The launch of new streaming services and content, as well as speculated deals between cable programmers and streaming services, have made headlines the last couple months. Coming on the heels of I ntel, Microsoft and Google‘s OTT moves, Sony reportedly inked deals with Viacom to stream cable channels on its platform, potentially the PlayStation 4 gaming console. The consumer electronics vendor has also met with other content providers like Time Warner and Disney, according to reports.
Meanwhile, Azuki Systems recently integrated its Azuki Media Platform into LG Electronics ‘ "Android Stick" IP-enabled set-top that uses the new 802.11ac standard. That allows for more than 1Gbps wireless data speeds, especially suited for HD. The integration of Azuki’s platform into the LG Android Stick enables TV Everywhere services, including time-shifted linear TV, network DVR and transactional VOD. LG’s interest in IP-enabled video services isn’t new: Vendors like Cisco demonstrated platforms on LG equipment at the Cable Show while TV tech firm Entone has teamed up with LG to offer a streaming media player dubbed LG SP530. The device integrates LG’s Netcast media streaming platform with Entone’s FusionTV software, capable of mixing OTT services with over-the-air or operator-branded pay TV services. And following Google’s Chromecast launch, one developer released AirCast, an app that allows users to cast local content from various applications, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, to the TV screen.
Whether it’s Microsoft’s Xbox 1, Intel’s upcoming Intel Media streaming service, or attempts from companies like LG to offer IP video delivery options to MSOs, it sure feels like the golden age of IP-based video is arriving, if a recent study by Park Associates is any indication. The study found the number of US broadband households with a streaming video media device, such as Roku or an Apple TV, has doubled since ’11, reaching 14% this year. The research firm expects the number of connected TV devices sold worldwide to reach 330mln annually by ’17, doubling the number to be sold this year. Media streaming devices will "have a thriving market because they can offer innovations such as streaming video at low prices," research dir Barbara Kraus said. The booming of IP video will put even more emphasis on broadband. Perhaps that’s why analysts like Craig Moffett with Moffett Research called usage-based pricing the real race.