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The Tenth Annual Interactive Music Conference
brainstorming graphic

Group Report: Ubiquitous Content Distribution to and within the Home.
Why can’t I view my Living Room DVR content in the Bedroom?

Participants: A.K.A. "SRB"

Gary Johnson; SMSC

Pierre Lemieux; Dolby
Scott McNeese; Philips Dave Mayne; Gibson
Geert Knapen; Philips Facilitator: Van Webster; Webster Communications

Current Situation - The Problem

Content aggregation and distribution within the home is valuable to consumers and can be cost effectively accomplished with existing technologies and standards. We believe the challenge for universal home interoperable connections is commercial rather than technical. Existing content providers, e.g. cable and satellite, have little incentive to relegate control over their systems and enable true interoperability, to the detriment of consumers and content owners alike. The former have limited choice when selecting home equipment and the latter limited choices for distribution of content.

Consumers want to access premium content stored in different rooms on different devices. They want a choice of devices from a range of manufacturers. They want a choice in their content providers.

We live in a content provider-centric entertainment world, based on subscriptions. Content Providers control access to content: provider-specific content; provider-specific equipment; no incentive for interoperability; limited equipment choice; and high switching costs.

Rather than assuming change will occur in current business models, we felt our solution should be an enabler for new content distribution methods. By promoting an open and interoperable internet-based media distribution platform, we establish an entertainment based driver for consumer adoption while enabling CE companies to develop network connected AV components and providing additional distribution flexibility to content owners.

What doesn’t work in a Networked Home?

  • Multiple sources to monitor, too many devices to connect to a single monitor
  • Multiple switching to achieve a single configuration
    • Example – to watch a source, a user has to switch on the monitor, the source and the amplifier then switch to appropriate source (need an audio/video switch)
  • Every room requires a separate set top box (STB) to access content
  • Not easy to share content between devices within room or between rooms
  • Content is locally stored, no visible index or access of content device to device
    • Example – can’t share content between TiVo in Living Room and RePlay in Bed Room

User Requirements for a Useful Networked Home:

  • Single means to connect multiple devices together
  • Device Interoperability
  • Multi-room content access (both push and pull)
  • Self configuration of devices as added to system
  • Must have bandwidth to handle present and future worst case operations
  • Installation & operation must be consumer friendly

Why hasn’t this approach been adopted yet?

  • Corporate desires to control customer through closed system
  • Content owner restrictions
    • Example – Networked TiVo’s only work with standalone devices, not integrated DirecTV versions.
  • Lack of consumer demand, lack of knowing what could be, current CE devices don’t interact, consumer tolerance of current solutions
  • Cross industry competition – PC vs. CE
  • Content providers closely guard access and control of their customers, $ per subscriber!
  • Lack of “true” broadband Internet service in the US. 10Mbps is not enough for high quality video on demand.

The Solution

We propose an open, standard’s based system for sharing of premium content within the home environment. Open and interoperable content distribution and access system: Media format agnostic; Content protection; and IP-based. Such a system provides choice of devices and content providers for consumer while providing more control of the distribution channel for content owners. This solution is good for the consumer and good for the content owners. Such a new distribution model enables more flexible access to premium content to the home and within the home.

Proposed Solution:

  • Internet based central control server based on open standards
  • Provide customer access to content directly from content creators or Internet-based content aggregators
  • Removes control point from content providers (cable, satellite)
  • Allows new business models for access to premium content on demand
  • Replacing TV Guide with a content search engine
    • Example: download movies from MovieLink
  • Create a STB similar to Moxitm open standards based with IPTV delivery of content
  • Emerging open content protection systems provides content protection for premium content while providing open sharing of content within the home network
  • Controlled open system, the manufacturer can control the addition of features, such as iTunes music service

Standards Requirements:

  • Devices need to self enumerate to describe capabilities and limitations to other devices
  • Bi-directional communications
  • Communication basically the same over wireline and wireless

How can we convince content providers to provide whole house content access between devices?
What is the value-add to content providers to provide consumer access to distributed content within the home?

  • Content Providers could provide a closed “PC” (such that the user can’t load 3rd party applications) that allows access to personal content
  • Content Providers still controls content access conduit to the home (IPTV access can’t be controlled by Content Providers anyway)
  • Content Providers can provide the home presentation of content (single provider’s look and feel)
  • User’s would flock to such provider’s
  • Moxi™ from Digeo is the first to test this idea with Charter Cable Systems

There is no Content Providers value to open access, so we must recommend an open Internet-based Solution to create new business opportunities

Create a reference design solution based on the above criteria.

section 7

next section

select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Using a Multiplicity of Audio Devices in the Home PC
5. New Approaches for Developing Interactive Audio Production Systems
6. Design Features of a Mass Market Living Room PC
7. Ubiquitous Content Distribution to and within the Home
8. Improving Computer Audio and Music Production Systems User Interfaces
9. Disrupting the Current Paradigm of How Audio is Viewed and Used
10. Schedule & Sponsors