5 Unexpected Challenges Going From Traditional DVB To IPTV/OTT Operations

Regularly, we run into companies that experience challenges in operating an IPTV or OTT video delivery network. Challenges that are unexpected when the bulk of your experience up to that point has been with a traditional DVB system. In the following article, we’ll talk about 5 of these challenges. In an upcoming follow-up, we’ll share some insights into facing those challenges. As always, please feel free to comment with any questions, share freely among your network and send us an email if you’d like to talk more.


1. Apple, Android and Everyone Else is Trying to Break Your Apps

One of the biggest challenges companies face when managing IPTV and OTT operations, is keeping pace with soft- and firmware updates.

In DVB systems deployed a mere decade or two ago, the maintenance required was minimal. Operators would avoid touching the system as much as possible, as their well-intended ‘maintenance’ would likely end up unintentionally breaking things. Doing the same with your IPTV or OTT setup is not an option. Soft- and firmware updates in one specific part of the video delivery network will often require re-calibration in several other places. Keeping up with client-side updates in particular is a constant battle as operating systems like Google’s Android and Apple iOS regularly release new version that can potentially break your apps. Ignore this reality and the result can be service-outages, data breaches, quality issues and unhappy customers.

Apple, Android and Everyone Else is Trying to Break Your Apps | Divitel
A very unscientific graph showing the increase in search volume for TV outages, coinciding with the growth in IPTV / OTT based systems. The graph has been normalized to take into account the total growth in search volume for Google at large. Source: Google Trends


2. End-Users Expect Tomorrow’s Technology Today

Do you feel like your technology is becoming outdated at an ever-increasing rate? You’re not wrong. Where the emergence of a new video or TV format could take decades before and went to years recently, we’re rapidly closing in on a future where the required time-to-market for new technology could be months. You won’t be done when you’ve implemented support for 4K or HDR: What about 8K? Or VR? Or some social feature that suddenly takes the world by storm? More than anything, your operation will need to be increasingly flexible and adaptable to change. If you’re not offering your customers the functionality or features they’re looking for quick enough, the competition is right around the corner.


3. A Lot of Old Hardware Will Become Very Expensive Paper-Weights

We’re going to the cloud. Probably not entirely, probably not today (or even tomorrow), but it’s happening. As more and more of the video delivery process is done by software, instead of hardware, a lot of the hardware you invested in will become obsolete. The newest generation of hardware solutions for video delivery has often embraced this reality and can be inserted seamlessly in hybrid video delivery networks, but for older hardware this isn’t necessarily true. In some cases a good system integrator can give part of your existing hardware a purpose within your IPTV/OTT system, but chances are, there will be some write-offs.

Apple, Android and Everyone Else is Trying to Break Your Apps | Divitel


4. Your Service Needs to Run on Thousands of Different Devices

Remember when your TV service would only need to work on one specific Set-Top Box? Those days are over. End-users will often expect your service to work on Smart-TVs, third-party streaming devices, mobile devices or game consoles. That sounds complicated enough, but unfortunately, not all mobile devices are created equal. You’ll need to support iPhones, iPads and a near-endless list of Android devices. Consider that “way back” in 2015, there were already 24.000+ different Android devices in use, and it’s becoming worse:

Android Device Fragmentation 2015 | Divitel


5. Planning Human Resources is a Constant Struggle

When you do decide that active maintenance for your IPTV/OTT system is wise, the next challenge pops up: How do you staff an operation that requires a wide range of specialized knowledge, pretty inconsistently? You could build a complete support structure that maintains your video delivery solution 24/7, but most of your staff would be idle for extended stretches of time.


How can Divitel help?

As one of the world’s leading system integrators for video delivery, we’re first and foremost a solution provider. We’ve given the challenges involved in the digital transformation of video and television a lot of thought and have developed a wide range of services as a result. Services that allow you to focus your time and resources on your core business, while ensuring the best possible quality of service for your end-users. Next week, we’ll share a followup piece to the challenges listed above, detailing possible solutions, including some of the services we’ve developed. Want to know more right now? Send an email to your Divitel contact or mail us at marketing@divitel.com