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2013 Predictions: Amino Communications

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CAMBRIDGE, U.K. -- Amino Communications Chief Technologist Kevin Lingley, in his latest blog, offers his predictions for the pay-TV market in 2013.

Google will enter the Pay TV market directly through acquisition: Google TV has suffered some resistance from traditional Pay TV operators and content owners. In the last month alone, German content owner RTL has decided to block Google TV devices from accessing its online video services. But we have also heard rumors of Google entering the cable market through a potential acquisition of TiVo in order to solve a patent dispute, which might affect the sale of Motorola.

The latest generation of game consoles will strive to be the living room media hub: About 250M current generation game consoles have been sold and console manufacturers will want to target at least the same number of sales of the next generation of Wii U, PS4 and XBox 720. However, they will need to offer more than gaming to guarantee growth of their platforms, and Nintendo has made no secret of their ambition for the Wii U controller to be the primary second screen device and master controller in the home. Microsoft is believed to be trialing Mediaroom applications on XBox, and Sony has a large catalog of content they can exploit from Sony Pictures. The dilemma, as ever with games consoles, is whether they sit beneath the primary “family TV” in the home.

Major operators will start to deliver services over 4G networks in 2013 in territories where fiber rollouts aren't practical: In September, O2 Secure Wireless announced it had signed an MoU with an unnamed South American cable company to take a stake in the Pay TV provider and deliver triple play services including voice, data and IPTV over wireless broadband. This trend is likely to continue, especially in emerging markets, and will be part of a mixed strategy of fixed line -- fiber and copper -- and wireless deployments that enable new growth in IPTV.

As content assets become more mobile, CA will transition into DRM: Conditional Access systems, which have traditionally protected content on Pay TV platforms were fixed to the network they were deployed on. As devices that we consume content on have become more mobile, consumers now expect access to the content that they are "entitled to" anywhere, regardless of the network they are on. High value content still needs to be protected, but that will move from a secure delivery platform to securing the individual content asset using software based DRM rather than hardware based CA.

HTML 5 will provide the UI standard that a fragmented device ecosystem badly needs: As connected devices become more powerful and web-browsers more sophisticated in their use of hardware acceleration for rendering video and graphics, HTML 5 offers the most credible answer to the need for content application framework standardization. We have a diverse range of devices that can render content and the only feature that most have in common is an HTML 5 enabled browser. This is where content owners will gravitate to, in order to manage the costs of deployment and delivery of their services to the widest possible audience.

Amino Communications Ltd.

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