TV Everywhere Hasn't Reached 'Nirvana' Yet: Panel

TV Everywhere may be making technological strides, but some of the industry's content distribution leaders say the service is a long way from reaching "multiscreen nirvana."

"It does introduce the concept of a traveling bookmark," said Mark Gathen, director of video production management for Cox Communications. "But then you have to take that bookmark, transcode it based on the device [as well as for] the next device in line that you're asking for."

Gathen was joined by Avail-TVN CTO Mike Kazmier, Motorola Next-Generation Video Solutions director Bob Scheffler and SeaChange International vice president, office of the CTO Sherry Warburton to discuss the key technology hurdles and business implications of TV Everywhere during a panel entitled "Technology: Blueprint for Multiscreen Nirvana" at B&C/Multichannel News' "TV Everywhere & Anywhere" event in Los Angeles Sept. 22.

Moderator Todd Spangler, technology editor for Multichannel News, presented the panel with a TV Everywhere "wish list" that included "high quality," "ubiquitous access" and "persistent authentication" among its demands.

Kazmier said that while the technology is capable of delivering a high-quality experience, TV Everywhere's challenges are less about its high-tech presentation and more about content providers becoming comfortable with this model as a business.

"I think it's a misnomer to lump over-the-top delivery in with TV Everywhere." Kazmier explained. "It's really the regulatory and business aspects of people getting comfortable with the entire ecosystem: How does reporting take effect? How does settlement happen? How do you detect theft if it does occur?"

TV Everywhere's other great challenge is restructuring its system to manage the content on the various digital platforms that exist.

"The old legacy systems weren't designed for this purpose," said Warburton. "They have to be redesigned, extended, modified. It's all about flexibility right now, we don't know what's coming up."

Scheffler said that while there is tremendous value when the lines between televised and online content become blurred, there is also great risk.

"We have to be careful not to blow up the world as we know it today. How do you augment the [traditional] experience for viewers who like to lean back and watch TV but yet give something interesting to a much younger generation [who are] used to engaging, interactive, immersive experiences?" Scheffler said. "The key to all of this is the service delivery platform. What's the platform that allows you to quickly innovate at the Internet pace, not at the old broadcast pace? I think those [questions] are key to TV Everywhere's [success] as well for any other emergent service."