The Revolution Will Be Televised: Asia’s Quick March to a Digital Future

Asia is in the midst of a digital transformation. Across the continent, Asian service providers are leading the way for some of the most advanced home entertainment experiences in the world. But what’s even more exciting are the incredible advances they’re making to bring these experiences to billions of consumers.

Service providers in many countries in Asia are leapfrogging entire technology generations. In some emerging markets, for example, broadband providers are going straight from dial-up to fiber broadband, while video providers are transitioning from analog to digital MPEG-4, completely bypassing MPEG-2 in the process.

These broad deployments of next-generation technology have a number of advantages. From a business perspective, they’re enabling local providers to unleash top-of-the-line services that are heads and shoulders above the competition’s offerings. And for consumers, it means that the future will arrive sooner—with faster speeds, smarter devices, and the latest entertainment coming on the heels of these cutting-edge deployments.

Even in areas without ‘straight to tomorrow’ trajectories, local providers are upgrading networks and technology at a pace that exceeds much of the world. It reflects the fact that Asia, as a market, is more competitive than ever before.

Among the biggest growth trends in Asia is the digitization of cable networks, fueled in large part by government mandates for nationwide infrastructure advancements. The resulting leaps in technology generations are changing the way that Asian providers introduce new services like network DVR. For example, in China, where few have ever owned a VCR, there is no interest in hitting the record button to watch something later. Chinese consumers expect providers to offer all shows—past and past—whenever they want them.

Asian providers are anticipating these new experiences as well as idiosyncratic expectations of their local consumers using a combination of technology and market insight. Content consumption across wireless networks is huge in Asia, as is multiscreen. In addition to investing in new network technology to handle the inevitable shift to multi-gigabit broadband, providers are also racing to ensure that there’s enough Wi-Fi coverage throughout consumers’ homes to take advantage of those speeds and power tomorrow’s TV in every room.

According to the ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index 2015, consumers in Asia-Pacific experience challenges when it comes to WiFi:  four out of every five Chinese consumers reported issues with their Wi-Fi. Add that to the nearly three-quarters of respondents who indicated that they want high-speed Internet in every room, and quickly the notion of generation-hopping both network infrastructure and home networking technology begins to make sense.

Whether it’s deploying network extenders, the latest DOCSIS devices, or laying fiber and shifting to all-IP networks, Asian service providers are setting a global example for the introduction of tomorrow’s entertainment. And very soon, Asian consumers will be the ones enjoying the fruits of falling technology prices, highly competitive markets, government incentives, and forward-looking service providers. The TV revolution in Asia is alive and very real indeed.

Making DOCSIS® 3.1 a Reality this Year

DOCSIS® 3.1 has long been touted as the technology that will bring Gigabit services to the e6000_heromasses, so that consumers can enjoy faster broadband connections. It’s a technology that a number of service providers are looking to deploy in 2016, and one that ARRIS helped pioneer.

Today, it is exciting to see that DOCSIS 3.1 is becoming a reality. Comcast just announced that it will bring the world’s first DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Internet service to residential and business customers beginning in five US markets in 2016, using existing connections. We are excited to be part of this effort by supporting rollout in four of these markets with our flagship E6000® Converged Edge Router (CER) and a software-only upgrade.

When it comes to DOCSIS, we have a strong track record of pioneering innovation – from our work in developing the standard itself, to our unmatched technical expertise and the DOCSIS-based network deployments we have successfully completed around the world. This puts us in a unique position to bring this technology to market at scale. We recently unveiled new DOCSIS 3.1 modems for operators and retailers that complement our robust DOCSIS 3.1 network portfolio. And our E6000 CER is software-upgradable to DOCSIS 3.1 to help deliver on the full promise of multi-gigabit services to the home.

As more connected devices, streaming video and advanced services make their way into the home, consumers expect nothing less than fast speeds and reliable connections. We expect Gigabit speeds to the home to be the new standard by which broadband service providers will be measured. We are ready to continue working with our customers in 2016 to enable the smooth migration to these next-generation technologies – and provide the best-quality entertainment and communication experience in the home.

Does your TV know you better than your partner?

We’d like to think that we know all there is to know about our better halves—from their favorite color to their least favorite food. But do you know what they like to watch on TV when no one’s around? What their guilty pleasures are?

Your TV does. And if it doesn’t now, it will very soon, as our viewing technology gets better and better.

Among the things that make today’s TV so good is that there are so many options—hundreds and thousands of choices for channels, shows, and movies. Yet with all this choice comes the unique challenge of having to choose what to watch. But if your TV better understood your preferences, you’d no longer have to do any searching. The promise of TV technology is spending less time browsing, and more time enjoying your night in.

This technology is growing increasingly capable, thanks to big data. It can analyze everything from plot lines and actors to genres and ratings, even keywords from closed captioning. And combined with our own viewing history and chosen favorites, it’s making it easier and easier for us to quickly find what to watch.

This Valentine’s Day, you already have to worry about what to wear, what to gift, what to eat, and what to say. If we had our way with TV, at least we wouldn’t have to figure out what to watch.

The thought of data-driven TV technology might not be the most romantic concept, but if it spares you an argument, saves you time, gets you what you want, and lets you sit back and relax… well… if nothing else, it’s a beautiful idea to fall in love with.

The TV App Opportunity

The mobile app market is exploding. Downloads are at an all-time high. Gartner estimates app TV Appsdownloads to rise from 150 billion today to 300 billion by 2017 (doubling in 2 years, and rising five fold in five years) But while their general popularity would seemingly justify most forays from content developers and service providers, our latest research shows that there’s a very specific appeal and challenge to TV-related apps. Investment in developing and delivering these apps— like a second-screen guide experience or multiscreen viewing application—deserves a closer look.

Today, the cost of acquiring and maintaining a mobile app user is $1.34. Which when applied over an existing customer base, could run well into the millions of dollars. Apply that on top of operating and development costs. However, the potential for monetization—through either value-added second-screen and multiscreen services or the merchandising of paid content—makes mobile apps an important roadmap decision for many providers looking to stay ahead of the curve.

New data from a recent ARRIS survey panel revealed that TV apps represent a significant opportunity to tap into consumers’ appetite in mobile applications. But more importantly, we found that the current marketing and discovery model for apps will have to change significantly in order for that to happen.

We saw that the TV app penetration is still very low: nearly two-thirds of respondents had one or no TV-related apps. And engagement was similarly thin—with nearly the same percentage using them once or fewer per week.

At the same time, the data revealed an opportunity that could drive up the return on investment in TV-related apps if properly positioned. We found that TV guide usage was relatively low across the board: 40% don’t use the guide, and fewer than 25% use it on their mobile phone. However, user familiarity with TV guides is high, making them a suitable launch point for App engagement.

The concurrent paucity in TV app and TV guide engagement opens the door for a solution that can address both. The opportunity for providers is seamlessly extending the TV experience to the mobile device—adding more richness to the entertainment experience while building a foundation for monetizing these experiences.

Beyond simply developing the apps themselves, the next step for many providers is providing a pathway for consumers to engage with them. ARRIS’s Whole Home Solution is one way providers can integrate the home entertainment environment with the mobile app environment, allowing consumers to move seamlessly between these complementary experiences.

Find out more about ARRIS Whole Home Solution here and check out the results of our survey here.

Mobile: the next big opportunity for TV service providers?

ARRIS is attending DigiWorld Summit in Montpellier France this week to discuss whether mobile, a device that has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, could be set to revolutionize television in the same way.

As we know TV consumption is rapidly becoming a multiscreen experience, with people increasingly expecting to be able to watch their favorite shows on either their tablets or smartphones. But so far TV on these device has been delivered through catch-up or streaming services – not live broadcast. What if the mobile could do more?

Cornel Ciocirlan, CTO EMEA, will speak on a panel alongside experts including the BBC and France Télévisions, to debate whether established TV services (live broadcasts) can be delivered to mobile devices, and what future technologies are needed to make this a possibility. The panel will also discuss how traditional service providers should view this as an opportunity to grow its audiences. In the future device user-scenarios will evolve, and traditional cable TV models could be disrupted, to include mobile as a true alternative or complement to the tethered first screen.

If you’re attending DigiWorld Summit, Cornel’s panel today, Thursday 20th November, 12:10-13:50. More information about the event can be found here.

ARRIS Announces the Death of OBI, Solving Cable’s Decade-Long Dilemma

Cable operators began using RF over Glass (RFoG) ten years ago to expand their HFC networks with No_OBIFTTH offerings. The primary challenge for RFoG is what is called Optical Beat Interference (OBI)—a chronic performance issue caused by multiple modems communicating at the same time over the same fiber.

OBI has plagued fiber deployments and prevented mass rollouts for the past decade, because it created unpredictable performance, which worsened as providers added more upstream bandwidth to their networks. Despite several attempts to mitigate the problem, OBI persisted, rendering fiber upgrades costly, inefficient and non-scalable. The advent of DOCSIS 3.1 exacerbated the situation, increasing upstream which magnified OBI.

Today, ARRIS unveils AgileMax™, the industry’s only FTTP, RFoG solution that completely eliminates OBI.  The ARRIS AgileMax engine supports split ratios, reaches, and data rates that were previously unachievable, while being completely transparent to xPON solutions. While this alone puts AgileMax in class by itself, it’s further differentiated as CMTS, ONU, and cable modem agnostic—making it the most cost-effective and operationally efficient solution available.

Here’s what John Caezza, President of ARRIS Access Technologies business had to say about it: “We weren’t satisfied with the temporary and operationally complex OBI solutions on the market, so we set out to develop a complete yet simple solution that operators could use to make a seamless transition to DOCSIS 3.1 and PON. ARRIS AgileMax not only delivers on all of those promises, but exceeds the performance of all other RFoG solutions.”

To learn more, stop by SCTE Booth #1764 this Tuesday through Thursday. The ARRIS team would love to answer your questions about AgileMax and talk with you about the company’s complete DOCSIS 3.1 solution, including an industry-leading CMTS/CCAP family.

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