Friday, February 21, 2014

Network PVR a Win for SPs and Consumers

Moving the "storage" function out of the Set-top box and in to the network is a win for both the service provider and for the consumer.  This article, written in ADD solving terseness,  will give the read an overview of the salient points of the benefits of deploying a network-based DVR or N-PVR.  Comments/corrections/suggestions are always welcomed.

What is N PVR?
1.       Network Personal Video Recorder (a.k.a. Network DVR)
2.       A DVR in the Cloud
3.       A user’s programming or content is stored on a server located within a service providers facility instead of stored on a hard disk drive embedded in a set-top box.

Benefits for Service Provider and Consumer
  1. Enables SPs to remove costly storage in every STB.
    1. One less device to fail.
    2. Reduces cost per STB,  less stranded capital
    3.  Reduces power consumption of STBs
      1.   Helps achieve goals set in voluntary agreement (see:
  2. Makes whole home DVR simpler
    1.  All traffic originates from the network to any device (TV, PC, Tablet, Smart phone et al.)
    2. Transparent to user
    3.  Simplifies home networking, re-use existing networks such as WiFi,  No need for a new technology.
  3. Enables TV-Everywhere or video everywhere and advanced video services
    1. A single seamless video experience across all devices/screens.
    2. Pause on one screen; resume on another screen is simplified.
    3. Watch “save” programming on any device at any location.
  4. Enables location-based targeted advertising
    1.  Ads can be “re-inserted” to location user is actually watching stored content.
    2. No need to play Boston Ads if user is watching Red Sox game in San  Francisco.
    3. Enhances advertising packages to ad buyers.
    4. Enhances viewing experience of consumer since ads are more relevant.
    5. Increases ad revenues
  5. Reduces usage and congestion of upstream bandwidth
    1.  Eliminates the need for Sling Box
      1. Sling box clogs limited upstream last mile channels
      2. N-PVR eliminates Sling Box zero revenue traffic
  6. Enables SPs to take advantage of innovations in Content Delivery Systems and advanced caching technologies.
    1. May already be implemented for Video on Demand.
  7. Enables smart phone to become DVR controller
    1.  Guide on smart phone delivered from network
    2.   “record” in network
  8. Leverages investments in cloud infrastructure
    1.  ROI of data centers investment will be enhanced with the addition of N-PVR application. 
    1.  As N-PVR rolls out, cache’s and servers may find themselves in facilities that aren’t as friendly as purpose built data centers.  These may include regional and local facilities such as central offices and head ends.
    2.  Energy issues (e.g., heat) should be addressed.
  10. LEGAL Issue
    1. The Cablevision litigation in the U.S. has been resolved in Cablevision’s favor.
    2. Content providers argued it violated copyright laws.
    3. Cablevision argued it’s the same as a DVR just a different location.
    4. After a number of rulings and subsequent appeals the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case ending the litigation.
    5. Recommendation to SPs…Deploy! 
  11.  Technical Issues
    1.  SP’s will need to have the stored programming in numerous formats applicable to specific devices.  i.e., different resolution and data rates for an HDTV verse a smart phone via 4G/LTE.
    2. Do you translate and transcode on demand or ahead of time? 

   To discuss these issues please contact me at

   For a list of previous articles please see


Monday, February 10, 2014

IoT? Internet of Things....What is a Thing?

Internet of Things, or IoT, is a topical conversation these days.  Companies with vested interest, such as Cisco, have announced this market to be $Billions and $Billions in the not so distant future.   What is the internet of things?  What are the “things”?

The word “thing” is a good one here.  You can add “no” and “every” to the front of it and get other proper words.  So IoT can mean “nothing” and “everything”.   That exactly what it means today

A market of nothing and everything is not a real market.  It’s either a ZERO billion dollar market (nothing) or an infinite billion dollar market (Everything).   Zero dollar markets don’t sell market research reports and space at trade shows.  So the industry tends to favor the infinite dollar market.  So we see reports of IoT being a $19 TRILLION market (Cisco), $14 to $33 Trillion (Mckinsey) and a mere $2 Trillion market (Gartner). 

We’ve seen this movie before.  In the 1990’s the market for “Multimedia” was predicted to be many billions and more recently we hear the market for “Cleantech” will be multiple billions.  Yet, like the term IoT, these words meant nothing and everything

When asked what multimedia applications were the answers were always video editing, video conferencing, training and kiosk.   Not sure about “kiosk” but the other three are not multimedia applications they are specific identifiable markets.

Similarly, what are cleantech applications?  Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid are often the answer.  Here again, these are not cleantech applications, they are specific identifiable markets. 

So let’s drop the hype around IoT and start talking about real markets that combine sensors, IP networks and analytics.  I almost said “Big data”, but that’s another “nothing” and “everything” market.

For further discussion please contact me at

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Net-Neutrality Overruled! A Win for Everyone!

Why this is good for everyone?

  1. Market Reality
    1. Service Providers are public companies
    2. Broadband is not classified as a "common carrier"
      1. If it was it wouldn't have been deployed
    3. Google, et al, get a free ride and they generate tons of cashs
      1. No one seems to complain about this.
  2. It is fair to the small company!
    1. No difference than numerous other industries
      1. Not everyone can afford to, or wants to, buy a Superbowl ad.
        1. No outrage here?
    2. This will force small companies and start-ups to innovate harder
      1. The consumer will benefit even more.
        1. FCC is all about protecting the US consumer
  3. Service providers will have the incentive to invest in last mile bandwidth
    1. They will get a fair return on their investment
    2. Consumers will benefit again
      1. So will Google
  4. Consumers will benefit
    1. More bandwidth
    2. Better services
  5. Yet, FCC must TRUST but VERIFY
    1. FCC needs to ensure policies and "tariffs" are fair, equitable and non-discriminatory 

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