Six Big Trends That We Noticed at Cable Show 2013 This Week

-Personalized, Netflix-like Interfaces

-TV Everywhere and Tablets

-4K Content and HEVC Chips

The showroom floors this year at The Cable Show were filled with screens — from handheld mobile device screens to larger, 4K resolution home theater TV sets.

Here are the big trends of the show:

-Modern UIs: The EPG is (finally) getting an update. We’ve been hearing about it, now we are really seeing it. Everyone from Intel, Rovi, ActiveVideo and others were showing off their UI solutions. The more consistent the UI can look and feel across older STBs, modern STBs and STB-less smart TVs, the better.

-Headless and headed gateways: Residential gateways have emerged as the solution for TV Everywhere in the home. Content can more easily and securely be delivered to Internet-connected devices using residential media gateways. Instead of re-negotiating rights deals, service operators can deliver a TV Everywhere service — specifically deliver live linear TV — to Internet connected devices without involving the content companies. Cablecos are looking to take more control of the wireless and wired network in the home, too.

-Lots of seminars about putting content on the tablet and other platforms. Multi-screen services were a hot topic this year at The Cable Show sessions. Panels focused on cable pay TV and Internet synergies, and how service providers can work in concert with content owners to offer content to customers when and where they want it.

-HEVC is here, while 4K is coming. Comcast, CableLabs, LG, Samsung, Rovi – everyone have an HEVC chip or 4K TV somewhere in the booth. The cable TV industry seems to be less interested in 4K movies and more interested in using HEVC to stamp down bitrates and really stretch use out of limited bandwidth to the subscriber’s homes.

-Comcast is the darling child of cable: From Brian Robert’s demo of the new X2 platform, to the Reference Design Kit (RDK) that everyone on the show floor seemed plugged into, plus the 15,000 Wi-Fi hotpots it announced, Comcast demonstrated it’s a driver of innovation in the cable industry.

-OTT is still a dirty word: Mention of Netflix, YouTube and other OTT services were consistently met with dismissive headshakes. News broke during the show that Time Warner Cable (TWC) has been negotiating with content owners provisions to impede OTT and other potential disruptors – ie Intel, Google and others – from gaining access to premium content. Bloomberg reports that TWC sources indicate the service provider has negotiated preferential and lucrative deals with content owners in exchange for promising to never give content to OTT disruptors. Discovery Communications is the only member of the cable community that has been vocal about an OTT option in the future …

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