Churning out video using IP technology requires some new processes and equipment in the engine room. Some of the technology drives bandwidth efficiency and cost-savings, while new advanced advertising capabilities promise to be major moneymakers.

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All-digital Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)


Before cable can embrace all-IP video delivery, cable systems must go all-digital by converting their analog channels (usually basic cable) to digital by using MPEG2 compression and QAM modulation. Cable providers are well on their way to going all-digital through several strategies. One way is to give customers tiny digital terminal adapter (DTA) devices that enable viewing of digital channels on an analog TV set. Another technology is switched digital video (SDV), which funnels through currently viewed channels in digital. Still another way is to expand cable bandwidth from the average level of 750 MHz to 860 MHz or 1 GHz.      

As cable moves from all-digital to all-IP, the traditional cable headend is transforming into a data center, in which all content is handled in IP formats. Some cable providers already refer to their headends as data centers. The data center of tomorrow promises to be an intelligent network that handles video, voice and data and closely monitors network performance to maintain a high quality of experience (QoE).

Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP)

For years, a traditional headend has included racks and racks of two types of equipment: edge QAM devices that process digital video, and CMTS (cable modem termination system) equipment to handle broadband Internet services. Now these two functions are being combined into one piece of equipment called the converged cable access platform (CCAP, pronounced as the letter C plus “cap”). While CCAP is rooted in hardware, efforts are underway to combine some video and data delivery capabilities virtually through software, referred to as vCCAP.

CCAP equipment can increase delivery capacity while saving money on floor space and electrical power. It’s another way in which the technologies, operations and company cultures behind video and Internet are converging.

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Cable’s advanced capabilities provide new opportunities for advertising, including dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in on-demand programs. The commercial slots in on-demand episodes of network TV shows provide a fertile ground for fresh commercials. Using DAI solutions, programmers can drop in ads and get measurement data in return, including ratings that go beyond the C3 window (which includes viewing of recorded shows three days after they originally air).  

An accompanying initiative, On Demand Commercial Ratings (ODCR), would enable measurement credit for all past TV episodes when viewers go on a binge of catch-up viewing on-demand. Canoe Ventures, backed by Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, spearheads DAI efforts, starting with insertion on digital VOD and expanding into IP video. Meanwhile, other advanced advertising opportunities continue to rise, including targeted and addressable advertising and programmatic technologies to automate ad buying processes.

Find out more: Canoe Ventures 

The CMO's Guide to Programmatic Buying, by Ad Age



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