The Future of Broadcasts: Cloud Television and More

    With the spread of the Internet, television, like paper books and the theater, predicted a quick death. But the worldwide network not only did not lead to the collapse of the television industry, but even strengthened its position by only slightly transforming the format: the initiative of “traditional” television companies was seized by the companies supplying films and series based on streaming multimedia, distributing their content via the Internet. / photo Iain Watson CC

    Next Generation Television

    Today, Amazon, Google, and Apple have a significant share of the Internet television services market, although this is not directly related to their core business. For example, last year Amazon Prime reached 40 million subscribers . However, IT giants are not inferior (and sometimes overtake them) firms that deal directly with video content. Netflix has more subscribers today than many paid cable channels — about 75 million users .

    The popularity of the OTT (over-the-top) service market is partly due to the reluctance of people to distract from watching movies on ad units - users like the opportunity to influence advertising. But the main driving factor behind the popularity of Internet platforms is quality content. Only in 2011, Google invested in the creation of original premium projects of $ 100 million, and Netflix - $ 185 million.

    For a long time, the big screen remained the indisputable advantage of the TV. However, the model of interaction with the viewer is also changing: there is a tendency to introduce the so-called second screen - when a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) adds interactivity to watching a television program. According to researchNATPE, in the USA 79% of viewers use a smartphone or tablet while watching TV, and 42% view content related to the ongoing broadcast: information about actors / athletes, discussion of programs, etc.

    People also download special applications or leave comments on social networks: for example, over the past year , 16.5 million posts about the Game of Thrones series, 12 million about the Walking Dead, 1.7 million about the House of Cards, and 1.5 million about Jessica Jones. " Using the second screen improves the quality of perception and profit of providers and improves the effectiveness of advertising campaigns of various TV shows.

    Cloud technology in the TV industry

    But what is behind all these figures and why is television so actively developing? One of the reasons is the introduction of cloud technologies , the use of which facilitates the work at different stages of creating video content. Television companies need equipment and software for the collection, installation and processing of video material, which means high costs for their installation and maintenance. For example, according to the results of the study , investments in the amount exceeding $ 4.5 billion are needed to create a new channel in India.

    Using cloud services reduces the costs of television companies by 29% - such results were shown by the study.conducted by Cloudonomics. They are confident that the cloud infrastructure will allow companies to receive better services for less money. At the same time, Prime Focus Technologies suggests spending the saved money on creating your own content, which gives an excellent competitive advantage.

    Cloud technologies provide savings thanks to the system of payment for the number of users per month. Building an infrastructure that can easily withstand a sharp increase in the number of viewers requires huge costs, and the cloud allows you to bear only operating expenses on the fact of using the service.

    This allows parallel operation, which greatly facilitates communication between production departments and reduces the time to product release. According toAccenture specialists, speed is no less important when it comes to introducing innovations: such technologies allow you to quickly respond to changing market conditions and use all resources to the maximum.

    It is also worth noting that cloud services significantly expand the possibilities of personalizing content: analysis of data on user preferences allows you to increase the loyalty of viewers who are pleased to receive relevant offers based on previous views. In addition, the use of cloud technology reduces the possibility of data loss, and the search for the right content becomes easier.

    Content Delivery Network

    The cloud model allows you to use, in particular, virtualization of network functions (NFV). It is built on the application of a virtual content delivery network (vCDN), which allows us to solve the problem of increasing broadband traffic and provides rapid deployment of nodes with increasing demand.

    The advantages of CDN include the ability to access around the world (connecting via a cloud to local providers), reducing latency, faster loading of data (local data center system), reducing network load and maintenance costs, increasing productivity and stability and protection from DDoS attacks.

    Server farms preceded the emergence of CDNs in the 90s, and the first generation CDNs solved the problem of increased demand for streaming audio and video and was used, for example, to speed up websites. The main points of interest for the second generation of CDNs are video on demand (VoD) and content delivery to mobile devices. The third generation of CDN, as expected, will be able to manage by the users themselves, and the main task will be to achieve high indicators of quality of perception (QoE) and quality of service (QoS).

    However, the development of broadcasts does not end there. The television industry is moving in new directions, for example, the implementation of ultra-high-resolution technology Ultra HD (UHD or 4K). Moreover, engineers want to make better not only a picture - work is underway to improve HDR technology, sound, and even 3D functions.

    Will it be possible to translate all ideas into reality and support them at the level of virtual infrastructure? It will show both the process of technology development and the market development, but one thing is certain for sure - television is not going to die yet.

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