A Tricky OTT Blind Spot — Why Mom shouldn’t Buy 4K, yet

Used to be that video tech was a cool profession. Today, my mom asked me if she should buy a “4G” TV. It feels like she just Friended me on Facebook.

First of all, mom, it’s 4K. Second — unlike 3D hype, 4K will actually arrive — someday. In video, picture quality is always #1, and always will be. (I won’t go into the cognitive science behind that — at least not in this post.) Clearer pictures will ultimately rule the day.

But those of us that have been in the “old school” TV infrastructure biz know that it’ll first arrive on OTT platforms. Which brings me to this post:

Trick play modes. Yes, in legacy VOD environments, it’s true — we have to create multiple versions of a file to “trick” users into thinking that they are Fast-Forward’ing or Rewinding content. But despite the decidedly low-tech workaround, being able to FF and RW smoothly, and, well, “fastly”, is something that we really want — nay, need, if we have kids that disturb our movie viewing every 20 minutes — to be able to do.

Why are so few industry vendors talking about a better trick play experience? Pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding OTT video is just not comparable to a DVR playback user experience. And my educated guess is that 4K is going to make the tech problem even harder to solve. Or, at least, it won’t make it any easier! (If you disagree, please feel free to comment.)

Divx, now owned by Rovi, has HEVC technology that enables a smooth fast-forward and rewind experience. It was demo’d in 2010.

The fact is that trick play is a huge blind spot for OTT and I don’t know what can or should be done about it. And I don’t hear much industry conversation on the topic. But until it is solved, 4K has one more hoop to think about jumping through.

'Trick' play modes are big -- but not much talk about it in OTT these days

‘Trick’ play modes are big — but not much talk about it in OTT these days

About RingDigital.tv

Expert in video tech, TV biz, prototyping, product strategy, marketing & sales.

One Response to “A Tricky OTT Blind Spot — Why Mom shouldn’t Buy 4K, yet”

  1. What scares me isn’t the fact that the industry isn’t yet taking on the practicalities of 4K, but rather, that we are not yet addressing the gaping lack of business model – 4k will cost service providers 4x more to deliver with little to no ability to recoup that added cost with additional revenue. Yes, 4k features like trickplay, which add to the delivery complexity for service providers, will be expected – and again, likely at no premium. The question from me isn’t “can we make it work,” but rather, “can we make it work profitably?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: