it needs faster Wi-Fi to be everywhere.

The 100 Mbps it takes to stream 4K content to a single device is sorely lacking from most Wi-Fi networks. Given our current appetite for HD content, the inevitability of ubiquitous 4K makes the case for upgrading the content delivery pipeline not only to the home, but throughout it. The answer: gigabit Wi-Fi access points and extenders in the home.

Over the Top (OTT) Set-tops: All of the world’s content is coming to a single screen.

We watch traditional TV, and we watch OTT TV. For most of us, they’re two separate experiences, but soon we’ll be able to enjoy both over a single user experience on our TV, because OTT capabilities are coming to set-tops. Service providers are preparing to deploy these new devices so that we easily can watch anything we want, on the best screen available.

As the hottest technology starts making its way into our local stores and shopping lists, these three trends will be making it all work in millions of homes around the world.

Moving Wi-Fi Forward

ARRIS is a big supporter of Wi-Fi.

After all, it powers the majority of our Internet activities, whether that’s watching video or surfing the web wifion our tablets, TVs, laptops, or phones.

Wi-Fi is so important that we’ve joined forces with some of the world’s leading technology companies—in a new coalition called WifiForward —to improve it through the use of unlicensed spectrum.

Unlicensed spectrum encompasses the radio frequencies that the FCC lets people use without a license. This includes the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies that we use for Wi-Fi today.

But there are other frequencies in the spectrum that also are available for Wi-Fi, and they’re becoming increasingly important as our current frequencies become more and more congested with the increasing number of devices that use them.

That’s where WifiForward comes in. We’re working with policymakers to open up additional spectrum, like the 3.5Ghz frequency, to stimulate the economy, encourage innovation in consumer electronics and wireless networking, and ensure that consumers can continue to download, upload, and stream all their favorite content, freely.

Views from the Middle East

tv_connect_620x350This week we’ve been in Dubai at the TV Connect MENA event, sharing views with service providers across the Middle East. It’s a region in which TV is flourishing. Here, service providers realize that TV is at the heart of their business, helping them develop a genuine bond with their customers.

For them, the UI is the most critical point of differentiation – followed closely by the ability to take that experience across multiple screens.

In this diverse region, we have relatively advanced markets – with high ARPU, high broadband (FTTH) penetration, and a cultural desire to be at the edge of technology and innovation – this will only continue…

But on the other hand, there are the emerging TV markets — with lower ARPU and broadband penetration, traditionally dominated by satellite providers, as fixed infrastructure hasn’t been rolled out as widely.

In these markets, mobile video will play a different role as we take advantage of the greater penetration of mobile broadband networks (e.g. LTE). And with the rollout of HEVC slated for next year, HD video delivery can be a reality – even in these bandwidth-constrained markets – thanks to the efficiency of HEVC encoding.

Multiscreen and wireless video has also been a hot topic with service provider customers at the event as mobile device penetration continues to increase. One service provider even described homes with over 20 TVs… being able to deliver video wirelessly to all these screens is undoubtedly an attractive proposition!

We also took the opportunity at the show to announce a new customer in Saudi Arabia – the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu – where we’re supplying an end-to-end set of solutions to enhance their Internet and TV services.

Check out a few photos from the show below.

2012 CES Predictions: Evolution of the TV Experience

TV is evolving. It’s becoming more mobile, more connected and more readily available than ever before. This convergence is changing how we get our TV fix and what that consists of. Few of us are content to simply watch TV on a TV anymore.

We’re tweeting, commenting, seeking and making recommendations, discovering new content, and more. Our behavior is creating a whole new ball game in content delivery and entertainment, and Motorola is at the forefront of the technology that’s making it possible. For example, new products like Televation and DreamGallery are giving us rich, multi-screen experiences that are easy to navigate and simple to use.

We recently conducted a Media Engagement Barometer—fancy words for a study on how people are using media—which provided some good insight on how and why TV is evolving:

  • The 2011 research discovered a nearly five-fold increase from 2010 in U.S. TV viewing taking place on smartphones—23 percent are currently watching mobile TV on their smartphones up from only 5 percent just a year ago. And, it’s highly addictive, with those participating in mobile TV viewing doing it 3+ times a week.
  • Americans are still watching a lot of TV – spending 21 hours per week in front of the set—2 hours more than last year – and 6 hours more than the global average of 15 hours per week.
  • More than half (61 percent) of global respondents say they have already discussed a TV program with friends via a social network, and the trend is only expected to continue.

In summary, we’re watching more TV. We’re spending a lot of that viewing time on mobile devices. And our TV time is beginning to overlap and interplay with social networking.

CES is sure to showcase new innovations that address those trends.  We’ll be there with Motorola Televation and DreamGallery, among others. These are just a couple of the latest innovations you’ll see from Motorola. What do you expect to see at CES 2012? Stay tuned for an action-packed show!