We are in a world where people want their content anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Implementing such a strategy requires that we address the latency issue that plagues over the top (OTT) streaming services today. Fortunately for broadcasters, with the advent of ATSC 3.0, there are tools that could allow broadcasters to preposition content into the home to dramatically reduce access time for viewers.
Live content delivered over-the-air (OTA) naturally has minimal latency issues, but the same can’t be said for the plethora of on-demand content that broadcasters make available. Leveraging ATSC 3.0, on-demand content will be delivered using the non-real time (NRT) transport protocol (i.e., over the air), or via a broadband Internet connection, or some combination of both.
So, in practice, how does this really work? Let us say the TV station prepositions all the news for the day into a local cache at the viewer’s home TV via NRT and broadband. When viewers turn on their TV to watch the news, not only they would have access to a station’s live news programming, but also instant access to all the station’s cached content on their devices. In fact, the viewer would not be able to tell the difference between live and cached content. To make this design work, broadcasters would need to create a workflow that includes an application deployed in receivers to manage pre-positioning of cached content. For example, content that is no longer relevant would need to be removed and replaced with new content.
Of course, delivery is not the only challenge with pre-positioning of content. There are other important issues, such as rights and security that we need to consider, and those will be great topics for future blogs. However, one thing fundamental to caching content is the ability to store it in the viewer’s home. There are many ways to get storage into homes now, but perhaps the most logical path to ensuring that broadcasters have access to robust and reliable local user storage is to include additional memory in Next Gen TV receivers. Such memory would also improve the general capability and performance of those receivers, and therefore increase their perceived value to users. This element of Next Gen TV therefore provides an opportunity to develop a win-win solution for all parties: broadcasters, manufacturers and consumers.