Eric Meijer, Ziggo, told the audience about the cabler’s world first usage of cloud TV services without a set-top box, by using the latest generation of CI+ modules. “By just connecting the TV set viewers get the same experience by sliding the new CI module into the set. They no longer need to use a set-top box for using VOD and other interactive services.
Half of those users have a PVR, but one of the things on our mind for the future is to add cloud based recording.”
“There are lots of things we like to introduce,” he said. This includes startover services (going back to the beginning of a programme), but also to go seven days back in time with a backwards EPG. “That would be very nice, so people don’t have to worry about recording a particular programme. Although it is technically possible, this is going to be really tough. We are not sure about conditions we have to accept. There is certainly a demand from customers, but right holders hold it back.”
In Denmark, the situation seems to be more advanced, according to Thomas Helbo, CTO at Stofa. “We have a multiscreen solution, which is also available out of home and for all channels. In addition we have a catch-up service going back 48 hours. We also have a restart service thanks to an agreement with all the operators in Denmark. Everyone can introduce the service and technically it has been working now for five, six years.”
The operator has found that most people watch a recorded programme within seven days of the original broadcast. Technically it is best to record a programme just once, not a separate recording for each individual customer, ”you don’t want to do something that puts a high load on the infrastructure.” Stofa’s TV Everywhere service is available across the country, but very few people access it on 3G or 4G networks, “most use somebody else’s Wi-Fi, this is certainly a cost issue.”
A PVR in the cloud is not something Kabel Deutschland will start to offer its customers, according to Wolfgang Zeller, VP Service Engineering. “There is no economic model for a network-PVR, It is not so much the broadcasters, but the studios are holding it back. With technology toy can do a lot, but the whole business model needs to be redefined before we have an economic model for network PVR.”
Tivo’s VP of Technology Strategy Joe Weber said they company is now talking to quite a few operators to expand multiscreen offer and move into the cloud, we a network PVR, “we have the right technology at the right time.” Tivo is device agnostic, it works on set-top boxes, iPads and more.
Interestingly, research shows that TiVo users perceive they have more choice than before they started to use the service. “People thought they had 20% more channels, but it was actually the same.”
Vertimatrix president Steve Oetegenn said “We are in phase 2 of IPTV.” Everything becomes software based, even decoders. “This has offered operators freedom of choice and flexibility to develop a much more holistic type of service. This means changes in vendors, and networks. Some operators are throwing away systems from ten years ago.”
Content owners set the standard for the development of new services. “They want to restrict viewing to a single household, their concern is two families living in an apartment who are sharing a subscription. But consumers don’ want to be limited, they ant a multiscreen experience: 0% of mobile viewing is done in the home.”