Introducing An Abstraction Layer To Control The User Experience, Apps And Integrate Content On All Screens (2015)

By Albert Dahan, Founder and CTO, Metrological

Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are facing increasing complexity as they seek to deliver pay-TV services, over-the-top (OTT) content, widgets, and third party applications that are integrated into a single experience and accessible across a growing number of devices. MVPDs want to accomplish this with the ability to instantly control the user interface (UI) and user experience across devices. The challenge is that each device behaves differently and requires devicespecific solutions if MVPDs decide to solve this natively. A unified approach that enables MVPDs to simultaneously introduce new services and applications across devices is needed to simplify the process and reduce operational expenditures.

Resolving this issue demands a controversial approach. Rather than continuing to develop big, closed, monolithic software solutions, MVPDs can now use small, modular software components that connect new web-based and open source technologies with existing legacy ecosystems, to avoid being locked into proprietary systems. One way to resolve this issue is to use an abstraction layer that separates the MVPD backend, device specific middleware and operating system from the user interface, presentation and navigation layers on each device. This abstraction layer or framework should operate independently from the device and have its own mechanism in place to manage services and applications (apps) in real-time within the framework. This framework should also be able to support features that bridge the gap separating live TV and OTT content from features such as contextual apps and widgets, and merge all content on to one screen.

This paper will outline how to implement a managed framework approach that uses the browser as a generic integration point to run and control the user interface, apps and client services across connected devices. It will discuss how a cloud-based framework can be optimized and accelerated within a specific MVPD ecosystem and applicable set-top box (STB)/browser configuration to improve the user experience and minimize CPU and memory usage of the end device. Apps only need to be developed once to run on all devices and can be developed by anyone using an open Software Development Kit (SDK). This enables MVPDs and content providers to control their services and user experience in real-time, reduce costs, and rapidly introduce new apps and services.

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