Rovi Shareholder revolts

Rovi’s trouble is not over. After loosing 10 lawsuits against Virgin and some against Ziggo (and recently a preliminairy one against Netflix) in attempts to solidify their patent position in EPGs one of their larger shareholders (Engaged Capital) is saying it has to end. And they have had to propose alternative candidates to the board of director and succeeded in removing the sitting chairman.

As clearly outlined by their call to gain votes from the shareholders Rovi has not been doing well, and it seems it is no longer gaining any new ground (and even loosing ground it thought it had). See this new article from Engaged Capital (keeping in mind this company has a large stake in the future value of Rovi).
Source: Activist shareholders oust Rovi chairman

Posted in IPR

UHD: Playready 3.0 requires hardware

UHD is requiring better content protection technologies. Though protecting content in bilions of consumer devices will remain an almost impossible challenge new technologies try to do the best possible.

The current windows10 Playready3.0 will require hardware protection for all critical functions as the slide below shows:

  • fully protected content decoding./presentation path
  • root of trust & device binding
  • Crucial license & content key processing

The article in PCworld claims it may be too late for Microsoft top save the PC as playback device. Indeed: they may be right. But Playready also has a huge footprint in the online distribution and streaming space. Microsoft should take that interest seriously or risk loosing UHD there.

Playready3.0HWThe slide above clearly show the current trend in new protection architectures with more TEE and hardware technologies replacing software. It will be more difficult to break, but with the added risk that once broken it will be impossible to repair.

All about PlayReady 3.0, Microsoft’s secret plan to lock down 4K movies to your PC | PCWorld.

TV 2020 in the networked society

A nice video interview on NscreenMedia with Simon Frost, Head of Communications Marketing for Ericsson about what TV will be like in 2020 as a summary of a panel discussion at NAB2015.

Some interesting remarks:

  • In 2020 50% of video will be on demand, 50% linear ( I believe this)
  • 55% of traffic in mobile networks will be video (I do not believe this: I am a bear on mobile video)
  • Content aggregation in this new on-demand age is the key challenge. Large players will challenge todays TV providers. Counter this is the trend to content providers seeking independence towards the viewer.

nScreenNoise – TV 2020 in the networked societynScreenMedia.

BBC moves to internet by 2025

Herewith an interesting blog by Matthew Postgate, CTO of BBC. Internet will be increasingly in the focus for BBC as a distribution medium.

I had the opportunity to be on a pannel with the head of BBC R&D 8 years ago. I suggested internet distribution might replace broadcasting by 2025. “there shall always be broadcasting” was the counterargument. Maybe less so now.


BBC Blogs – About the BBC – Engineering a more flexible and efficient BBC for the future.

Posted in OTT

Video codec with 2x the performance of HEVC?

A private company from the UK called V-nova claims to have developed a new codec called PERSEUS that is at least twice as efficient as HEVC. It is licensing the codec, similarly as with other codecs. The article from Videonet provides more information.

v-nova-logo-blue.1781268It will take some time to verify if the claims hold up; the first demo’s are quite convincing. Keep in mind HEVC compression today is not mature yet: there is a lot of improvement possible. So a side by side comparison now is not a “full story”. Nevertheless: if the codec performs significantly better today than HEVC will do in the foreseable future it may make serious impact in the industry. A factor 2 bandwidth gain is worth billions in the fast growing OTT industry for example.

An intrinsic property of the codec is that it seems to be “hierarchical”; a property often aspired to but never deployed. Practical value is low – the bold statement and comparisons presented from the hierarchical advantage perspective by V-Nova degrade confidence.

Stealth compression company claims mind-blowing performance gains | VideoNet.

Update: April 10, 2015

V-net has gathered opinions from the industry. Key issues for PERSEUS to overcome:

  1. Proving the claim of 2x+ compression gain holds up under a broad set of content inputs and compression rates
  2. Gaining traction with consumer decoder silicon manufacturers in firmware/hardware.
  3. Ensure the third party patent situation is clarified: the compression field is littered with patents; lawsuits may come to V-Nova and their customers if PERSEUS implementations violate those patents.

In view of the problems of (2) and (3) broad consumer product implementation will take quite a while even if the compression rates prove to be robust.

Here is new the Videonet article link.