Robin Hague ©RapidTVNews | 10-09-2011

As technology giants go head to head armed with increasingly sophisticated consumer devices, they’re in danger of alienating their markets and actually stifling innovation, all through the proliferation of more and more standards.

This was the flavour of NDS’s Multi Platform Perspectives panel discussion on–stand at IBC 2011 yesterday, featuring NDS vice president and chief marketing officer Nigel Smith; Sam Blackman, CEO of Elemental; and Morega president, Philip Poulidis.

“Workflow changes dramatically to create adaptive bit-rate streams to provide content to different devices,” says Blackman, who points to between 20 and 30 different streams per single piece of video content. “It’s an exponential challenge to meet all these standards.”

Smith concurs: “The reality is that each device is different in slight ways. As a system integrator we have to hide all the complexity, to simplify it for the consumer.

“We’re all for standards, it’s working out which ones are going to work.”

The danger for innovation lies in the potential hold-ups around each new technological advance having to be checked against a catalogue of standards that continues to grow.

“Ultimately, it calls for a collaborative approach from everyone in the value chain,” according to Poulidis.

“Customers don’t want to know how it’s done, just that it works. “The user experience isn’t entirely seamless. They don’t want to know whether content is available for one device, but not another,” he says.

Despite the complexities, the multi-platform future is certainly not bleak. “The dream [of a multiple-screen universe] is reality,” says Poulidis.

For Smith, “the fact that people are downloading shows they want to watch TV on these different devices”.

He believes multiple platforms are giving consumers more time to watch. “There’s an extra two hours a day, when you’re travelling to and from work, when you can watch TV, which is why it’s important to have the content ready to go on their devices.”