Cisco believes in the shrinking set-top box

November 6, 2013 16.08 Europe/London By by Robert Briel, IPTV Seminar, Amsterdam

“The set-top box is still the solution for delivering the best possible quality of experience to the subscriber,” according to Nick Fielibert, CTO, video technology, SP Europe Cisco.

But the set-tops will be changing their form factor and they will go back to their original place, that is on top of the TV set. In Cisco’s vision, the new mini STB will fit on top of a flat screen and could look like a device for gesture control. “This will provide a mechanically stable solution. Control of the device software is the only way to guarantee QoS and scalability.”

The new generation of STBs need to look more like the other devices the subscriber owns. Also a rapid prototyping environment for services is required.

HTML5 is the direction, but must be pragmatic, differentiated experience is not negotiable in any solution.

Open source Linux-based multi-application frameworks are now possible for increased reliability and speed of developments. Web kit TV browsers will be a key component for rendering cloud applications on the device.

“We can get rid of the big box, the cloud is the future with thin clients.” The things that will move to the cloud include the UI, but some things will stay on device, such as handling the DVB stack, parental control and content protection.”

Also important for operators will be the delivery of metadata. “Enriched meta data are key. It is probably best to add meta data on a second screen. Extra information is probably better to be seen on a second screen rather than clutter the main screen.”