Business | Technology

Changing TV habits may impact telecoms operators

Networks could again face broadband issues with more people using web services

  • By Scott Shuey, Deputy Business Editor
  • Published: 15:13 January 10, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • A Samsung representative helps a visitor to the electronics major’s Smart Hub at the International CES in Las Vegas. The world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show features 3,100 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services.

Las Vegas: Changes in how people watch television may impact telecoms operators just like smartphones did three years ago.

With more people using mobile apps and internet services, such as Hulu, Netflix and UV, and with the introduction of 4K resolution (four times the number of pixels as high definition) digital content, networks could again face broadband issues.

Streaming services are now focusing on 
delivery, monetisation, and discovery,
or the ability of viewers to discover what’s available, of video

“Look at mobile as a proxy, which went from 2G to LTE (4G) and required networks to upgrade,” said Bob Shallow, senior vice-president of Rovi Corporation, a digital entertainment company.

He said that following the rapid uptake in music and video in 2008, networks in the US could barely cope with the added traffic. Broadband traffic in the US today is 40 times what it was just five years ago.

While networks might strain to cope with added traffic, consumers will get the benefit of wider variety of content. Tim Dodd, vice-president of Neustar Media, said streaming services are now focusing on delivery, monetisation, and discovery, or the ability of viewers to discover what’s available, of video.

Apple TV and other set-top boxes have also been increasing what they have available.

“I’ve been looking at set box the last couple of years, and they started out as a joke,” said John Falcone, executive editor at CNET.com. He said that between 2006 and now, it’s night and day.

“There is stuff to watch and it’s affordable,” he said, although he added the searchability is still an issue.

That doesn’t mean that people will be able to cancel their current packages from their service providers in exchange for Internet-based content, because it will just be a matter of time before telecoms increased their rates to offset the jump in broadband usage.

However, telecom operators will still have an advantage said Steve McKay, CEO of Entone, a company that specialises in video delivery service. More than internet-based company, telecom operators will be best positioned to provide premium content. Demand for simplicity will still be a factor.

“Just how many apps to you have to log into to get what you want?”

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