Connecting Smart TVs to the cloud: a smart idea after all!

Cloud connecting
For pay-TV service providers, delivering premium services directly to consumer devices and leveraging back-end cloud infrastructure provides numerous benefits.

By Simon Trudelle, Senior Director Product Marketing, NAGRA

In the post-OTT era, leveraging consumer devices and cloud technology is essential to the next generation of content delivery.

The consumer electronics industry caught on to this trend early, with leading CE brands launching their first internet-connected TV sets almost a decade ago.

But experience has shown that connecting a device to the network is one thing, enabling access to premium content services that consumers will be willing to pay for is another entirely.

For service providers, delivering premium services directly to consumer devices and leveraging backend cloud infrastructure provides numerous benefits; it takes away the cost of supplying a set-top box to subscribers, it enables them to deliver OTT services, and it provides on-demand alternatives to appointment viewing.

Of course, consumers also want to keep watching broadcast television. But broadcast technology requires specific hardware and software that, up to now, were only found in operator devices like set-top boxes or conditional access modules. And the very notion of having to get a physical device from a service provider to become a customer adds friction to the purchase decision.

This usually means loss of sales and higher customer relationship costs over time.

But thanks to TV manufacturers improving their platforms to offer higher-performance Smart TV designs, it’s now possible to move all the content security technology into the TV chipsets and software stacks – all while managing headend security from the cloud. 

Imagine an entirely cloud-based pay-TV service; consumers can activate their pay-TV services instantly as part of the initial TV set-up, making it even easier than ever to access pay-TV services and enjoy their favourite programming.

This kind of solution, developed by NAGRA and Samsung, was announced at IBC 2018. Named TVkey Cloud, the product is an innovative offering that combines the best of NAGRA’s CAS and DRM security technology with Samsung’s advanced Smart TV software technology, enabling viewers to get access to all the content they love, directly on their new smart Samsung TV sets.

TVkey Cloud is great news for all parties: new Samsung TV sets offer more convenience and value, pay-TV service providers can simplify customer acquisition and extend their market reach, and consumers get immediate access to premium content, both linear and on-demand.

With solutions like these, the promise of instant customer acquisition, without hardware, without entry barriers, and at a lower cost for consumers (all while protecting content) can begin to come to fruition.

In this uncertain, rapidly changing pay-TV landscape, it can be difficult to make any firm predictions. But if there’s one conclusion we can draw, it’s that – when it comes to the future of television – all roads lead to the cloud.

And next-generation TVs may just finally prove that the original vision of connecting sets to the network was indeed a smart idea. For more information on TVkey Cloud, please contact us.