The TV Connect conference offered an exciting view of a fully converged future, writes Steve Plunkett

Last week, the annual TV Connect event took its last bow at London’s Olympia before following BVE to Excel next year.

TV Connect provides a different perspective on the industry, with a focus on IPTV and OTT rather than traditional broadcasting.

Many of the familiar broadcast vendors do not attend, focused instead on BVE, NAB and IBC. However, many of the vendors at TV Connect will also be at those other events and this is symptomatic of how IP delivered television (in all of its forms) is becoming mainstream and converging with regular TV.

Many of the themes discussed and presented at the tenth TV Connect, such as multi-platform delivery (TV Anywhere/Everywhere), OTT delivery and devices, efficient and highly scalable encoding, content discovery, data analytics and of course ‘the cloud’, will form a large part of the narrative at NAB next month.

I guess one measure of the mainstream adoption of IPTV and IP delivered television might be the convergence of the events themselves. We no longer see a raft of Digital TV or HD Television events; instead, they are just television as we now know it.

As many of the pay TV operators, IPTV telcos and OTT providers start to look more like ‘regular broadcasters’ - commissioning content, buying rights, creating channels and that sort of stuff - and as those regular broadcasters become OTT providers in return, the underlying technology starts to look increasingly similar, and IP-centric. That is a good thing. 

Some final things of note from the event. Live is the new new. There were lots of products and discussion centred around delivering linear TV to IP devices, but with many of the features of on-demand viewing such as dynamic targeted advertising, rich data collection and so on.

One of the major drawbacks of large scale on-demand IP viewing – the cost and impact of massive duplicated unicast IP streams - could be reversed through more use of multicast delivered linear streams, either for concurrent viewing for local DVR cache population and LTE Broadcast showed how the mobile networks could play a role in that future.

See you all at NAB, where I predict we’ll here much more about multi-platform delivery, ‘IP everywhere’ and the cloud…

Steve Plunkett is chief technology officer of Red Bee Media