High-definition digital TV is next big trend

Technology & Convergence

According to Andy Brauer, Business Connection’s Chief Technology Officer the next big trend will be widespread use of high-definition digital TV (HDTV) sets that have a standard connection that allows internet based TV programmes and other content to be downloaded and watched.

“It will be possible to do everything on HDTV that you can now do on a PC.” This will include downloading movies from Amazon.com and watching internet-based TV channels.

With traditional satellite TV, viewers have to watch programmes according to a schedule or after they have been aired, but with IPTV viewers can download a whole series and watch it when they want to. “First we had convergence of data and voice, and now broadcast is joining this world with TV, radio and video.”

He says it is possible for movie owners to protect their content and control the number of times it is viewed after downloading, and how viewers pay for it, using digital rights management (DRM), which is based on electronic certificates.

The growing demands of multimedia applications on broadband bandwidth is taking its toll on the internet, which is sometimes fast and sometimes slow, and it is impossible to guarantee throughput quality and speed. But the next internet generation will be mostly fibre driven and will enable real-time digital TV broadcast.

This will require tremendous amounts of fibre infrastructure and mechanisms in between that allow for guaranteed bandwidth, says Brauer. He says once movies can be downloaded and watched quickly and easily in real time using high-speed broadband, it could threaten video stores.

Global revenues generated from online video content is expected to reach $4.5bn by 2012 from $1.2bn this year, according to online research company In-stat. This growth will be stimulated by an increase in subscription services such as Netflix, which charges a flat monthly fee to deliver bundled packages of online content that can be viewed on home TV sets. Advertisement-supported video will also start emerging from major TV networks and will be a strong contributor to growth in this market.