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Informa report deems cloud TV a future necessity

A new report from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IPTV News) finds that cloud TV will become imperative for operators in the long run, but remains a low priority for most in the short to medium term.

The report defines cloud TV as either being delivered using third-party infrastructure and resources to offer TV services, or as a situation whereby operators roll out “thin client” set-top boxes and use their own network to handle the majority of features that a set-top would have in the past.

Both definitions of cloud TV would help operators solve several of the challenges they currently face, such as the cost of supporting increasingly complex devices, delivering multiscreen services, and meeting the OTT threat, according to Giles Cottle, author of the report and Principal Analyst at Informa.

Separate from both these scenarios is that of a home gateway-led approach, in which an in-home device takes a linear TV feed and pushes it to other thin-client devices in the home. This is deemed to be a much more efficient and quicker way to offer multiscreen services in the short term than delivering and processing content in the network.

However, in a future world where the majority of content is delivered via IP all the way to the device, having a thick client in the home – be that a set-top box or a home gateway – makes less and less sense, according to Mr. Cottle.

This scenario, combined with declining bandwidth costs, ever-growing complexity in device types and standards and a continued need for speed, flexibility and service innovation, means that it is expected to make little sense for operators not to pursue a cloud strategy eventually.

Out-of-home service delivery (perhaps the key service enabled by cloud TV) is not considered important by the majority of operators at present, according to the report, but it will however eventually become something that they are expected to deliver, which in turn will force them to move over to a cloud-based architecture.

Editor’s view: At last week’s IP&TV World Forum event in London, the term “Cloud TV” was ubiquitous on the exhibition floor and occasionally used as a synonym for multiscreen TV.

Yet for the reasons given above it is likely to take a while before true cloud TV services become commonplace. One important driver will be its adoption by major operators, who are likely to have a domino effect on others.

A pioneer in this area is Liberty Global, whose CEO Mike Fries revealed at the Cable Congress event in Brussels earlier this year that many features of its next-generation set-top box, Horizon, will eventually migrate to the cloud, making the device far cheaper.

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These issues will be discussed at the Digital Home World Summit 2012 event taking place in London on 19-20 June. For more information please visit www.digitalhomeworldsummit.com

For more details of the report “Cloud TV: A Future Necessity for Operators”, please click here

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