Digital Trends Video Opinions • The 5-Foot Viewing Experience is a Missed Opportunity

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web) The entertainment and computing industries differ in what is referred to as the two foot verses ten foot experience[i]: Users that are two feet away are typing away at their keyboard in front of their computers. When they’re ten feet away they’re watching movies or television. What if there was a new type of experience, based on an evolved viewing habit? What about a lean-back-feet-up experience, where the viewer is five feet from the screen? There are a growing number of users watching entertainment from tablets, mobiles and computers. Some of those users don’t even have pay-TV anymore. They’re called cord-cutters[ii]. Display manufacturers haven’t yet targeted their products to fit the needs of these consumers. These are people that use their computer display as a TV, computer, and a communication platform – all in one. This is a missed opportunity. Let’s break down why. But before I get into it, let me explain my own setup. I don’t have a traditional living room where a TV sits at the epicenter and a sofa across from it. My living room consists of a computer and a monitor. It’s both my work place and my place of entertainment. I have a relatively large 30″ monitor, so watching movies ten feet away on the sofa isn’t too bad, but it’s not ideal. I want to upgrade. But the product that I’m looking for doesn’t exist. I’m looking for a display that accommodates a five foot experience – I want a 48” 4K monitor at 21:9 display aspect ratio[iii].

Why 4K?

Why should you invest in a 4K television if there’s no content? It’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma: Buy a 4K TV and wait for content, or wait for content first. Computer users don’t see it that way. They don’t see 4K technology as a TV, but as a monitor. So what’s the difference? If the display is a TV, then it’s an entertainment vehicle. When consumers buy a TV with new technology such as HD, 3D, or 4K, they expect to use those features immediately. In the mid-2000’s HD movies were promoted around the same time as HD televisions. Blu- ray discs began shipping in June 2006[iv], roughly the time that 1080p monitors were released. Despite only a few titles, there were enough of them to enticed early adopters. With 4K it’s different. There are no Blu-Ray 4K discs, there are no 4K movies for consumers, and TV stations aren’t broadcasting in 4K yet. Lacking content makes it seem like 4K has come to market too early. I write extensively about the readiness of 4K in, “Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video” [http://dusil.com/2013/07/15/building-a-case-for-4k-ultra-high-definition-video/]. For an entertainment perspective the release of 4K TVs looks like an industry fail.

Figure i – Monitors are Windows to Applications

Figure i – Monitors are Windows to Applications & Services

On the flip side, computer enthusiasts strive for the fastest PCs, better efficiency and greater productivity. For these users a higher display resolution means more desktop real-estate – more windows, widgets and icons. Higher resolutions beyond HD – some that are as high as UHD resolutions – are found already in monitors, tablets and laptops. None of those consumers are complaining about content. If the display is a monitor, then the argument about content is moot. As a monitor, the display is an interface to social media, games, productivity, videos, music, and communications (see Figure i). The big picture (pun intended) is that the computer monitor provides a window to connectivity, interactivity and content – all in one.

Why 21:9?

Consumers have been primed for wider displays over many decades – from 4:3 in the middle of the last century, to the popularity of 16:9 at the tail end of the century. Wider screens eventually migrated from the cinema to the home. Today many movie lovers prefer the wider 21:9 screen[v] because it feels more immersive. With a large enough screen the movie begins to wrapping around the viewer[vi]. Samsung’s curve[vii] strategy in their larger flat screen displays capitalizes on that trend. For manufacturers, 21:9 is still quite new. Some displays are beginning to emerge at this aspect ratio, but haven’t yet grabbed enough consumer attention. This may be due to the fact that 21:9 is associated mainly with motion pictures. Case in point – In my video collection consists of around 40% of movies that were filmed at 2.35:1. 50% of them used 16:9 (or 1.85:1), and the remaining 10% – mainly older movies are in 4:3[viii]. So even in cinema, 21:9 doesn’t represent the overwhelming majority – at least in my collection. In television nearly all programs are filmed in 16:9 displays, so this aspect ratio will likely remain the dominant champion in display technology for the majority of consumers. A UHD screen has a resolution of 3840×2160 – also called 2160p screens (taken from the 1080p nomenclature of HD TVs). A 21:9 screens could use a resolution of 3840×1648 UHD[ix]. This would result in an aspect ratio of 2.33:1, so movies filmed in 2.35:1 CinemaScope[x], or 2.39:1 would fit nicely.

Why 5 Feet?

Selling the notion of a five foot experience requires an assessment of screen size verses viewing angle. There are varying opinions on what is considered comfortable to the viewer. SMPTE[xi] recommends no more than 30° horizontal from the viewer’s eyes to either side of the screen. Some retailers and manufacturers recommend anywhere between 28° and 36°[xii]. THX, on the other hand, considers a viewing angle as high as 40° (Figure ii).

Table 1 – Maximum Screen Size for a 40˚ Horizontal viewing angle

Table 1 – Maximum Screen Size for a 40˚ Horizontal viewing angle

When working two feet away on my 30” monitor, this results in a massive 55° viewing angle. I’m far exceeding the THX recommendation. But it’s not a problem. When I’m working on my computer my eyes are not trying to see the whole screen. I only need to focus on one desktop window at a time (such as when I’m typing this article). For computer users, their eyes only need to concentrate on the window that’s open, which only takes up part of the desktop. Therefore screen that exceeds the THX recommendation for home theatres, doesn’t apply to computer users. Still, it may explain why desktop display manufacturers are reluctant to make computer monitors larger than 34”. Table 1 shows the largest screen that could be accommodated if a 40° viewing angle is maintained at each distance. Leaning five feet back suggests a screen size of up to 48″. At 10 feet away, a much larger 95″ screen could grace the living room. Screen sizes are already approaching and surpassing 100”. Anything over 100″ are compelling for enthusiasts with larger living rooms or custom home theatres. 21:9 also helps with the vertical viewing angle. THX recommend that viewers should not tilt their eyes more than 15° from the horizontal[xiii]. As screens get larger, the vertically narrower 21:9 displays offers a more comfortable viewing angle.

Figure ii – 2 foot, 5 foot, & 10 foot viewing experience

Figure ii – 2 foot, 5 foot, & 10 foot viewing experience

 

Wanting Verses Needing

If 21:9 takes off, it will likely remain a niche product. Even as a niche play, it’s still a great differentiator for display manufacturers. Companies such as Panasonic, Samsung and LG are getting squeezed on margins, as prices continue to decline. Even 4K displays will succumb to tight margins as the market matures. Inevitably the market will be taken over by manufactures that can tolerate thinner margins at the expense of higher volumes. The need to differentiate will be paramount. If manufacturers are listening, here are a few specifications for guidance:

  • LCD Technology: IPS (In Plane Switching)[xiv]
  • Bezel: none. Let’s finally get rid of it.
  • Resolution: 3840×1648
  • Integrated Speakers: NO! Enthusiasts what a separate surround sound audio experience.
  • Inputs: 4 x HDMI[xv]0, 1 x Display Port v1.3[xvi], 2x USB[xvii] 3.1, 1 x 1Gbps Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm TRRS audio jack[xviii], built in WiFi 802.11ad,ac,n,g,b,a[xix]
  • vsync: at least 240Hz
  • Wall Mounts: VESA 100mm, 200mm and 400mm mounts
  • 3D: No one cares anymore
  • Smart TV: Yes please.

There is a growing segment of society that watches all of their entertainment on their computer. These users are willing to invest in 4K without complaining about the lack of content. Regardless, 4K movies and TV shows will likely trickle to market as we approach the end of the decade. The entertainment industry already sits on a vast library of 4K movies that were digitized years ago, for their Blu-ray release. It’s just a matter of time before consumers get to experience them. In the meantime there’s no reason to wait.

• Synopsis

• Consumers complain that there is no content available to justify the purchase of a 4K TV. But many users already enjoy 4K on their tablets, computers and laptops. None of them are complaining. At 2 feet away 4K is a display, and at 10 feet away it’s a TV. What if there is a new viewing experience that converges 4K into a single gateway to everything that is gaming, entertainment and computing? There is a missed opportunity for screen manufacturers – It’s a 4K 21:9 monitor that addresses an evolved viewing experience. The 5 foot viewing experience is the next evolution in display technology.

• References

[i] 10 foot experience, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10-foot_user_interface

[ii] Cord-cutting 101, http://www.digitaltrends.com/topic/cord-cutting-101/

[iii] Display aspect ratio, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_aspect_ratio

[iv] Blu-ray, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc

[v] 21:9 aspect ratio, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21:9_aspect_ratio

[vi] “8K is not the future of TV. We think 21:9 Ultra Widescreen is instead. Here’s why… “, by David Shapton, Redsharknews.com, http://www.redsharknews.com/technology/item/1370-8k-is-not-the-future-of-tv-we-think-21-9-ultra-widescreen-is-instead

[vii] Samsung, http://www.samsung.com/us/video/uhd-tv

[viii] Aspect ratio (image), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_%28image%29

[ix] 4K Resolutions, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution

[x] CinemaScope, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinemaScope

[xi] SMPTE, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Motion_Picture_and_Television_Engineers

[xii] Optimum HDTV viewing distance, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_HDTV_viewing_distance

[xiii] HDTV Set Up, THX, http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/home-theater/hdtv-set-up/

[xiv] “LCD Panel Technology: IPS, VA, PLS, AHVA & TN Monitors”, http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/lcd-panel-types.php

[xv] HDMI, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI

[xvi] Display Port, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort

[xvii] USB, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB

[xviii] Audio jack, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_connector_%28audio%29

[xix] 802.11, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11

• About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

•Ÿ 21:9 display, 21:9, 4K TV, 4K 21:9, Broadcast, Digital Video, Gabriel Dusil, Internet Video, CinemaScope, Samsung, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, second screen, Ultra HD, UHD, THX viewing angle, THX, SMPTE, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, display aspect ratio, cord cutter, cord cutting, 10 foot experience, 2 foot experience, 2 foot 10 foot, 48” display, 48 inch display, 40 degree viewing angle

OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 11 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV, title, web)

Is it Victory or Defeat for Entertainment?

The success of internet video is attributed to the culmination of several developments, thanks to the internet:

  • New protocols that were invented to stream video such as Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), and Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming[i].
  • Internet bandwidth grew to the point where it was able to support streaming video.
  • Cloud platforms were established that enabled an end-to-end supply chain of entertainment – from creation to consumer delivery.
  • The evolution in consumer behavior: There has been a gradual move away from the ownership of physical media, in favor of licensing (or “borrowing”) content via the internet.

With these developments the global expansion of the world-wide-web has also had its share of blame from the entertainment community. For example, in the development of Peer to Peer networks[ii] (P2P), cyber lockers[iii], and more recently, illegal streaming services. This has resulted in the music and movie industry pointing fingers at copyright infringers, for their revenue underperformance. But is it really doom and gloom for the entertainment industry?

Figure i – USA Box office vs. Ticket Prices

Figure i – USA Box office vs. Ticket Prices

 

For starters, cinema goers in the USA have seen a steady rise in ticket sales over the years. When compared to attendance, it is clear that the U.S. market is attempting to maintain an increase in box-office sales against a modest 2% annual growth rate (Figure i, The Numbers and Box Office Mojo). But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Figure ii – Global Box Office Ticket Revenue)

Figure ii – Global Box Office Ticket Revenue)

International box office figures in Figure ii show more promising growth. Revenue on a global basis is a healthier 8.3% per annum, to nearly 38 billion US$ in 2014 according to Box Office Mojo. Over 70% of global cinema revenue is generated from non-US releases. Notable markets include China at 3.6 billion US$ which has maintained 35% growth year-on-year, for the past decade[iv].

Figure iii – Top 10 Countries for Cinema revenue)

Figure iii – Top 10 Countries for Cinema revenue)

In broadcast, cord cutters (that are cancelling their pay-TV subscriptions), and cord shavers (those that are reducing their spending), continue to be a cause for concern. Nevertheless, this sector is expected to increase steadily at 5.6% on a global basis, according to PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Figure iv).

Figure iv – Global Pay-TV Forecast)

Figure iv – Global Pay-TV Forecast)

Informa Telecoms and Media forecast similar year-on-year growth of 3.8% through to 2017 (Figure v). This study looks at a much broader TV and Video market segment. Here the market is expected to exceed 400 billion US$ by the end of this decade. For comparison, OTT services are growing at a whopping 29% per annum. Even though the OTT market will reach 37 million US$ by 2017, it will still be just a fraction of linear television.

The music industry has gone through its own growing pains throughout the internet era. Napster[v] was blamed at the end of the 1990’s for the decline in CD sales. Music had a tough first decade in 2000. Physical media sales were 10.8 billion US$, down from 28.1 billion US$ ten years earlier. Digital sales had grown to 4.6 billion US$, but didn’t compensate for the loss in physical media revenue. In any case, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI[vi]) reported that the overall industry was worth 168 billion US$ at the end of 2010[vii]. This means that over 90% of music revenue was generated from other monetization baskets other than just disc and single sales.

Figure v – Global TV vs. OTT forecast ’11-‘17)

Figure v – Global TV vs. OTT forecast ’11-‘17)

Even more promising, the music industry is expected to growth at 5.3% per year through to 2017, according to PwC (Figure vi). There are now more than 450 licensed digital music services operating worldwide, offering 37 million tracks to consumers, in over 100 territories, according to IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2014[viii].

Figure vi – Global Music Industry Forecast)

Figure vi – Global Music Industry Forecast)

Looking at the music industry from the decline of CD sales may show an industry that is suffering, but that’s not the big picture. In the days of vinyl, the main profit center for artists was album sales. Concert tours were meant to promote the album, but alone didn’t generate much profit. These days’ musicians are accepting new business model where success is measured by the number of “followers” and “likes”, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Artists are refocusing their energy on live events and other monetization channels that reach fans directly[ix]. Some artists recognize that services such as YouTube[x], Dailymotion[xi], and Vimeo[xii], fuel social interaction and leads to extending their global reach. “Nine of the 10 most viewed videos on YouTube are music videos,” according to IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2013[xiii].

Business models in the music industry have been redefined by focusing on initiatives that drive multiple revenue streams. “There are over two dozen revenue streams available to US-based musicians,” according to Kristin Thomson, The Future of Music Coalition[xiv].

The global video gaming industry has also performed extremely well over the last decade. According to studies from PwC, Gartner, and Digi-Capital, this segment reached nearly 100 billion US$ in 2014, and expects double digit growth through most of this decade (Figure vii). Video gaming continues to expand, thanks in part to the success of the Android and Apple iOS platforms. Mobile app developers have a cost effective and relatively quick means to publish games. At the top end of the market, game development has rivaled movie production costs, with some budgets easily exceeding 20 million US$[xv].

Figure vii – Global Video Gaming Industry Forecast)

Figure vii – Global Video Gaming Industry Forecast)

Overall, the entertainment industry continues with healthy growth, whether it’s movies, television, music, or gaming. When all segments of entertainment are consolidated, the overall industry is expected to exceed 2 trillion US$ by 2017 (Figure viii).

Figure viii – Overall Global Entertainment Industry)

Figure viii – Overall Global Entertainment Industry)

Reality Check

The entertainment landscape has changed significantly over the past twenty years. We could thank the Internet for this global expansion, just as easily as point fingers at it for any revenue shortfall. Some will continue to blame internet piracy, but likely no one will thank the invention of P2P file sharing for their successes.

Even though these industries show healthy growth, there will always remain the argument that sales could be better if piracy was eliminated. The journey to reducing piracy will likely be long and arduous. Even if successful, measuring the end result will be controversial and unlikely to meet the entertainment industry’s expectations. A complete eradication of piracy is a lofty goal. Multiple factors must synchronize to minimize criminality, and maximize revenue potential for artists, studios, and those driving the supply chain.

There is no silver bullet. Even with established solutions in place, any measures won’t completely solve copyright infringement with one fell swoop. There will always be a select group that will take any means necessary to download poor quality content, just for the bragging rights of seeing it first. Not everyone is a candidate for the legitimate purchasing models.

A more reasonable approach may be to reduce theft levels down to those found in brick and mortar stores. If piracy levels were brought down to manageable levels, then any calculated loss will be relegated to the cost of doing business. Brick and mortar retailers have built this into their business models since commerce began.

Stay Tuned for Part V

  • In Part V of this series we will propose solutions to reduce internet piracy from the vantage point of a subscriber wish-list.

References

[i] Adaptive bitrate streaming, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_bitrate_streaming

[ii] Peer to Peer networks, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

[iii] File Hosting Services, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_hosting_service

[iv] “Chinese Cinema Continues Fast Growth in 2013”, 16th August 2013, http://www.isuppli.com/China-Electronics-Supply-Chain/MarketWatch/Pages/Chinese-Cinema-Continues-Fast-Growth-in-2013.aspx

[v] Napster, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster

[vi] IFPI, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Federation_of_the_Phonographic_Industry

[vii] IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). The broader music industry in this context includes:

  • Radio advertising music
  • Recorded music sales
  • Musical instrument sales
  • Live performance revenues
  • Portable digital music players
  • + a few other income categories

[viii] IFPI, Digital Music Report ’14, http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/Digital-Music-Report-2014.pdf

[ix] “Music Insiders Tell Us How Social Drives Album Sales and Revenue”, by Claire BeDell, 25th February 2013, http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2013/02/social-media-music-industry/

[x] YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/

[xi] Dailymotion, http://www.dailymotion.com/

[xii] Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/

[xiii] IFPI, Digital Music Report ’13,  http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/DMR2013.pdf

[xiv] “Are Musicians Making More or Less Money?”, by Kristin Thomson, 2nd July, 2012, http://money.futureofmusic.org/are-musicians-making-more-or-less-money/

[xv] Video game development, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development

Synopsis

VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II

X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

XI. Turning Piratez into Consumers, IV

Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost of piracy is low and the risk is low. There are no silver bullets to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirates would be unwilling to buy the product legally. It is equally evident that every pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. If the risk is too high and the cost is set correctly, then fewer people will steal content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past decades, and investigates issues surrounding copyright infringement in the entertainment industry.

Read Additional Articles in this Series

I. Consumption is Personal

In the days of linear television, broadcasters had a difficult task in understanding their audience. Without a direct broadcasting and feedback mechanism like the Internet, gauging subscriber behavior was slow. Today, online video providers have the ability to conduct a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require changes in advertising expenditure and tactics.

II. Granularity of Choice

The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning point of these changes.

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

Transcoding large video libraries is a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth are used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video so that subscribers can enjoy an optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something entertaining to watch are now behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services in order to serve a truly global audience.

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

Broadcasting, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of Internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K, is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this advanced technology is considered out of their reach, if at all necessary. In actual fact, 4K is right around the corner and will be on consumer wish lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a tremendous library of content waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is evolving and converging to meet the demands of 4K, including Internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it, consumers actively follow what others are watching, and trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. The integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks has become a natural part of program creation and the engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, as well as those entrenched in corporate culture who are preventing broadcasters from evolving into a New Media world.

About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil is the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously,

Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

All Rights Reserved

© 2015, All information in this document is the sole ownership of the author. This document and any of its parts should not be copied, stored in the document system or transferred in any way including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographs, or any other record, or otherwise published or provided to the third party without previous express written consent of the author. Certain terms used in this document could be registered trademarks or business trademarks, which are in sole ownership of its owners.

Tags

ACTA, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, Box Office Mojo, Broadcast, Connected TV, Copyright Infringement, cord cutters, cord nevers, cord shavers, cyber lockers, Digital Video, dusil.com, File Hosting Services, File Sharing, Gabriel Dusil, Global Internet Phenomena Report, IFPI, Informa, Informa Telecoms and Media, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Internet Governance, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Multiscreen, Napster, Net Neutrality, New Media, Online Video, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, P2P, Peer to Peer, PIPA, piracy, Piratez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, Sandvine, Skype, Smart TV, SOPA, The Numbers

 

OTT & Multiscreen • Digital Video Series • 10 • Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

Portfolio - OTT & Multiscreen (X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III, title, web)

 Freedom vs. Control

The Internet’s openness has resulted in its greatest success and arguably its darkest failures. The ideology of Internet Freedom[1] has its values routed in capitalism – where markets are free, and the government doesn’t have control over them[2]. On the flip side, a regulated Internet fuels fears of totalitarianism – where the state holds total authority over a society[3]. Needless to say, the issues surrounding net neutrality[4] verses internet governance[5] are sensitive, and have remained a heated topic for many years.

Proponents of net neutrality want to maintain the internet as “freedom of expression[6]. Their guiding principle is an internet where ISP’s or governments treat all data equal on the Internet.

Those that support internet governance want the ability to block, speed-up, or slow-down traffic at their own discretion. This would equalize the playing field of ISPs and entertainment providers, because ISPs would have more control over what is being sent over their network. Proponents of internet governance argue that data ‘control’ would guarantee quality of service, and would help to address the growing threat of piracy, because P2P protocols and other methods used to pirate content would be filtered (which is a politically correct way of saying “blocked”). In this scenario, a provider could drop all P2P packets, working off the assumption that all P2P traffic is pirated content. But this could adversely affect legitimate services such as Skype, which uses P2P technology[7].

Another concern is that if the internet became regulated, this could lead to a premium charges on content such as video streaming, communications, or gaming – services that either need a lot of bandwidth, or require minimum latency. An ISP could potentially discriminate against any communication protocol, user, or company, with full impunity. The danger is compounded when governance favors one user or competitor over another, or discriminates any combination of, content, websites, platforms, or applications. For these reasons internet governance is largely viewed as a hindrance to future innovation and competition. And that brings us full circle to capitalist ideals.

Several attempts to regulating the internet have been attempted in recent years. Notable initiatives include:

  • PIPA[8] – A bill introduced on the 12th of May 2011, designed to empower copyright owners to go after perpetrators which have infringed on copy written materials such as illegal sales, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management. This is especially targeted to those registered outside of the USA.
  • SOPA[9] – This bill was introduced on the 26th of October 2011. It would allow the U.S. Department of Justice or copyright holders, to “seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement”
  • ACTA[10] – This agreement was signed by 31 states as well as the European Union on 4th of February 2013. The goal is to establish an international legal framework for targeting copyright infringement on the Internet, medicine and other counterfeit products.

There is a common thread in these initiatives. They all attempt to police the internet – mainly in jurisdictions outside of the USA. There is mounting pressure from the US government, the entertainment industry, and consumer goods companies to crack down on copyright infringement.

Entertainment vs. the Internet

Twenty years ago internet bandwidth wasn’t high enough to stream video in real time. But the 2000’s changed that. As throughput increased companies began to emerge and offer entertainment streaming services for music, video, and gaming. Initially this was for low quality content, but consumers didn’t seem to mind. By the end of the decade, high definition video could be streamed in many countries around the world. As the internet primed itself for high definition, ISPs began to argue with entertainment companies[11] running OTT. An OTT service effectively bypasses the traditional broadcast television transmission by offering content via the internet (Figure i and Figure ii). The center of this conflict was based on the sudden increase in bandwidth. Usage would increase ten-fold or even higher because of video. Because of this internet governance debate intensified. Network providers argued, “Your video is costing us a lot of money in upgrading our infrastructure. You need to pay extra for that content, or we’ll have to filter it.” These are known as paid-prioritization agreements or charging special fees for Internet fast lanes.

Figure i – TV Broadcast service

Figure i – TV Broadcast service

Figure ii – TV Broadcast compared to Over the Top services

Figure ii – TV Broadcast compared to Over the Top services

 

The ISP business model is disrupted directly by entertainment providers for the following reason: The entertainment providers running Over the Top Content[12] (OTT) services responded with, “You can’t govern the internet, and regulate our traffic. By filtering our traffic you discriminating against us, and that is against net neutrality.”

Subscribers of ISP services typically pay a flat monthly fee for their internet connection, regardless of how much they download. OTT providers also generate revenue through monthly subscriptions. The difference is in the infrastructure cost between these two business models: As subscriber counts increases, an OTT hosting platform has the luxury of expanding their back-end proportionally. For example, if the OTT provider doubles their subscriber base, they have the revenue surplus to justify doubling their infrastructure capacity. Imagine a community of 20 ISP subscribers using an average of 1Mbps of traffic per month (20Mbps in total for the community). If that community simultaneously signs up to an OTT service then each user increases their usage to 10Mbps per month, that’s 200Mbps that now needs to be supported by the ISP. In other words, the ISP needs their infrastructure to support ten times more capacity, but none of those subscribers are paying more for their internet connection.

With cord cutters[13] it gets even worse (i.e. those that have cancelled their pay-TV service). According to Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report[14], cord cutters “consume on average 212GB a month, more than seven times the usage of a typical ISP subscriber” (Figure iii).

This is further complicated by the fact that ISPs typically over-provision (or over-subscribe) their networks to save on infrastructure costs[15]. An often quoted figure is 20:1 for ADSL, and can be as high as 50:1 for satellite connections. In the first example, over-provisioning works on the premise that an average subscriber will only use 5% of their bandwidth over the course of one month. Even though all subscribers are told that they have 10Mbps of available bandwidth, the ISP will provision for the 0.5Mbps, which is the average. If 20 subscribers share that connection in a community, then the ISP only needs to accommodate for an average of 10Mbps for the entire community (0.5Mbps x 20 users). This saves tremendously on infrastructure costs. But if all of those subscribers sign up for OTT, then bandwidth usage skyrockets and bottlenecks results in a disappointing quality of service (QoS).

Figure iii – Internet Usage by Region

Figure iii – Internet Usage by Region

 

The OTT provider happily collects monthly revenue for 20 new subscribers, but the ISPs now has to accommodate for the increased capacity, without any incremental revenue. Since this is a subscription service, the annuity revenue model results in relatively predicable forecasting. OTT Infrastructure managers can track the trajectory of subscriber growth to their expanding back-end. ISPs don’t have that same transparency in terms of which subscribers who will sign up for an OTT service.

Subscribers that sign up for OTT can easily jump from single digit gigabytes one month, to double digit gigabytes the next (see Figure iii). On a grander scale, when hundreds of thousands of subscribers sign up for OTT, there is an exponential burden on the ISP’s backbone.

Internet providers have the inconvenience of upgrading their infrastructure as OTT providers become more successful. Canadian ISP’s anticipated this dilemma by implementing a bandwidth usage cap. In 2012, four months after Netflix launched services in Canada; several ISP’s capped their internet services between 15GB and 25GB per month, prompting complaints from Netflix executives[16]. These bandwidth caps restrict downloading to just a handful of movies per month – effectively neutering Netflix’s entry into the country.

Netflix users watched over 5.1 billion hours of video per month in Q4 2014, tripling their usage compared to three years ago.[17]

In February of 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)[18] voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule. In other words paid-prioritization agreements are no longer allowed. This prevents ISPs from collecting payments from web companies from delivering their entertainment content using paid fast lanes.[19]

 

Stay Tuned for Part IV, & V

  • In Part IV we will gauge the health of the entertainment industry by breaking down the revenue forecasts of the music, film, TV, and gaming industries, in light of internet piracy.
  • In Part V of this series we will propose solutions to reduce internet piracy from the vantage point of a subscriber wish-list.

Synopsis

VIII. Turning Piratez into Consumers, I

IX. Turning Piratez into Consumers, II

X. Turning Piratez into Consumers, III

Content Protection is a risk-to-cost balance. At the moment, the cost of piracy is low and the risk is low. There are no silver bullets to solving piracy, but steps can be taken to reduce levels to something more acceptable. It is untrue that everyone who pirates would be unwilling to buy the product legally. It is equally evident that every pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. If the risk is too high and the cost is set correctly, then fewer people will steal content. This paper explores how piracy has evolved over the past decades, and investigates issues surrounding copyright infringement in the entertainment industry.

Read Additional Articles in this Series

I. Consumption is Personal

In the days of linear television, broadcasters had a difficult task in understanding their audience. Without a direct broadcasting and feedback mechanism like the Internet, gauging subscriber behavior was slow. Today, online video providers have the ability to conduct a one-to-one conversation with their audience. Viewing habits of consumers will continue to rapidly change in the next ten years. This will require changes in advertising expenditure and tactics.

II. Granularity of Choice

The evolution from traditional TV viewing to online video has been swift. This has significantly disrupted disc sales such as DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cable and satellite TV subscriptions. With the newfound ability to consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. In this paper we will discuss these changes in buying behavior, and identify the turning point of these changes.

III. Benchmarking the H.265 Video Experience

Transcoding large video libraries is a time consuming and expensive process. Maintaining consistency in video quality helps to ensure that storage costs and bandwidth are used efficiently. It is also important for video administrators to understand the types of devices receiving the video so that subscribers can enjoy an optimal viewing experience. This paper discusses the differences in quality in popular video codecs, including the recently ratified H.265 specification.

IV. Search & Discovery Is a Journey, not a Destination

Television subscribers have come a long way from the days of channel hopping. The arduous days of struggling to find something entertaining to watch are now behind us. As consumers look to the future, the ability to search for related interests and discover new interests is now established as common practice. This paper discusses the challenges that search and discovery engines face in refining their services in order to serve a truly global audience.

V. Multiscreen Solutions for the Digital Generation

Broadcasting, as a whole, is becoming less about big powerful hardware and more about software and services. As these players move to online video services, subscribers will benefit from the breadth of content they will provide to subscribers. As the world’s video content moves online, solution providers will contribute to the success of Internet video deployments. Support for future technologies such as 4K video, advancements in behavioral analytics, and accompanying processing and networking demands will follow. Migration to a multiscreen world requires thought leadership and forward-thinking partnerships to help clients keep pace with the rapid march of technology. This paper explores the challenges that solution providers will face in assisting curators of content to address their subscriber’s needs and changing market demands.

VI. Building a Case for 4K, Ultra High Definition Video

Ultra High Definition technology (UHD), or 4K, is the latest focus in the ecosystem of video consumption. For most consumers this advanced technology is considered out of their reach, if at all necessary. In actual fact, 4K is right around the corner and will be on consumer wish lists by the end of this decade. From movies filmed in 4K, to archive titles scanned in UHD, there is a tremendous library of content waiting to be released. Furthermore, today’s infrastructure is evolving and converging to meet the demands of 4K, including Internet bandwidth speeds, processing power, connectivity standards, and screen resolutions. This paper explores the next generation in video consumption and how 4K will stimulate the entertainment industry.

VII. Are You Ready For Social TV?

Social TV brings viewers to content via effective brand management and social networking. Users recommend content as they consume it, consumers actively follow what others are watching, and trends drive viewers to subject matters of related interests. The integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks has become a natural part of program creation and the engagement of the viewing community. Social networks create an environment where broadcasters have unlimited power to work with niche groups without geographic limits. The only limitations are those dictated by content owners and their associated content rights, as well as those entrenched in corporate culture who are preventing broadcasters from evolving into a New Media world.

About the Author

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal)Gabriel Dusil is the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously,

Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

All Rights Reserved

© 2015, All information in this document is the sole ownership of the author. This document and any of its parts should not be copied, stored in the document system or transferred in any way including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographs, or any other record, or otherwise published or provided to the third party without previous express written consent of the author. Certain terms used in this document could be registered trademarks or business trademarks, which are in sole ownership of its owners.

Tags

ACTA, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, Box Office Mojo, Broadcast, Connected TV, Copyright Infringement, cord cutters, cord nevers, cord shavers, cyber lockers, Digital Video, dusil.com, File Hosting Services, File Sharing, Gabriel Dusil, Global Internet Phenomena Report, IFPI, Informa, Informa Telecoms and Media, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Internet Governance, Internet Piracy, Internet Video, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Multiscreen, Napster, Net Neutrality, New Media, Online Video, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, P2P, Peer to Peer, PIPA, piracy, Piratez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, Sandvine, Skype, Smart TV, SOPA, The Numbers

References

[1] Internet Freedom, U.S. State Department http://www.state.gov/e/eb/cip/netfreedom/index.htm

[2] Capitalism, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

[3] Totalitarianism, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism

[4] net neutrality, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

[5] Internet Governance, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_governance

[6] Save the Internet, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Internet

[7] “What is P2P communications, https://support.skype.com/en/faq/fa10983/what-are-p2p-communications

[8] Protect IP Act, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act

[9] Stop Online Piracy Act, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOPA

[10] Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTA

[11] “Net Neutrality: A Catch 22?”, by Jyoti Pawar, 20 January 2015, Business World, http://www.businessworld.in/news/economy/net-neutrality-a-catch-22/1706892/page-1.html

[12] Over the Top Content, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-top_content

[13] Cord Cutting, Techopedia, http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28547/cord-cutting

[14] Sandvine, Global Internet Phenomena Report 1H 2014, https://www.sandvine.com/downloads/general/global-internet-phenomena/2014/1h-2014-global-internet-phenomena-report.pdf

[15] “On Bandwidth and Backhaul Provisioning”, by by Mike Everest, 7 July 2009, Duxtel, http://shop.duxtel.com.au/article_info.php?articles_id=14

[16] “Netflix exec: Canada’s broadband caps “almost a human rights violation”, by Janko Roettgers, Gigaom, http://gigaom.com/2012/09/13/netflix-canada-caps-human-rights-violation/

[17] The Diffusion Group, tdg, http://tdgresearch.com/report/netflix-2014-domestic-dominance-international-escalation/

[18] FCC, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Federal_Communications_Commission

[19] “FCC Votes ‘Yes’ on Strongest Net-Neutrality Rules”, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, 26 February 2015, Time.com

OTT & Multiscreen • Web Seminar • 12 • Entertainment Streaming, YouTube vs. OTT

• Entertainment Streaming Q&A

• Welcome to the twelfth and final web seminar in this series.  This presentation is also the final part of our “Entertainment Streaming Services – Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors and Strategies” series, focusing on summarizing the COBS analysis.  We also answer questions regarding YouTube as an OTT service, compared to using a “private” OTT platform.

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #12, Entertainment Streaming COBS)

• Synopsis

• ŸCheck out other white papers, video presentations, and opinion pieces from my blog “Digital Video for a Digital Generation”: dusil.com

• Building a new Video Streaming service starts from understanding the market landscape. We’re all familiar with the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. But dissecting the challenges in the Video streaming industry is about understanding problems, before a solution can be formulated. Creating a gap-analysis is the next step in recognizing opportunities in this rapidly changing market space. Then, examining subscriber behavior ensures that we look through the lens of the consumer. Once those steps are completed, we can formulate a strategy to build an innovative and competitive video streaming service. This presentation takes a modern market approach for video streaming through an assessment of Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors, & Strategies (or COBS).

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #12, Entertainment Streaming COBS, title)

 

• Video Presentation

• 8 minutes 11 seconds

• Tags

2nd Screen, Broadcast, COBS, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, dusil.com, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, Entertainment Streaming Challenges, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, Gabriel Dusil, Internet Video, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Return On Investment, ROI, Search & Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, TCO, Television, total cost of ownership, TV Anywhere, TV Everywhere, Video Streaming


14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #12, Entertainment Streaming Q&A, Premiere Pro)

OTT & Multiscreen • Web Seminar • 11 • Entertainment Streaming Strategies

• Entertainment Streaming Strategies

• Welcome to our eleventh web seminar.  This presentation is also the forth part of our “Entertainment Streaming Services – Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors and Strategies” series.  This installment focuses on Product Strategies for delivering OTT Services.

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #11, Entertainment Streaming Strategies)

• Synopsis

• ŸCheck out other white papers, video presentations, and opinion pieces from my blog “Digital Video for a Digital Generation”: dusil.com

• Building a new Video Streaming service starts from understanding the market landscape. We’re all familiar with the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. But dissecting the challenges in the Video streaming industry is about understanding problems, before a solution can be formulated. Creating a gap-analysis is the next step in recognizing opportunities in this rapidly changing market space. Then, examining subscriber behavior ensures that we look through the lens of the consumer. Once those steps are completed, we can formulate a strategy to build an innovative and competitive video streaming service. This presentation takes a modern market approach for video streaming through an assessment of Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors, & Strategies (or COBS).

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #11, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, title)

• Download the Native PowerPoint Slides

14.Jun.10 – Visual Unity Global (training, #11, Entertainment Streaming Strategies).pptx

 

• Video Presentation

• 12 minutes 8 seconds

• Follow along with the video, by clicking through the slides here:

 

• Tags

2nd Screen, Broadcast, COBS, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, dusil.com, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, Entertainment Streaming Challenges, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, Gabriel Dusil, Internet Video, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Return On Investment, ROI, Search & Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, TCO, Television, total cost of ownership, TV Anywhere, TV Everywhere, Video Streaming


14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #11, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, Premiere Pro)

OTT & Multiscreen • Web Seminar • 10 • Entertainment Streaming Behaviors

 

Graphic - Dusil.com, web seminar, title

• Entertainment Streaming Behaviors

• Welcome to the ten installment in our web seminar series.  This presentation is also the third part of our “Entertainment Streaming Services – Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors and Strategies” series.  If you missed Part 1: Entertainment Streaming Challenges, you can find the presentation here.   If you missed Part 2: Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, you can find the presentation here. This part focuses on the User Behaviors in today’s digital entertainment services.

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #10, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors)

• Synopsis

• ŸCheck out other white papers, video presentations, and opinion pieces from my blog “Digital Video for a Digital Generation”: dusil.com

• Building a new Video Streaming service starts from understanding the market landscape. We’re all familiar with the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. But dissecting the challenges in the Video streaming industry is about understanding problems, before a solution can be formulated. Creating a gap-analysis is the next step in recognizing opportunities in this rapidly changing market space. Then, examining subscriber behavior ensures that we look through the lens of the consumer. Once those steps are completed, we can formulate a strategy to build an innovative and competitive video streaming service. This presentation takes a modern market approach for video streaming through an assessment of Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors, & Strategies (or COBS).

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #10, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, title)

• Download the Native PowerPoint Slides

14.Jun.10 – Visual Unity Global (training, #10, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors).pptx

 

• Video Presentation

• 12 minutes 59 seconds

• Follow along with the video, by clicking through the slides here:

 

• Tags

2nd Screen, Broadcast, COBS, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, dusil.com, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, Entertainment Streaming Challenges, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, Gabriel Dusil, Internet Video, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Return On Investment, ROI, Search & Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, TCO, Television, total cost of ownership, TV Anywhere, TV Everywhere, Video Streaming


14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #10, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, Premiere Pro)

Digital Trends Video Opinions • Whatever Happened to the HiFi Tower?

Graphic - Digital Trends Video Opinions (header #2, web)

End of an Era

When I was a teenager, the crowning achievement of audio enthusiasts was to proudly display their HiFi system to their friends. The living room centerpiece was a HiFi tower, built from what are called separates – units manufactured as 19 inch appliances with a brushed aluminum façade. This was the 70s, and the HiFi tower consisted of an amplifier, radio tuner, tape player, and a turntable that took top position in the penthouse suite. For the baby boomer with higher disposable incomes, the tower may also exhibit a pre-amp, and maybe even an equalizer for good measure. In the 1982 the audio industry added a CD player[1], and the world was introduced to digital sound. Then in 1995 the DVD[2] player joined the portfolio, and digital video moved into the mainstream.

We were proud of our appliances and displayed them as beautiful fixtures in our living rooms. But by the mid-90’s the audio industry began to change. The emergence of the World Wide Web[3] (www) started to affect our entertainment habits. The MP3[4] format, an audio coding format for digital audio, was standardized in 1993 and soon became a tool that disrupted the audio industry. It allowed consumers to save music onto their computers at a fraction of the size, compared to CDs. Then, Peer to Peer[5] (P2P) networking was popularized by the notorious Napster[6] service, launched in 1999 allowing everyone to share their MP3 music libraries – albeit illegally. Music may have turned digital with the CD, but it also morphed from a physical product to a virtual one. When collections moved to hard drives the CD player began to lose its luster. By the end of the 20th century the portable media player[7] using hard drives or flash drives, began to emerge.

It wasn’t just the audio and video input sources that evolved. By the first decade of 2000, the output changed as well. Active speakers began to eat into the market share of passive speakers, lessening the need for an amplifier. Much of this was driven by the computer industry, where speakers would connect directly to the PC. The cornerstone of the HiFi tower was in jeopardy. But the consumer electronics industry seemingly compensated. They continued to improve on the design of the Class D amplifier[8], which was more power efficient, dissipated less heat, and cheaper to produce, than their Class A to C[9] counterparts. They also began to support video inputs. With video, this appliance evolved into the Audio-Visual Receiver[10]. This may have extended the validity of the amplifier, but in the 2000’s the HiFi tower began to lose many of its floors.

The turntable almost disappeared once the CD began to reach critical mass. I trashed mine sometime around 1993. But vinyl[11] has had a resurgence of interest from die-hard fans that are convinced that records sounds better. My take on this passion is that vinyl enthusiasts are accustomed to the fidelity limitations that the media imposes on audio frequency and resolution. In fact, that ‘warm’ sound that is much loved, can be easily reproduced through digital filters (please, no nasty letters). Tape decks have long become occupants of landfill. I finally threw out mine out around 2005, even though I hadn’t used it for a decade. The graphic equalizer (or, more likely a parametric equalizer) may still be present in recording studios, but is predominantly a software feature in digital audio. In fact, today’s audio quality is so pristine that the consumer ‘want’ for an equalizer has virtually disappeared.

Most consumers can’t tell the difference between a 192kbps and a 320kbps MP3 track at 44.1KHz and 16bit resolution on a stereo channel[12]. Consider that Blu-Ray tracks can support up to 24.5Mbps, 96kHz, 24bit resolution on 7.1 channels. That’s 76 times more information delivered to your ears! The additional surround channels are apparent, but most consumers don’t hear the additional resolution. Regardless, the audio industry can’t stand still – it needs to evolve. As the video industry begins to standardize on 4K[13] UHD technology, audio giants such as DTS[14] and Dolby Laboratories[15] will need to step up their game and improve on their DTS-HD[16] and Dolby TrueHD[17] standards. Possibly Dolby Atmos[18] is the future, which currently supports up to 128 audio tracks and 64 speakers. But how this technology will fit into a home theater set-up remains an open question.

Black Boxes to Virtual Boxes

By 2006, the first Blu-Ray discs were released. It became a new floor in our tower. But many argue that it may be the last, in favor of internet streaming. Online video streaming services have had a negative effect on disc players. Consumers realized that access to a large library at a low monthly cost makes more sense than owning shelves of CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays. Today’s internet has plenty of bandwidth to support video streaming. As long as subscribers can continue to easily access content through a cloud-based service, then there will be little desire for ownership.

Portfolio - Visual Unity, Digital Trends, What happened to the HiFi Tower (Some will thank computing for staged a coup d’état)

Has the 19″ appliance been replaced by software? The limitation of this audio black-box appliance is certainly apparent in today’s demanding multi-functional world. Today’s consumers expect some combination of Bluetooth, Wireline, WiFi, DLNA[20] connectivity, or Near Field Communication[21] (NFC) in their consumer electronics. For example, a disc player that can’t connect to the Internet has little value to a ‘Net savvy consumer. A console that doesn’t support multi-player gaming via the internet is boring.

Video, Audio, Communication is integral to today’s gamer. My kids connect to Skype and have group chats when playing DayZ[22], Minecraft[23], or World of Tanks[24]. They use LogMeIn Hamachi[25] to network their computers. They record their gaming experience with Camtasia Studio[26], and share it on their YouTube channel[27]. Many games aren’t even suitable for disc release. Assassins Creed Unity for example, is a 42GB download on Ubisoft’s Uplay[28]!

Millennial Entertainment

My audio-visual setup is quite unusual. I don’t have a living room in the traditional sense. My computer has evolved as the center of both my work and entertainment world. I sit two feet away when I need to type on the keyboard. Then move ten feet away to watch movies. My office is my living room, and visa-versa. I appreciate that this is not typical for the majority of households, but certainly some level of convergence is happening on a larger scale. TV’s are now Smart[29], and connected to the Internet. Computers, tablets and mobiles are being used to watch entertainment. Gaming consoles are used for social networking. Many consumers don’t realize that their Set-Top-Box[30] (STB) from their cable provider is a PC.

Where does that leave us? For starters, let’s accept that the beautiful HiFi tower, as we once knew it, has virtually disappeared. Millennials don’t even know what they look like. (Case in point: I mentioned to my 12 year old that I was writing a new article where I’ve mentioned him called, “Whatever Happened to the HiFi Tower?”, and the first thing he asked was, “What’s that?”). My tower was dismantled shortly before my kids were born. Even the receiver, once the cornerstone of my HiFi tower was shelved, in favor of active speakers.

Modern living rooms still have their appliances. Somewhere in the house is a WiFi router. The STB may sit beside a gaming console, and maybe a connected Blu-Ray player. A select few will have a media player, or a home theatre PC[31] (HTPC). But each one will have a different shape, size, and color. Nothing in this setup has the elegance of HiFi tower. Even though some manufacturers try to maintain the 19″ form factor, it doesn’t quite have the same ta’da’ enthusiasm from my youth. If a HiFi tower does exist, they are found in high-end home theatres, hidden behind walls, cabinets, or doors. A large number of living rooms need to also check the spouse-acceptance-factor[32] box. Only a privileged few are lucky to have their very own man cave[33].

Thanks for the Memories

Today’s digital society was elegantly summarized by Cory Bergman, from Lost Remote:

“Apps become the channels. Google and Apple
become the gateways, not the MVPDs. Screens become seamless.
DVRs become pointless. And the internet becomes the cable.”[34]

This touches on the sensitive topic of how the entertainment industry has succumbed to applications and the internet.

The excitement of the HiFi tower is now separated by a generation gap. For those that attended high school in the 70’s or 80’s, remember when you bought your first amplifier and the focal point of discussion with your buddies started at the back of the unit? The more connections the amplifier had the more beautiful it was. These days, showing all of your music and movies through the window of our computer monitor doesn’t quite have the same excitement as displaying hundreds of CD’s and DVD’s on a shelf beside a HiFi tower that is taller than a six year old. Such is progress. I may no longer re-live the enthusiasm of showing off my HiFi tower. But I’ll make that trade-off, if it means having my entertainment library accessible with only a few mouse clicks.

• Synopsis

Over the span of two decades entertainment has evolved from a physical to a virtual industry – From a black-box appliance, performing a specific task, to computing devices running applications that serve many functions. What happened to the prestige of the HiFi tower? Did it disappear and we didn’t even notice? This article explores how our world of entertainment has evolved, and what happened to that beautiful HiFi tower.

This article was originally published on redsharknews.com.

• About Gabriel Dusil

Gabriel Dusil was recently the Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign & Motorola in a combination of senior marketing & sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity & Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).

• Tags

ŸGabriel Dusil, Smart TV, UHD, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition, DTS-HD, Napster, Class D Amplifier, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Atmos, Digital Living Network Alliance, DLNA, Near Field Communication, NFC, DayZ, World of Tanks, Hamachi, Camtasia, UPlay, Wife acceptance factor, Spouse acceptance factor, P2P, Dusil.com

• Resources

[1] CD player, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc

[2] DVD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD

[3] World Wide Web, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Web

[4] MP3, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

[5] P2P, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

[6] Napster, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster

[7] Portable media player, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_media_player

[8] Class D Amplifier, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-D_amplifier

[9] Amplifier, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier

[10] Audio-Visual Receiver, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AV_receiver

[11] Vinyl, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl

[12] “Audiophiles: Can humans hear a difference between low bitrate and high bitrate MP3s?”, by Eric Dykstra, http://www.quora.com/Audiophiles/Can-humans-hear-a-difference-between-low-bitrate-and-high-bitrate-MP3s

[13] 4K, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution

[14] DTS, http://listen.dts.com/

[15] Dolby Digital, http://www.dolby.com/us/en/index.html

[16] DTS-HD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTS-HD_Master_Audio

[17] Dolby TrueHD, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_TrueHD

[18] Dolby Digital Atmos, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Atmos

[19] “Some will thank computing for staged a coup d’état on the entertainment industry. Others will blame the internet for killing it.”

[20] Digital Living Network Alliance, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance

[21] Near Field Communication, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication

[22] DayZ, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DayZ_%28video_game%29, http://dayzmod.com/

[23] Minecraft, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft, https://minecraft.net/

[24] World of Tanks, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Tanks, http://worldoftanks.com/

[25] LogMeIn Hamachi, Wikipedia, https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi/download.aspx

[26] Camtasia Studio, http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

[27] YouTube Channels, https://www.youtube.com/channels

[28] UPlay, http://uplay.ubi.com/

[29] Smart TV, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_TV

[30] Set-Top-Box, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set-top_box

[31] Home theater PC, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_theater_PC

[32] Wife acceptance factor, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife_acceptance_factor

[33] man cave, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_cave

[34] “How Chromecast fundamentally changed how my family watches TV”, By Cory Bergman, Lost Remote, 3 September 2013, http://lostremote.com/how-chromecast-fundamentally-changed-how-my-family-watches-tv_b38639

 

OTT & Multiscreen • Web Seminar • 9 • Entertainment Streaming Opportunities

• Entertainment Streaming Opportunities

• Welcome to our ninth web seminar.  This presentation is also the second part of the “Entertainment Streaming Services – Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors and Strategies” series.  If you missed the first part of this series, you can find the presentation here. This installment focuses on the Opportunities in delivering OTT Services.

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #9, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities)

• Synopsis

• ŸCheck out other white papers, video presentations, and opinion pieces from my blog “Digital Video for a Digital Generation”: dusil.com.  In case you’re interested, I also run a separate personal blog at gabrieldusil.com.

• Building a new Video Streaming service starts from understanding the market landscape. We’re all familiar with the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. But dissecting challenges in the Video streaming industry is about understanding the problems, before a solution can be formulated. Creating a gap-analysis is the next step in recognizing opportunities in this rapidly changing market space. Then, examining subscriber behavior ensures that we look through the lens of the consumer. Once those steps are completed, we can formulate a strategy to build an innovative and competitive video streaming service. This presentation takes a modern market approach for video streaming through an assessment of Challenges, Opportunities, Behaviors, & Strategies (or COBS).

14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #9, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, title)

• Download the Native PowerPoint Slides

14.Jun.10 – Visual Unity Global (training, #9, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities).pptx

 

• Watch the Video Presentation here:

• 7 minutes 9 seconds

• Follow along with the video, by clicking through the slides here:

• Tags

2nd Screen, Broadcast, COBS, Connected TV, Digital Rights, Digital Video, DRM, dusil.com, Entertainment Streaming Behaviors, Entertainment Streaming Challenges, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, Entertainment Streaming Strategies, Gabriel Dusil, Internet Video, Linear TV, Multi-screen, Multiscreen, Online Video Platform, OTT, Over the Top Content, OVP, Recommendation Engine, Return On Investment, ROI, Search & Discovery, second screen, Smart TV, TCO, Television, total cost of ownership, TV Anywhere, TV Everywhere, Video Streaming

 


14.Jun.10 - Visual Unity Global (training, #9, Entertainment Streaming Opportunities, Premiere Pro)

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