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Adoption of Virtualization and cloud by TV industry


A generational shift is accelerating the consumption of digital TV, whether at home or on the go. This digitalization enables broadcasters to provide a long list of content so that a library called “all films ever made” could soon be reality. Innovation in format and devices and an appetite for new TV watching experiences through network-based personal video recorders (nPVR) imply that CSPs have to transmit additional exabytes of data traffic over their networks, while sustaining quality of service and experience. To keep the pace of customer expectations, all the players in this market—content producers, broadcasters, and CSPs—need to establish new partnerships, exploring the new capabilities that cloud solutions and virtualization offer in the media market segment.


While stakeholder such as OTT players and broadcasters focus on cloud storage, CSPs will have to find efficient solutions to deliver content over a virtualized infrastructure.


Nowadays, the main uses of virtualization are in content production, video transcoding, nPVR and vCDN that are leveraging new disruptive technologies, such as NFV.


To step up adoption by the TV industry the different actors need to:

  • Ensure content delivered to all devices, in all formats, and with a high quality of experience for the viewer
  • Improve the average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce the churn by offering freemium services, such as a network personal video recorder, and offer-customized content to lock in the viewer
  • Become more agilie in testing new ways to monetize content and business models, with a fail-early, fail-fast approach and without committing to an upfront cash outflow
  • Optimize the monetization of online advertising by increasing the inventory and tailoring advertising to the viewer
  • Ensure full scalability while rationalizing the organization, processes, and IT infrastructures in a new context in which hundreds of virtual machines and software need to be configured/maintained


The target architecture objective is designed to balance the adoption of solutions that enable increased storage capabilities, within the limitation of the network capacity. The performance required for acquisition, elaboration, and transmission of huge amounts of data with low-latency and high network speed, are enabled by the software layer.


A virtual infrastructure can be easily scaled across multiple servers in a cluster that shares virtual resources on all physical nodes, without additional management software required.


This next-generation infrastructure is the result of storage, network functions, and computing virtualization.

By adopting a service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach and cloud technologies in the production process, it is possible to decouple operations from dedicated applications and infrastructures. This enables content sharing across the company´s ecosystem and including partners.

Software-defined, video-processing platforms optimizing transcoding and caching are available for deployment on-premises or in the cloud. Virtual machines may offer a modular, pluggable, and extensible architecture for video transcoding. This mechanism optimizes media experiences via adaptive bitrate streaming for delivery to TVs, PCs, and mobile devices.

As content is accessed from multiple devices, recording has to occur on all devices too. A seamless experience across all screens and devices is necessary. To work properly, packaging has to happen on demand on all servers. In the case of cloud DVR, the technology needs to be able to package programs in real time into the appropriate protocol only when viewers on a specific device request that content.

The demand for a high level of flexibility in managing consumption peaks in the distribution network can be solved by a virtual CDN. It has all the functionality of the traditional CDN. With the NFV architecture, it can also reduce cost and increase elasticity. This solution can dynamically scale to fulfill end user demand.

A common NFV infrastructure can host multiple vCDN technologies that can coexist, enabling the content to select the preferred CDN technology without conflicts. The CDN distribution strategy is becoming a hot topic in clients’ overall IT strategies. They need to select between owning a CDN, a CDN in the cloud, or opting for the new disruptive technology of virtual content delivery networks.

The proliferation of mobile, as well as machine–to-machine devices, has created a heterogeneous ecosystem of devices running on different architectures, not all certified. The key is to secure the edge of the network and the cloud. Regarding piracy, nPVR can ensure more control than set-top boxes as the file can be digitally protected and is not resident on a physical device. In terms of reliability, the viewer expects the content, to be stored correctly or it will generate a negative user experience. Finally, as not all devices support all DRMs, there is an increasing need to adapt digital rights instantaneously.


Without a clear adoption strategy, transformation can be costly, which affects the overall return on investment. To minimize the risk and achieve tangible results, the suggestion is to use a two-step approach in the virtualization journey. The first step consists of transforming the edge of the network. The second involves orchestrating the virtualized network functions through an NFV director.


To get a deeper understanding read the TV Virtualization research.

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About the Author


I am working on business process consulting. My interests are in telecommunications space with a special focus on media market. I coordinate knowledge management activities and thought-leadership programs

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