The Space Internet venture, to which Musk hasn’t yet given a name, would be hugely ambitious. Hundreds of satellites would orbit about 750 miles above earth, much closer than traditional communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit at altitudes of up to 22,000 miles. The lower satellites would make for a speedier Internet service, with less distance for electromagnetic signals to travel. The lag in current satellite systems makes applications such as Skype, online gaming, and other cloud-based services tough to use. Musk’s service would, in theory, rival fiber optic cables on land while also making the Internet available to remote and poor regions that don’t have access.
US broadcast station owner New York Broadband has selected Boeing Satellite Systems International for negotiation of a contract to build a new high-powered L-band satellite that will support mobile multimedia services to China and other Asian markets planned by CMMB Vision of Hong Kong.
New York Broadband (NYBB) recently acquired the AsiaStar satellite, located at 105 degrees East orbital, and its associated L-band spectrum rights. The new satellite, NYBBSat-1, will replace the AsiaStar spacecraft at that location when it is launched in mid-2017. The launch vehicle is being procured separately.
Carriers: Next-Gen TV's Big Obstacle While work is progressing on developing ATSC 3.0, the next-gen broadcast TV standard that stations hope will let them deliver signals to all digital media devices, a roadblock looms. To get the tech included in smartphones will require the OK of the wireless carriers and while have no incentive to allow broadcasters into the phones, they have considerable incentive to keep them out.
So by now you all know that Ohio State and Oregon played for the first college National Championship on Monday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. More correctly, the stadium is actually in Arlington slap bang between Dallas and Fort Worth. No need to review the result. I saw most of the game but was not really pulling for either side, to be honest.
Anyhow, you may also know that AT&T demonstrated LTE Broadcast during the game at the stadium. Well, I got to see it in action. Live. For real.
And no, I did not get a ticket to the game. AT&T did demos of the system during the day and invited press and analysts. I drove to Arlington, saw the demo and then drove home to watch the game.
LTE Broadcast worked well and was impressive. That said, a consumer would probably not be that impressed since the quality was as good as any streaming video on a mobile device. The fact is you could not tell this was not streamed in unicast directly from a sports channel. Two channels were available, plus game statistics. (LTE Broadcast can send any data to devices 'listening in', not just video.)
AT&T Mobility tonight will give a select group of fans at the CFP Championship game at AT&T Stadium in North Texas the opportunity to experience LTE broadcast, the company’s first public demonstration of a technology that takes the existing LTE infrastructure anywhere and allows a portion of the available bandwidth to be sliced off and dedicated to a broadcast service. For sports venues, the technology means the opportunity to deliver live video, audio, and data to tens of thousands of users without requiring a separate “unicast” for each user.
An online news portal, Bizjournals recently reported that AT&T is making preparations to unveil its LTE Broadcast service during the 2015 College Football National Championship Games scheduled on the Jan 12th.
Expway announced today the successful demonstration of its LTE Multicast Middleware on iOS. eCast™ Middleware is a device software that controls the LTE modem and provides application developers means to access LTE Multicast services easily, for both live video and file downloads.
In 2014, mobile video is a fact of life. It has taken nearly 5 years for the service to transition from novelty to a growing habit that is quickly becoming an everyday occurrence in mature markets. Nearly a quarter of YouTube and Netflix views nowadays are on a tablet or a smartphone. Of course, users predominantly still stream over wifi, but as LTE slowly progresses across markets, users start to take for granted the network capacity to deliver video.
Already, LTE networks start to show signs of weariness as video threatens the infrastructure and the business model of mobile content delivery. For those who are familiar with my blog, I have been complaining for a while that mobile carriers are not doing enough to make their networks more video capable. You would think that with anywhere between 40 to 70% of the data traffic, video would warrant more interest and effort than what we see today. Many studies show that although video is the dominant and fastest growing application in mobile, its service quality is mediocre. Conviva claims that about 15% of videos in wifi and cellular networks never actually start, while Skyfire shows that close to 50% of consumers experience video problems “often” or “all the time” in the US.
Of course, part of the issue here is that 85% of these videos streamed over mobile networks are from OTT properties. In many cases, network operators and content providers are at odd when it comes to managing the service. Mobile carriers essentially see these services as non-paying passengers on their transport networks and are either looking at encouraging the offloading of this traffic or to at the very least limit the space that they occupy, particularly in congested areas.
Content providers are predominantly designing services for the internet. It just happens that some of its delivery (increasingly) occurs on mobile devices in cellular networks. The technology and economics of their service is based on the internet model, where bandwidth is plentiful and they are already paying for reach (CDNs) and access (transit and peering). Paying wireless carriers for essentially the same services was a no-starter until a significant part of their customer based started accessing their services wirelessly on smartphones and tablets. As multiscreen and mobile becomes an important use case, content providers are downloading a streaming player into your devices when you start playing web video on your browser or are enjoining you to use their apps. These are defensive moves aimed at extending the control of the user experience. The reality today is that there are too many players with diverging controlling interests in the delivery of mobile video to make it a good experience. Soon, one will hope, the actors will recognise that no one can control the mobile delivery service end-to-end, forcing cooperation. We are starting to see signs of this with announcements such as Vodafone UK and Netflix exclusive partnership.
We are now at the crossroads where the penetration of mobile devices, the ubiquitous access to fixed and mobile broadband have redefined how video is produced and watched, but not yet how it is delivered. What would be the attributes of a Video Delivery Network? Well, ideally it would be designed for both mobile and fixed IP delivery. If we look first at the services it will enable and the business models it is likely to foster, such a network will need to be able to accommodate both live linear video, as well as on demand streaming. It will have to be designed to unlock advertising in a contextually relevant manner and provide frictionless compensation and service level agreement (SLA) management between the actors. Furthermore, models such as pay per use, duration passes, service vouchers, gift cards and sponsored usage will also have to be built in. The corollary from these assumptions is that, in essence, a collaborative service management method is necessary between consumers, announcers, networks and content providers. What would this network look like, from a technology standpoint? We have some examples today of partial implementation of these services, in a disjointed, vertical manner. Netflix has transitioned from using commercial CDNs to implementing their Open Connect network. Google Global Cache is extending the content provider’s reach into carrier networks. If we draw this trend to its logical conclusion, a well managed video network will need to have end-to-end managed quality of experience. The only way to achieve this is to integrate player/app/browser/user experience with Radio Access Network (RAN) congestion management, which itself provides explicit data to the Core network for active traffic management that is policy-managed by a negotiated SLA/QoE between content provider, announcer and network. Effectively, this would force network operators to open APIs for announcers and content providers to control the delivery of the content from a quality/speed standpoint. This is the carrier’s contribution to the bargain. The resulting quality of delivery for premium services will be a negotiation in real-time between the demand (content provider and announcer) and the supply (network conditions) at this point in time, for that service, for this user in a specific location. The quality rating at the end or throughout the session should be used as a metric in the calculation of the transfer price of the service. All this can be arbitrated and managed by SLA as it is the case on the internet today.
For freemium, free to air and advertising based services, privacy and regulatory provisions would warrant that each party involved in the ad targeting would retain the use of the data they collect and provide a geographic / demographic / contextual abstraction layer to determine the ad selection. As a result, carriers will need to fundamentally change the way data is collected and analysed, transitioning from operational to marketing view if they wish to monetize the user segmentation. The ad insertion itself should occur as close to the user as possible to enhance contextual and individual granularity. This requirement implies that for encrypted traffic, encryption as well occurs at the point of ad insertion and not before to enable targeting. Technologically, the delivery method should rely on adaptive bit rate DASH to make best use of the network resources, but the encoding should occur in the carrier’s network, with mezzanine files pre-cached and controlled by the content providers. That ad insertion, encoding and encryption location has been a moving target in the past years because it is where the control point is from a content provider’s perspective. They have allowed CDNs in the past to perform these tasks because they had no other choice, they will need to allow carriers to perform the same to unlock this jigsaw. This is the content provider’s contribution to the bargain.
Inevitably, announcers will have to create an inventory of ads that are mobile specific, not only targeted at devices but at contexts of mobility. Measured quality, high engagement rate and hyper targeted segmentation should help raise CPM in that market. At last, at the device and radio level, there is no reason that content that is popular would have to go all the way to the content provider’s origin servers to be delivered. An intelligent video service would be able to detect if the service requested is live and linear and watched by others in the area and switch to a broadcast delivery. If the service is on demand, but the content exists closer to the user’s location that is where it should be served from, being from someone else’s device, a network PVR or a cache in the RAN or the core network. There is where network virtualization will take its full capacity, when virtualized storage and networking function can be pushed down to the device level, peer-to-peer transmission will become possible.
What these trends indicate is that a video delivery network will need to be vertically integrated. The boundaries between devices, radio, core and content provider networks will subside, with automatization, programmability and virtualization enabling the efficient delivery and management of highly reliable and profitable video service. These questions and more are reviewed in details in my latest reports "Video Monetization and Optimization 2014" and "SDN - NFV in Wireless Networks".
Originally published in The Mobile Network in September 2014.
The year 2014 may be remembered as one of the most transformational in the history of the cable business. While the sustained growth of video services has begun to give way to over-the-top distribution, a massive opportunity with unknown dimensions has quietly emerged.
To meet the massive increase in demand for high-quality digital content on mobile devices, mobile network operators, service providers and device makers are adopting LTE Broadcast. This session presents a case study presentation from Verizon Wireless, discussing the role of LTE Broadcast/Multicast
Claude Seyrat's insight:
One of the best high level presentation of LTE Multicast/Broadcast I have seen by Jack Arky from Verizon.
High-tech Warriors: Building tomorrow's basketball arena (pictures) The Golden State Warriors basketball team uses Apple's iBeacon technology in its stadium and connects its fans on social media while preparing for a new sports complex.
Twitter is developing a new video ad unit to support its soon-to-launch native video tool, according to marketing executives briefed on the initiative.
While details are still being hammered out, Twitter is apparently leaning toward a “pay-for-play” cost structure. It would include a six-second preview video that automatically plays in user feeds and the option to click to view the entire video.
Since Netflix’s meteoric rise, companies (as well as the market in general) have opened their eyes to the power of on demand and streaming services. This is most important in the US, who up until now (and unlike some other markets) have solely relied on the use of paid cable and scheduled programming.
That said, Netflix changed the landscape and since then many others have been trying to find a way to grab a piece of the action. Amazon have in some respects, managed to curve a small portion of the market for themselves with their Instant Video service. Although, the big selling point is that their service comes lumped in with a Prime subscription as an additional benefit. It would be interesting to see how many subscribers the service would have if it was only a standalone product like Netflix.
AT&T (NYSE: T) is going to conduct a live, in-stadium trial demonstration of AT&T LTE Broadcast technology. And, unlike the demonstration rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) conducted outside the MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl in 2014, AT&T plans to conduct this trial inside AT&T Stadium when the Ohio State Buckeyes meet the Oregon Ducks for the first-ever college football national championship in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 12.
In a blog post, AT&T's senior EVP of technology and network operations, John Donovan, said AT&T is exploring LTE Broadcast for the delivery of content directly to all users with compatible devices within a designated timeframe and area. AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey disclosed last summer that the operator planned to start rolling out the capabilities this year.
All around us, day by day, the media sector is adjusting to a structural contraction in its cost base.
Take newspapers: it is now clear that in developed internet markets the huge costs associated with running a traditional printing press are becoming increasingly hard to justify in the face of dwindling print circulation. Music is similar: the cost of continuing to manufacture and distribute physical discs is becoming increasingly hard to justify as users increasingly get their music via digital platforms.
All of the other media industries are going through a similar upheaval: the reason is that the internet allows media content to be distributed to the user with perfect quality and almost for free. Compared with distributing the content using physical media, the internet offers a cost saving of between 5% and 10% of fixed costs, depending on the industry. The internet also represents a new retail channel and marketing platform, which offer additional cost savings.
Following our 2015 kickoff at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, we’re accelerating our tech momentum with the first-ever live, on-site trial demonstration of AT&T LTE Broadcast, a new mobile network technology, that we’ll showcase for invited guests during the first-ever college football national championship game at AT&T Stadium January 12.
Executives from AT&T, Verizon, Ericsson and IndyCar today discussed the evolving model for content delivery, as customers look to access a range of media from fixed and mobile devices, across a range of networks.
Mobile video may be the hottest trend in video today, with evidence of its ascendance seemingly everywhere. As just one data point, last week's Q3 2014 Global Video Index from Ooyala pegged mobile video plays at 30% of all online video plays. That was up from 20% share in Q2 '14, more than double mobile video's 14% share from one year earlier in Q3 '13 and quintuple the 6% share from Q3 '12.