TV Everywhere is everywhere at CommTech Kelowna

You didn’t have to look far to find TV Everywhere references at the Kelowna stop of the Canadian CommTech Show. No less than seven of the Day 1 break-out sessions were themed around the challenges of TV Everywhere in one way or another.

Engineers from EXFO geeked it up on the subject of IPTV services testing first thing Wednesday morning (try staying sharp in that preso before your first caffeine blast of the day, I dare ya’) and JDSU Sr. Product Line Manager Joe Gomez‘ talk on next generation optical transport networks was pretty much built around the challenge of how the tech world will service the growing demands for broadband by the broadcast TV, video-on-demand and mobile web space.

I caught a real nice preso by Yuval Fisher, CTO of Sunnyvale’s rgb NETWORKS. Yuval’s command of plain English and occasional mis-guided hockey reference – “That’s big up here, right?” – made for an effective and engaging presentation on HTTP Adaptive Streaming for TV Everywhere, wherein Yuval broke down in laymen-esuqe terms the relative merits of the HLS (Apple), HDS and SSS (aka Silverlight) streaming formats.

Of the key points of comparison Yuval listed, the ability to insert ads and service closed captioning loom large as business-side considerations, IMO. If content distribution serves to advance the goals of business (and it does) then the ability to easily and intelligently monetize content through ad insertion has to be front-of-mind for dollars-and-cents decision makers — in Yuval’s view of the world, HLS and SSS come out the clear winners on go-to-market ad readiness.

Rob McCann, president of the GTA’s Clearcable Networks gave a great little talk entitled TV Everywhere: Threat or Opportunity? that looked at the world form a cable companies’ perspective. In Rob’s view, the ability for cable operators to address the threat/opportunity of TV Everywhere comes down to a blend of innovative products, content distribution fluidity and the prevailing regulatory environment.

It seems that many of the same cable cos. that feared over-the-top content distribution just a couple years ago have now wrapped their heads around the idea and are now embracing the concept of alternative distribution and monetization models, proving old dogs can learn new tricks.

Rob also noted one of the discussions Clearcable will often get into with cable BoD types centres around potential methods for caching content somewhere near the user to drive down delivery costs and provide a better user experience. How about caching the user’s content on their device of choice for as long as they need it? Can’t get much closer than that.

After the Clearcable preso, I bumped into Michael Casciano, president of another GTA TV Everywhere player, CueContent. Mike and I had a good chin-wag about the direction of localized and personalized content and I got a quick overview of CueContent’s ComCHAN platform.

In a nut-shell, the ComCHAN Converged Media platform takes traditional community TV content and puts it on any screen, delivering an easy and effective solution for community-level TV providers to get in the TV Everywhere game. The platform also provides a slew of options for hypertext, tagging and social media tools to really bump-up the whole community-building value proposition. In Mike’s words:

“What we’re hearing from providers is the belief that a clear way to differentiate from Netflix and other emerging forces is for cable and telco providers to enable an easily accessible way for both consumers and advertisers to offer up local content that drives a tie-back to local community and reaches across all screens.”

‘Nuff said.