Streaming OTT TV Apps as Virtual Channels (2016)

By Moiz Lokhandwala, Time Warner Cable

Over the last few years we have seen the transition of TV from channels to content. There is no limit to the media content found on the internet, this content is either free or fee based depending on the content provider. All the Media OTT services are accessed via 3rd party platforms, such as Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and the list goes on. These Media OTT apps also provide services to watch movies or TV shows or even Live TV. This App model is good when you have 1 or 2 apps to watch, but if the content which the subscriber enjoys is spread across multiple Apps than it becomes frustrating for him to switch between the Apps and is not at all user friendly. The content switching between the Apps needs to be as easy as switching Live TV channels. A new approach on how the OTT apps can be as user friendly as Live TV is needed across all 3rd party platforms.

The approach to resolve the issues is to get single sign in to all OTT Apps and bring the content across different Apps to the same screen. The idea would be to develop a common framework which interacts with different Apps and pass this information as live content and can be appended as Virtual channels to the existing framework of the Set Top Box (STB).

As more Apps are being used by customers, different login credentials across different Apps become tedious and time consuming. This issue also needs to be resolved by means of saving the customer profile and sharing it across different Apps.

This paper highlights some of the challenges for OTT TV Apps and also some ideas on the possible solutions. The OTT Apps have the content and now they need a common frame work to make the App more user friendly across different platforms. Also the paper outlines on how the common framework approach can be utilized across different devices to get a more generic user interface and user friendly Live TV experience.

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