Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Kurt Scherf opened the session by discussing how multi-platform video experiences are not a reality today. When consumers access Internet video services, for example, they are overwhelmingly accessing content only on the PC, and very few are using TVs and portable multimedia players (PMPs). Only 5% of Internet video viewers watch their video on a PMP, not a highly successful platform.

From Parks Associates’ TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective consumer research study, multi-room access to content in the form of whole-house DVR applications is a feature of growing importance. Parks’ research indicates that operators who deploy multi-room DVR will be in a better position to acquire customers from other service providers who are not offering such a solution. Also, Internet video services are struggling to attract a substantial base of paying customers. However, making video accessible at the television will change this dynamic considerably. Scherf said that connected consumer electronics platforms – including game consoles, televisions, DVD players, and others will contribute to growing revenues for Internet video services.

The panelists then had a chance to introduce themselvess:

Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision - DLNA is important – to address TV to Internet connectivity. Hard drive in the home is a waste of energy, etc. Content in the cloud is the future, once rights are addressed, as content companies are better archivers of their content. Future of their business: 1) metadata provider, 2) guidance which is social network related (widgets and recommendations), 3) technology in the form of DLNA toolkit.

Bernhard von Canstein, Director, Europe, Qualcomm - Most transmission is point to point, which does not serve video – therefore they developed MediaFLO. MediaFLO provides the full end to end ecosystem in the US. Live streaming video and clipcasting provided. MediaFLO up and running in the US but just now entering Europe. FLO Forum is driving standardization worldwide.

Laurent Jabiol, CEO, NEOTION - Neotion is a French company. They are focused on bringing premium content services directly to the television. Pay TV providers struggle with high infrastructure costs to deploy customer premise equipment such as set-top boxes. Enabling televisions to receive IP services is a cost-effective way to enable new services in the living rooms. Netion’s solution takes European standards such as DVB-CI and CI+ and creates CI modules that televisions can accept to receive premium services. These modules allow televisions to perform a variety of functions, including DVR, multi-room streaming, and support high-quality video experiences (MPEG-4 and high-definition content).

John LeMoncheck, Co-Founder, Wireless HD and SiBeam - SiBeam’s solution enables the wireless transmission of gigabits of data – enough for uncompressed HD signals in the home. Back channel enables wireless connectivity to other devices, such as iPod, digital camera, STB, etc. The 60GHz band is a new spectrum capable of very high output. SiBeam formed WirelessHD forum to unite early chip and TV set players. DHCP is the method of content protection, now approved by Hollywood.

Eugen Pfumfel, Toshiba Europe - Toshiba develops system-on-chip (SoC) solutions that enable consumer electronics platforms to become video platforms. Their SoC solutions are aimed at mobile television, digital television, and high-definition offerings. Toshiba’s solutions support MPEG-4 decoding, pixel improvement, and connectivity (wired and wireless).

In the Q&A, Scherf asked the panelists about the use cases for video devices that would exhibit strong early growth.

Richard Bulwinkle commented that the products that delight the customer will be the ones that will be sold. He noted that success will come from understanding the use cases, and particularly those that provide for greater consumer personalization of the video experience.

Laurent Jabiol from Neotion agreed, indicating that devices that offer options, flexibility and provide user control will win.

John LeMoncheck said that a key to video products was to ensure that any new features – such as wireless connectivity – don’t degrade the primary focus of the device – like being a good TV. Therefore, TV manufacturers have been very reluctant to add new features that will have to support.

Bernhard von Canstein indicated that the importance of mobile TV was to prevent churn, and that it would be important for mobile TV services to blend more seamlessly with wireline based services to provide more of an integrated experience. This means that user interface consistency will be a very important feature of multi-screen television services.

Kurt asked if there will be many wireless HD sets in them? SiBeam says many radios will coexist in the TV.

Kurt asked if the future home will have thick clients, or many thin, and what is the future for STBs? Richard Bulwinkle indicated that the answer is going to vary from one region to another. The Asian entertainment experience, he noted, is very personal and much more reliant on mobile devices than in other parts of the world. For some consumers, the mobile phone will be the only entertainment platform. Many different types of devices throughout the home – room for many to play together.

Laurent Jabiol from Neotion said that it was important to keep the television as front-and-center of the entertainment experience. He noted that deviations from this vision, including the Media Center PC/living room PC have failed because the living room is not the right place for a PC. Eugen Pfumfel from Toshiba indicated that the game console or PC both will entertain in other rooms.

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