Turning 4K impacts into opportunities for pay-TV operators

September 10, 2014 andrewwajs

As you know from my earlier post, the inevitable march toward 4K has begun. And yes, with any new technology there will be challenges. But based on my discussions with studios and operators it’s clear that for well-prepared pay-TV operators, 4K could in fact bring opportunities.

Let me share some insights from recent conversations with studios and operators.

Changing the security landscape 
In SD, the piracy problem was control word sharing. And HD provided the opportunity to introduce secure silicon to counter this. HD is being attacked by content redistribution. And 4K provides the opportunity for the security landscaped to be changed again.

Hollywood studios are driving this change. It is clear that forensics to identify the origin of the piracy needs to play a bigger role. Watermarking is key. Indeed the MovieLabs requirements demand this from day one.

Operators who take a holistic approach to piracy will be the ones who the studios will be more inclined to favor. What do I mean by holistic? Fighting piracy cannot be done by technology alone. A combination of state of the art technology, which supports legacy devices and a services layer around it, will be the winning formula. Yes, watermarking ticks the box. But what good is being able to technically identify the source, if you can’t provide the investigative services to monitor and shut down the pirate activities? Only saying “there is where the problem is”, doesn’t cut it anymore.

There is a lot more to share with you about fighting piracy in the 21st century; particularly how CA and DRM need to change going forward. But I will save that for a post in its own right.

First format to be launched in a multi-screen environment 
4K promises enhanced quality, navigation and varied business models. And if my prediction that 4K will be the first format to be launched simultaneously in a multi-screen environment is correct; that means it must work across all different devices.

Talking with Tier 1 US operators, they agree to achieve this they would need greater flexibility and choice relating to their STBs. One such trend setter has already moved to a more open environment. Where they have the freedom to respond to what their consumers want – quickly. Not being tied solely to the STB vendor and its preferred partners. They recognized that a managed service which breaks vendor lock in and gives them best in class offerings will allow them to engage better with their consumers – at Internet speed, across all devices.

Dare to think differently! 
4K will be synonymous with responsiveness, openness and flexibility in both technology and consumer engagements. Those operators who think outside “the box” will be ones who can turn the challenges into opportunities.

June 2016: Want to know more about going from Risk to Reward with 4K/UHD? Download our latest white paper.

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