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Verizon makes a play to carry video content to any device on the planet

Verizon strikes first in adapting fixed network to carry internet video


Published: 14 April, 2011

READ MORE: Verizon Communications | Fixed-line

We were a little taken aback when fairly bland stories about Verizon's attack on the digital media space hit the news pages this week. A company the size of Verizon, and with its potential network reach, is setting out to revolutionize this space, which is likely to trigger a global network response from telcos everywhere, trying to follow suit in their own territory.

Verizon has lined up best of breed technology suppliers including Technicolor for content creation and post production know how, Motorola for media transformation and digital workflow, Alcatel-Lucent for content delivery and unicast adaptive streaming and Hewlett-Packard for high end ProLiant servers.

What this will create is the ability, for anyone with content rights, to create a Netflix overnight. Instead of needing an application to be written for each and every device before Netflix can play, this service will take content delivery and make it a cloud application, likely to only need a browser in order to play the content.

The company says that it has multiple backbone lines across the globe delivering video at between 40Gbps and 100 Gbps for this service.

We said a few weeks back, reporting from the IPTV World Forum in London, that wholesale CDNs were going to be all the rage, and that many of the suppliers there were targeting the space - well Verizon has gone one better, and brought 3 years of effort, the involvement of hundreds of employees and what by Telco standards is a meager budgeted spend of $370 million to bear on something more than a CDN. This is an all singing, all dancing management suite and network which will change media distribution on the internet and in the process attract the major TV broadcasters, and even some of Verizon's rivals, into putting more and more assets onto the internet, in more and more places.

Right now the US national broadcast networks - Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC - all build their own major web portals, but their content could be distributed through many hundreds of partners on the web, except for one thing - once that content is out of their hands, how do they know that it won't be stolen, pirated, and generally used, but not paid for, in any number of ways.

One answer to that has been the creation of specialized services such as Hulu and Hulu Plus, by Broadcast Network owners, which keeps such content under the networks direct control - but eventually they would love this to be like physical DVDs - with inventory controlled and yet distributed widely, not only around the US, but around the world, to thousands of retailers, with delivery and transcoding and encryption all taken care of and delivered as unicast streams to consumers on any device imaginable. A sophisticated management system for such an undertaking is a must, given the complex content distribution rights they each have for their content.

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