Connected TVs and Smartphones Providing Polar Opposite Challenges for CDNs

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

HONG KONG — CDN Asia 2012 — In the next five years CDNs are not only going to be faced with the challenge of delivering increasingly large volumes of OTT video. In 2011 Informa Telecoms & Media expects OTT video will account for 32.6 Exabytes (EB) of network traffic over fixed line broadband in Asia alone, and forecasts this traffic to grow by over 200% by the end of 2015. They and therefore their customers must also overcome the challenge of delivering OTT video to a range of devices. Whereas in the last decade almost all OTT video was delivered to PCs which despite their many differences offered quite a homogenous environment across different manufacturers and form factors.

Now OTT video will be delivered not only to the PC but also to the Connected TV, tablets, and smartphones. Each of these different devices will make different demands on OTT video, requiring video to be delivered in the appropriate resolution, format and the correct DRM. A one size fits all approach of simply offering standard web video will not be sufficient to provide an excellent experience to users on all of these devices.

The sheer number of smartphones entering the market each year means that they cannot be ignored. Informa believes that sales of smartphones in Asia will exceed 140 million in 2011 and that this number will more than double by 2016. But although their technical specifications are increasingly on par with PCs providing web quality video to smartphones will place an unnecessary burden on the network as the screen is too small for users to perceive the benefits.

By 2016 Informa believes that there will be 331 million connected TVs in the Asia Pacific region accounting for almost one third of total TVs in the region. On the TV OTT video services must offer a comparable service to linear TV. When users select a video to watch, load times should be as minimal as possible and stoppages for video buffering are cardinal sins. Variable bit rate streaming can overcome these problems. But users will equally not tolerate low quality video and must have as close to real HD as possible so higher bandwidths of at least 1.5Mbps will be required. The majority of video watched on connected TVs will be long form, and as these devices lack significant storage and memory so progressive streaming is not a viable option. It is also worth noting that as yet there is very little standardization across connected TVs as to what video streaming technology and DRM these devices support further complicating the issue.

In a connected home full of new smart devices CDNs have the unenviable task of having to serve two masters, the smartphone with its demands of short form lower quality video, and Connected TV devices which will demand high quality long form video. Any CDN that can manage such a juggling act will find itself in great demand.

The CDN Asia Summit will be buzzing with the major service providers from the APAC region wanting to gain an insight on to manage a CDN. The summit will also feature 17 exclusive CDN case studies from the leading service providers in the region such as Telstra, Tata, Korea Telecom, KDDI and more.

The event will leverage on the strength and establishment of the CDN World Summit. This will be a highly targeted event focusing on CDN developments and expansion across Asia and will bring together under one roof top executives from the foremost operators and content providers from across this high growth continent.