MESA Members at CES 2018: AI, HDR, OTT and More

The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) will again be well-represented at the 2018 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, taking over Las Vegas Jan. 9-12. This is the first of two stories looking at what some of MESA’s members will be showcasing at the largest technology show in the world.

Cisco – At CES, Cisco will be demonstrating industry leadership across several areas, including automation, cloud, video, mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT) and security, according to Marc Aldrich, VP-U.S. cable and media.

“As the industry continues to witness a relentless growth of broadband consumption that’s already straining many network investments, Cisco is committed to helping its customers — service providers of broadband, video and connectivity — offset this consumption and drive success in key areas like revenue growth,” he said.

According to Cisco’s most recent Cisco VNI Forecast data, the industry is three years away from a (2021) service provider environment, in which IP traffic growth will have increased 3X, to 278 exabytes a month (more than 14 times all the IP traffic generated in 2010), he noted, adding: “Furthermore, this traffic is flowing to and from and across more than 27 billion connections, with 51 percent supporting machine-to-machine interactions, and 48 percent video-capable. To address this shift will require massive amounts of network scaling, via cloud-native infrastructure, as well as a ruthless simplification of networking and operations, through workflow automation. And, it will require an architectural approach to security, so as to protect infrastructure, applications, and end-points.”

Also at CES, Cisco will be demonstrating how automation ties into SD-WAN services, Smart PHY implementations and a cloud-native CMTS designed to increase bandwidth and agility, he said. Additionally, Cisco will be highlighting advancements in its Infinite Video, cloud-DVR and mobile video platforms – from end-to-end latency reduction to cost optimization for Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) video, as well as analytics and machine-learning enhancements and video experiences, he told MESA.

Cisco will also feature a full demo room, including Jasper Control Center, “illustrating how an automated connectivity management platform can link devices to global networks, customers and back-end systems,” he said. In addition, Cisco will be showcasing Cisco Kinetic, a “first-of-its-kind IoT data operations platform designed to help enterprises to onboard and maintain the things of the IoT,” he said, adding: “Designed for massive scale, Cisco Kinetic combines connection management, fog/edge computing and data delivery all in one platform.”

The content protection firm will showcase an extensive lineup of user experience, data intelligence, content protection and anti-piracy innovations at CES that it said in a news release “drives new pay-TV and content owner business strategies.”

That lineup includes OpenTV Signature Edition, which integrates an Android TV Operator Tier solution and, “for the first time in the U.S.,” will enable CES visitors to “learn how it delivers a unified, intuitive and seamless user experience across all screens,” the Kudelski Group division said.

Also spotlighted will be Nagra Insights, its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered data intelligence. The pay-TV data platform helps operators understand each viewer’s preferences and recommends actions that will increase both customer satisfaction and monetization, Nagra noted.

Nagra will also show direct-to-TV software solutions and devices that it said “simplify access to linear and on-demand pay-TV services on TV sets,” as well as
end-to-end content value protection for defeating piracy via active security.

“The disruptive challenges faced by pay-TV service providers worldwide, summarized in the 2017 Pay-TV Innovation Forum report, show increasing pressure to deliver more consumer value while tackling growing piracy issues,” Ivan Verbesselt, SVP of group marketing at Nagra, said, adding: “This new reality calls for a smart line-up of IP, cloud and data-driven solutions that help service providers retain their leadership position as leading aggregators of premium content catering to the most valuable pay-TV consumer types.”

One of the “big three things” that NeuLion is focusing on at CES is the launch of a new advisory service that Chris Wagner, the company’s EVP and co-founder, told MESA will “help content owners and content rights holders evaluate” over-the-top (OTT) technology components.

During the show, guests who visit NeuLion at the Aria Hotel will be able to get a demonstration on the components needed to deliver a successful, interactive OTT service, he said, adding guests will also receive a guided tour of the topics covered in an e-book on OTT managed services, he said.

NeuLion will also be offering tips for attracting  and keeping OTT subscribers, he said. The company will demonstrate its latest data analytics platform that leverages OTT consumer watch data, he said, adding: “Content rights holders now have the opportunity of warehousing first-party and third-party data.  Since consumers now have new and higher expectations on how they want to purchase and take advantage of new and emerging OTT networks, NeuLion’s ACE Analytics service will help media companies find and keep new subscribers.”

The company will also spotlight its new OTT mobile technology service, he said, noting visitors to the Aria “will see how streaming content can be produced just for mobile devices, new graphical overlays just for mobile services, and new interactive mobile features made just for mobile viewing.”

“Technicolor’s focus at CES 2018 will revolve around the recent progress that has been made” in high dynamic range (HDR), OTT/streaming technologies for customer premises equipment and broadband access technologies, Lane Cooper,
VP of corporate communication, told MESA. Those broadband technologies include 10G-PON (the latest generation of fiber to the home technology) and G.Fast, a new technology that he said is “breathing new life into copper wire infrastructures that connect homes to high-speed networks.”

“Technicolor continues to contribute to these three fields,” he pointed out, saying HDR technologies are “progressing through the standards process to become mainstream elements in distribution and broadcast.” He added: “Technicolor’s technology can simultaneously distribute HDR and SDR content in a cost-effective manner (we also have a very interesting up-conversion solution that turns SDR into HDR content).  Both are gaining traction in the industry.”

Meanwhile, “on the OTT front, Technicolor will be highlighting new technology developments with Android TV, and the community of partners throughout the ecosystem that are incorporating Technicolor technology into their offerings,” he said.

On the broadband front, Technicolor continues to work with network service providers and other partners to “push the boundaries of bandwidth performance so that the next generation of entertainment media (from UHD/HDR content to VR/AR experiences) can be delivered to audiences at a high Quality of Service level,” he said.