Advances in video technology are causing big changes in the
television business, according to leading TV executives speaking on a panel at
the Video Everywhere event on Wednesday presented by Broadcasting & Cable
and Multichannel News.
"The rate of change in technology is out of synch with
change on the business side," said Doug Sylvester, chief strategy officer at
Avail-TVN, who as part of a panel called Bridging the Gap to Next Generation TV
moderated by Todd Spangler, technology editor of Multichannel News.
While that helps to explains some of the delay in allowing
consumers to consume contents wherever they want and on what devices they
choose, some technology hurdles remain.
Eric Bruno, VP, product management at Verizon Telecom,
said the challenge is to take systems that handle pieces including Internet
protocol distribution and digital rights management and "meshing them into a
consumer experience that works in a way that's really simple and easy."
Rich DiGeronimo, senior VP, product and strategy at Charter
Communications, said the development of the iPad and other tablet devices has
given cable operators a way to work around the limitations of the set-top box.
"It's a game changer ... it's a fantastic user experience," said DiGeronimo,
adding that Charter wants to partner with innovators to provide its customers
with the latest and great.
While Time Warner Cable has run into controversy with its
iPad app, which allows subscribers to view live cable TV on the tablet,
DiGeronimo said "ultimately consumers want to consume TV on their iPads" and he
doesn't want to have to "communicate to a consumer that you can watch this show
on the Long Island Railroad, but this one you can't."
Jan Steenkamp, VP, Americas
at Irdeto, said that with both Apple and Android devices, the app store is
becoming the user interface. "It will be interesting to see how conventional
pay TV operators interact with the app store."
Adaptive bit-rate streaming is allowing viewers with slower
broadband connections to watch online video, although with quality that's lower
than most TV providers would find acceptable. "If there is no other solution,
people will accept lower quality," said Bruno. "As soon as there's a solution,
lower quality goes out the door. They'll setting if they have to but given a
choice, they'll always choose quality.