Thursday, March 14, 2013, 10:11 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
It wasn't that long ago when the back-end delivery systems for traditional pay-TV services and those for over-the-top video services were quite distinct. Ditto for the in-home set-top devices that viewers use to receive these disparate video services. But as pay-TV operators continue to standardize on IP, the cloud becomes ever more pervasive and devices more powerful, those distinctions are melting away.
The latest example comes this morning from the UK, where thePlatform, a U.S.-based Comcast subsidiary, has announced that its mpx video management system is now powering key elements of BT's actual TV services, BT Vision and YouView from BT. According to thePlatform, mpx is supporting BT's video workflow, coordinating playback data with recommendations engines and enforcing video rights for subscribers. mpx has been integrated with BT's existing systems for content delivery, set-top boxes and user experience.
The BT win is the latest for thePlatform's expansion into TV; it has previously announced that it was powering Telstra's BigPond converged service in Australia, much of Liberty Global's multi-device distribution and parts of Comcast's next-gen X1 video service. All of these underscore how systems originally built for online video delivery are now helping traditional pay-TV providers gain needed flexibility in their TV services. Managing in the cloud, rather than in more rigid set-top box development environments, is one of the major benefits.
The newfound flexibility manifests itself in pay-TV operators' ability to deliver services to connected devices, not only for TV Everywhere delivery outside the home, but also inside the home itself to the big screen. The latest high-profile example of this is Time Warner Cable's new deployment of its app to Roku devices (see demo here). Whereas set-top box control was always sacrosanct to pay-TV operators, the TWC's Roku deployment is likely the leading edge of a fundamental mindset shift toward pushing device capex and opex onto subscribers. But managing the subscription rights is still a huge part of the operator's job and once again that's where mpx and other systems like it are critical.
All of this points to the very fluid world of today's video delivery. Changing viewer behaviors and the onslaught of new viewing devices are pressuring traditional video providers to re-think existing ways of doing things, clearing the path for newer technology providers to gain momentum in the industry.
(Note: thePlatform is a VideoNuze sponsor)