Q&A: Aleksander Sazhyienko about the most demanded technologies for modern Set-Top Boxes
Aleksander Sazhyienko, head of Project Management Dept., Infomir
Could you please describe the state of market and the perspectives for different OTT video devices?
A.S.: Increasing popularity of watching videos on portable devices is one of the main trends of the market. Statistics say that the share of users connected to the Internet via mobile devices is more than 50%.
High-performance Smartphones with screen diagonal suitable for watching video have become affordable. Mobile Internet (3G, LTE and so on) and Wi-Fi are widespread. All that allows almost non-stop content consumption. We used to read books, look through the window, and chat on our way or while waiting. But now everyone is staring at a Smartphone screen.
Still, there is a fundamental reason why portable devices will not replace the TVs. It is the matter of purpose. You can compare TV sets to marathoners and Smartphones and tablets to sprinters. Short videos are often viewed on mobile devices while the long ones are likely to be viewed on wide screens with more comfort.
Comfort, by the way, is a motive of another trend: viewers switch from content consumption on computers to cozy watching on HDTVs, which have become more affordable. It is important today because the audience that used to watch content on computer screen about 5-10 years ago has grown up as well as their comfort demands. This trend has become common due to wide spread of high speed Internet access which allows us to watch high-quality video streams online.
Nevertheless, these tendencies do not lower the relevance of Set-Top Boxes (STB). Price of a TV set several times overcomes the price of STB. That’s why, rushing for new services and quality, user is more likely to buy a new version of Set-Top Box than a new TV. Taking this into account, many OTT services offer their clients STBs on installment plan or for minor price, covering the costs by pre-payment for their services.
When is it necessary to use an individual STB for OTT service instead of media player, Smart TV etc.?
A.S.: An individual Set-Top Box is required if OTT service is:
- local – for example, within a single region or with certain number of providers;
- proposing a huge amount of OTT and TV content in order to meet the needs of modern audience which can’t be satisfied by one broadcasting format only;
- receiving substantial investments, which allow selling STBs for 1$ and compensate the losses during long term by the price of their services.
Which technologies are the most demanded for modern Set-Top Boxes or media players?
A.S.: Today the following technologies are the most important:
• ‘HEVC’ - a video compression format which enables the broadcast of HD content even if the Internet is quite slow. We have implemented this technology in our MAG257, MAG277 and MAG350 Set-Top Boxes.
• ‘Picture in picture’ - a technology which allows viewing several video streams on a single TV screen.
• Integration of TV screen with a portable device. It can be realized in several ways:
- control of STB (our apps AuraHD Remote and MAGic Remote)
- getting extra information about viewed content (Second screen technology and its modifications)
- watching the same content on several devices or an opportunity to put it off and then to continue watching from the same place on another device (Multiscreen technology).