HGI has today set out new high-level Broadband Service Provider (BSP) business requirements for a Media Gateway as it continues in its quest to build a technology-agnostic smart home ecosystem.
The Media Gateway builds on the Home Gateway, adding functions that are traditionally located in a set-top box, such as media acquisition, media protection and optional media rendering. It has storage capabilities to support services like time-shifting and adds new functions such as media adaptation and media distribution, as well as eliminating the need for numerous set-top boxes, therefore reducing power consumption.
“Consumer devices such as video-enabled smartphones, tablets and connected TV-sets all consume audio and video data which creates various requirements for storage, adaptation of media formats and Digital Rights Management,” says Duncan Bees, Chief Technology and Business Officer, of HGI. “This proliferation of data-consuming devices presents both a challenge and a business opportunity for BSPs. BWR040 aims to help them identify the ways that home-located media functions, in particular in the Media Gateway itself, can help to realise this opportunity.”
The document looks at five different use cases of the Media Gateway – the consumption of premium content on portable devices, particularly mobiles; a home based Personal Video Recorder that serves all devices; a ‘Follow Me’ service, allowing users to suspend the content stream and pick it up again on any device, in or outside the home; extending remote control using non-dedicated devices; and a ‘home cloud’.
“The highest-level differentiator that a service provider must choose is whether to provide streamed content via an IP connection or whether to additionally allow content to be delivered locally through regular Audio/Video cabling such as HDMI,” continues Bees. “Other variables include whether or not to integrate the WAN access technology and the level of chipset integration. There is still a clear need for greater integration at the hardware and low-level software end, although this is going to happen further down the road. It will be possible to build a high-end Media Gateway based on a single chipset in the not-so-distant future. This will enable a new round of innovation in form factors and another drop in energy consumption.”