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Imagine Report Sees Momentum on Move to Unified Distribution

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Broadcasters still have reservations about moving to a unified HTTP distribution system, but thanks to a new report from Imagine Communications one executive sees positive movement in the area. The Focus Forward 2017 trends report released today by the global video infrastructure company looks at broadcasters and service operators moving from parallel video delivery and ad insertion networks to a unified system that allows them to serve all viewers through a single software-based HTTP network using adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology. The report notes that HTTP-to-UDP gateways, which are set at the edge of networks to convert fragment-based video into transport stream-compatible signals for set-top boxes, make this transition a possibility.

Imagine surveyed media professionals to ask them about obstacles in adopting a unified strategy, and found three major concerns: 47 percent don't trust the performance and reliability of HTTP-based networks, 46 percent see upgrade costs as too high, and 45 percent say they need to maintain connections to current customers on set-top boxes. This last group, the report notes, could be helped with HTTP-to-UDP gateway solutions.

Despite the concerns, Imagine sees momentum among multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) and other content distributors.

"The idea that content distributors can significantly reduce capital and operational costs and increase flexibility by moving video delivery and ad insertion to a fragment-based network that uses ABR technology is relatively new and we’re encouraged by the number of survey takers who appear to be considering the merits of a unified distribution architecture," notes Yuval Fisher, CTO for MVPD at Imagine. "Even more interestingly, broadcasters also seem to be embracing unified distribution. For them, it’s about removing operational silos as they address both MVPD distribution points and direct-to-consumer OTT distribution.”

The survey questioned 400 media and entertainment professionals. For more results, download the full report for free (registration required).

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