• 2011: Improved compression, over-the-top and content discovery

    2011: Improved compression, over-the-top and content discovery

    by Julian Clover
    2011 could see a significant improvement in compression technology, according to Ericsson TV CTO Giles Wilson, as the industry’s thought leaders look ahead to the next 12 months.
    Wilson told Broadband TV News that Ericsson had been contributing to the technologies that could form the next set of standards currently being discussed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

    “The research that we have been doing on next gen compression are giving results that are very compelling,” he said, adding that although the theoretical end to improvements known as the Shannon Limit did apply to some elements, it was not as much of a block as would be the case in transmission. “It would apply if you were just compressing ad frames, but when you get into areas such as special redundancy and actual physical and perceptual charactaristics of video it becomes less of a problem.”

    MPEG is currently working on MPEG-7, a content representation standard for multimedia information search and filtering, in addition to working on the continued development of compression standard MPEG-4.

    “This year we’ve seen a large build in traction for multiplatform and multiscreen, and that’s a definite reality, and I think you will see a lot of operators actually deploy real multiscreen solutions next year, not these silos.” Wilson said this would involve session shifting and genuine interconnection between devices, both in Europe and North America.
    Wilson anticipated that 2011 would also see Google TV and Connected TV playout their roles. “I still believe its really about rights issues than technology and they might playout next year. You’ll see a lot of over-the-top delivery shift back to the operators. In order to deliver to multiple devices the operator has to stream over-the-top. There’s a headwind now for operators that can deliver over the top, but I still don’t believe that can compete in terms of quality with a managed service.”

    The rise of over-the-top delivery was backed by ANT CEO Simon Woodward who said YouView and HbbTV could play a significant role in the delivery of local TV. “The TV market is on the cusp of change and with a predicted 118 million connected TV sets to be shipped in 2014, broadcasters and device manufactures alike have the opportunity to deliver targeted on-demand services via applications that haven’t previously been available”.

    David Bloom, Commercial Director at IP Vision, which operates the Fetch TV service agreed, saying that many companies would be competing for the space under the TV. “Who will win out is still up for grabs, but will it enhance or damage consumer confidence in the meantime?”

    Bloom said the role of search and recommendation would become increasingly important as operators strove to direct consumers to the right content. “The choice of on-demand content will continue to grow exponentially, but getting the right editorial recommendations engine in place will be a prerequisite for the effective monetisation of this content”.
    Tom Weiss, CEO, TV Genius said 2011 would be the year when content discovery went mainstream. “With Google TV shaking up industry standards for user experience, we can expect to see a lot more emphasis on search, with control being handed over to users to find content that they want to watch, be it scheduled TV, video on demand from pay-TV operators, or other over the top services.”

    Weiss added that with increasing amounts of content being delivered over-the-top, services would now differentiate on the user experience and ease of use.