Technology & Marketing in Home Entertainment…

Posted on 16 Σεπτεμβρίου , 2006


The advancement from analogue to digital changes the face of home entertainment. New devices, new services, as well as broadband and WIMAX ways to access content give a boost to the home entertainment market. As Internet penetration levelled off in most markets, broadband development has come at the expense of narrowband.

Personal video recorders and content jukeboxes, new means of accessing content signify that consumers can now be entertained watching TV on the Internet, they can download movies to their TV device or carry in small devices their entire discography collection in their pocket. All these effects in the customer side – the end user interface eventually- has turned the entire broadcasting value chain on its head.

Broadband access

The explosion of consumer broadband demand and the technological advancement of wireless home networks seed the market in which consumers – end users – wish to be able to continuously exchange digital media content. This new consumer’s practice combined with the peer to peer (P2P) exchange has created a big disruption in media and video industries which follow behind to respond in the dynamics of their customer direct free exchange paths.

Consumers share content initially to their devices and secondly with other users through P2P connections making use of networks reaching their household in many low cost bundled marketing packages. Rights and content owners try to respond in this free exchange employing copy protection systems.


Pay-TV, in the shade of the new disruptive technologies, continues to develop. Digital operators, clearly targeting to increase their ARPU (Average Revenue per User) as well as new subscribers growth, are increasingly implementing new strategies. To achieve this, they make offerings more attractive by reducing the operational costs involved in providing a compelling service.

Video-on-demand (VOD)

Video on demand (VOD) is the self programming service offering of digital TV (DTV) operators. This way they try to enable access to a range of content, they own or license to the “couch potato viewer”, from the comfort of his living-room whenever the customer desires. 

Digital TV

Digital transmission allows the broadcast of up to eight channels in the space needed for one analogue channel. The efficient use of bandwidth led to cost savings and offered the potential to a number of channels to be delivered in the TV set. That was the first evidence that digital technologies transformed the services, the business models they can exploit as well as the context of the value chain.

High-definition (HD) TV

Since the wide acceptance and up take of colour TVs in the 1970s, manufacturers have advanced very little in the TV sets technology. The average age of a television in a household in Europe is 10 years, and although regular digital TV signals did show improved quality, most consumers simply bought a STB which converts the digital signal to analogue and kept their old analogue TV. But HD TV has an opportunity to lead a step-ahead in technology that requires an upgrade cycle.

IP (Internet Protocol) TV

There is a fourth platform for DTV services that emerge with the proliferation of broadband networks which competes digital cable, digital terrestrial television (DTT) and satellite services. As broadband technology improves, DSL providers and Telecom operators seek to build business models to capitalize on their high-speed network upgrades. To achieve that they add video-based services in bundled offers in order either to increase ARPU or sustain low churn rate as a response to the competition.

Wi-MAX broadband

It is useful to describe also the most contemporary evolution in broadband which may reinforce the already emerging market, namely WiMAx. WiMAX is defined as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access by the WiMAX Forum. The Forum describes WiMAX as “a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL.

There is commonly held misconception though that WiMAX will deliver 70 Mbit/s, over 70 km. Each of these may be true individually, given ideal circumstances, but they are not simultaneously true. WiMAX has some similarities to DSL in this respect, where one can either have high bandwidth or long reach, but not both simultaneously. The other feature to consider with WiMAX is that the bandwidth is shared between users in a given radio sector, so if there are many active users in a single sector, each will get reduced bandwidth.  The challenge, for both the telecoms industry as well as entertainment businesses, is when this technology reaches the simultaneous operation of high bandwidth over long reach within a multicast radio sector. (not sharing the bandwidth among users)

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