04.28.2006 12:00 AM
Convergence of Content and Technology in the Digital Home

by Andrew Morris ~ April 25, 2006


NAB DAILY NEWS



The Super Session "The Digital Home and the Future of Broadcasting," held Monday morning, concentrated on the impact the digital home will have on many businesses, including content providers, broadcasters, cable and satellite television operators as well as computer and consumer electronics companies.


As technology companies create a home-based consumer-centric model for the consumption and distribution of digital media, the impact on a variety of businesses will be profound.


One of those converging technologies comes from Intel, which showcased its Viiv platform. Demonstrated by keynote speaker Kevin Corbett, general manager of Intel's Content Services Group, the platform is designed to connect the Internet and the PC to the TV. "Viiv is focused on a billion Internet users who have access to billions and billions of digital assets and they will need rich, powerful, flexible platforms to bring together that experience from across the world and bring it to their living rooms," Corbett said.


Corbett described a world where a consumer could have access to a variety of digital media assets via a remote control device. Consumers will control the content, choose the content and access the content anywhere they want, he said.


BATTLE FOR THE DIGITAL HOME


Following Corbett's presentation was a panel discussion titled "Becoming the Hybrid Network: What Must Broadcasters Do?" Moderated by Jimmy Schaeffler of The Carmel Group, the panel discussion focused on the impact a digital home with ubiquitous access to a large variety of digital media will have on the business models of not only broadcasters and but also other providers and distributors of digital content.


Participating in the panel were Rob Chandock of Qualcomm MediaFLO, Mark Gray of Kasenna, Greg Gudorf of Digeo, Tres Izzard of Movieview and Glenn Reitmeier of NBC Universal.


"As broadcasters gear up for battle in the pay TV market, among the market winners will be content providers, third-party application and technology vendors, consumers, and set-top box makers," Schaeffler said.


WINNERS AND LOSERS


"The losers in the group become the satellite and cable TV operators as they face more threats to their market share," he said. "This group also loses a bit more leverage with programmers in the long term because content providers will have more outlets to distribute their programs and insure greater revenue streams."


Mark Gray of Kassena pointed out that in addition to providing the consumer with the ability to get any media he wants at anytime on any device, the issue of tracking that data with interfaces to billing systems is a key feature.


"As an operator or the person that is allowing the content to be delivered, you've got to find a way to monetize that because somebody has to pay for the networks and the infrastructure," Gray said.


NBC's Reitmeier pointed out that protecting the rights of content providers is not a trivial issue. Piracy, he said, is also a major issue. "I have seen estimates that over half of the Internet traffic is illegally downloading peer-to-peer file sharing traffic," Reitmeier said.


It may well be that solving issues such as privacy and digital rights management may well determine who are the winners and who are the losers in the battle for the digital home.


Andrew Morris is a consulting engineering based in Denver.

© 2006 NAB



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