As a family, mine is very fond of Netflix. We found that living outside of the city limits also meant limits to television options. But we’re not limited on fiber and therefore streaming our favorite shows is simple. Our latest find – Stranger Things, a Netflix original set in 1983 that is a draw for my husband and I initially because it’s like pulling us back to childhood – rotary phones and all.
Surprisingly, this show gets the details right when it pulls in communication tools, from the rotary phones to the walkie talkies to the ham radio. Of course, there’s also a lot of wires and rabbit ears on the televisions. Taking a look around today and we’ve come a long way in the world of web-scale networking to gain access to communications and entertainment.
A recent MultiChannel News blog highlights the pressure cable MSOs are under to offer competitively priced services while also enhancing the quality of experience. Cable companies are watching linear video give way to on demand programming. At the same time, they are trying to meet the demand for fast and reliable Internet service. Ironically, this demand is the same thing that led to the decline of their video revenue stream in an effort to pave the way for over-the-top (OTT) service providers like Hulu (News - Alert), Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Given the popularity of these channels, they aren’t going away anytime soon. Therefore, cable companies have to provide a greater experience in order to stay ahead of what is sure to be the future of television. It does help that there are certain channels that have strategized their programming in such a way that you have to have cable to gain access to the first episode of the next season of The Walking Dead on AMC, for instance. But there are plenty of fans like us that simply wait a day and watch it on Amazon Prime.
That puts even more pressure on cable companies to take advantage of web-scale networking and other advances in order to create the optimal experience. One way they can set themselves apart is to adopt virtualization technologies and trends, such as Head Ends Re-Architected as a Data Center (HERD), the adaptation of the telco Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center (CORD) initiative specifically for this market. The Fiber Deep evolution will also play a role where fiber is being pushed closer and closer to the end user to provide better service.
To better compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, cable companies will need to look very different by 2020. That may include decoupling programming packages or aggregating OTT packages. The point is they must focus on their architecture to deliver a better experience if they hope to differentiate themselves in the future as a service consumers will still want and need.