According to Value Partners, a managing consultancy firm in the Middle East specialising in media and telco trends, the continued growth in video on demand (VoD) in the Middle East delivered over the Internet is inevitable as consumers are increasingly expected to control their viewing.
Value Partners suggests that growth in demand for VoD calls for a coalition of infrastructure providers, broadcasters and regulators, to examine the ability of the Middle East’s broadband networks to deliver VoD with the quality of service required to satisfy consumers. Traditional Telcos acting as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and content/application providers need to adapt their technical and business models to meet future consumer demands, and the role of future net neutrality legislation in shaping this quality of service required to satisfy consumers of VoD.
“As more online video services are launched and Internet VoD moves to the TV, audiences in the Middle East increasingly expect internet VoD to match the reliability of broadcast TV,” said Santino Saguto, Partner, Value Partners.
“VoD is the most technically challenging of all services to deliver with guaranteed QoS. Today, to stream standard definition (SD) video without interruptions requires a consistent speed of around 1.5 Mbps for the duration of the video. This is more demanding than other applications such as surfing and email, which are bursty and less time critical; or internet telephony which requires lower bandwidth.”
Over the next few years, Value Partners expects that compression technology will reduce the speed required to deliver SD quality internet VoD. In conjunction, infrastructure upgrades will increase the speeds achievable by homes in the Middle East.
“Over time, improvements in compression, buffering, and use of progressive download technologies in the Middle East will reduce the speeds required and allow for short fluctuations in speed during streaming,” continued Saguto. “Internet VoD is likely to remain the most extreme test of the network infrastructure’s ability to deliver consumers guaranteed QoS services.”