A large focus of the Cable Show has been on the movement toward IP service delivery. Many believe that IP is the future of the cable industry, but there are very important technical details that create challenges for the transition.
IP based cable service would result in much more efficient delivery of a wide range of content for cable providers. Content would be transmitted by being broken down into bits and transferred over the Internet.
The problem with the conversion into bits is that there doesn’t appear to be a simple way to effectively identify which bits represent which content. Some of these issues were brought up in my recent post recounting some of Mark Cuban’s thoughts on the TV-over-Internet movement. It would be great if we could enjoy the speed and efficiency of IP-based services, but the trick is to offer these services in a way that doesn’t result in the viewer have to scour the Internet for them. That's why the current video platform provided by cable operators is so effective -- it manages the video product in a way that it was designed to be consumed -- efficient and well organized. IP video over the internet is a bit like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It will take some work to make it fit, but once it does, it offers a great advancement in TV viewing options which cable operators will be perfectly positioned to deliver.
Proposals to address these issues are being are being discussed here at the Cable Show. A couple examples of proposed resolutions are metadata cell encoding to help identify the bits and the creation of a central database of the IP-based content.