As 2020 is just around the corner, it’s high time to do a wrap-up with the hottest stories of the passing year. And what a year it was! We’ve written about many new developments, technologies and trends that will shape the future of TV and media industry. But more importantly, we’ve also finalized a few big projects which further established us as a trustworthy TV OS, iOS, and smart TV developer specializing in video.

Without further ado, let’s take a quick look in the rear view mirror and see what made the news in 2019.

The streaming landscape is shifting

In 2019, the VOD platform landscape has seen new arrivals from Apple and Disney, which we discussed more broadly in a post on our blog. While the giants’ new offerings may not have disrupted the streaming industry just yet, we’d better keep our tabs on them. Expect some movements in this space – mergers, acquisitions, price tug-of-war will happen in the streaming sector before things get back to normal.

For now, Apple TV Plus sports a rather short portfolio of titles – out of the ten original shows announced, there were just eight available at launch. The platform’s very competitive pricing well balances Apple’s meager programming. Apple users are especially privileged and can enjoy it for free – at least for the first year.

streaming compared

The leading streaming platforms compared, source.

But the streaming platform situation will get really interesting when we see what other players bring to the table – Comcast’s ad-supported Peacock launches next year in April, and AT&T’s HBO Max premieres in May. It’s safe to say that 2020 will be a very interesting year.

Blockchain, copyright and security

The dynamic growth in the video streaming sector will bolster the development of various copyright and security solutions. This will include various applications of blockchain, slowly gaining traction as an anti-piracy solution for video and other types of content. We’ve discussed the copyright and security that blockchain could bring to streaming video in another post on our blog.

Blockchain in the video is a noble idea that could solve many pains of content producers, but we have yet to see a more functional implementation of the technology. Making blockchain household technology would require a vast amount of computers to participate, and – more importantly – an industry-wide paradigm shift.

We are really curious to see what the future holds for blockchain. Due to long transaction times and vast computing capacity needed to process video, publishers are not yet ready to handle blockchain-based video-streaming. There have been examples of videos entirely distributed via blockchain. Still, they are nowhere near the quality known from the leading streaming media platforms and should be considered experiments, at least for now. The same goes for anti-piracy applications of blockchain – there have been no working implementations of blockchain for end-to-end video piracy protection.

We just have to wait – more computing power and bandwidth is needed for blockchain to take off for good. There could be a breakthrough around the corner, so we’ll keep our eyes open in 2020 and beyond. But beyond the mythical realm of blockchain, other nagging problems are looking for a solution in the TV and media industry. One of the perennial issues with streaming video content is latency.

Why latency matters?

Eliminating latency in streaming video will be the final nail to cable TV’s coffin, taking away it’s only real advantage over streaming – immediacy. HD cable TV’s stream, although generally considered live, defaults at 5-second latency. Apple’s own HLS streaming protocol has a 30-45 seconds’ delay. Take it for a benchmark, and low latency would be anything under five seconds.

At 2019’s NAB Show, an industry event we attended, we listened to an interesting presentation about low latency. With many other speakers talking entirely about low latency protocols, there was a general vibe at the event that low latency is a thing. Many companies are working on ways to lower the latency in streaming and enable better scalability of video streaming media. We’ve written about low latency on our blog.

The things to come in 2020

Among the many things to expect in 2020, we’ll certainly see the growth of 5G infrastructure and better coverage for 5G. In spring this year, various operators: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile began rolling out their 5G networks. There is no doubt 5G will impact the TV & media industry. We believe 5G will accelerate the adoption of pay TV and mobile content consumption, bridging the gap between cable TV and streaming. 5G will not only change how people consume media, but also how media is produced, including the cost and infrastructure needed for live broadcasts. We’ve covered this topic more extensively on our blog.

There will also be many new exciting use cases of 5G. Faster, ubiquitous and low-latency networking will certainly redefine our entertainment, but also pave the way for innovation in health, commuting, and the environment around us. We believe at least some of these exciting new innovations will come in 2020.

AI to continue the disruption

We are also closely watching the developments in artificial intelligence. Among its many other applications, AI is indispensable for better discoverability and personalization of content for the viewer. We’ve also written about it on the BSG Blog. With the growing amount of video content, people increasingly harness the power of artificial intelligence to better understand and organize it.

But it’s not limited to video. According to Reuters, 59% of media use artificial intelligence to recommend other articles its users. AI analyzes historical data, along with usage patterns and tendencies. The technology is being utilized by major news sites or platforms like Spotify for regular recommendations (depending on the time of day, weather, etc.) and accurate content curation to appeal to individual palates.

Also, the automation that AI enables isn’t necessarily about making people redundant. The people-or-machines approach is not exactly the way AI disrupts industries. If anything, one complements the other. AI allows people to do much more by relieving them of the mundane workflows, and allowing them to focus on the areas which benefit more from the human touch.

Proper leveraging AI involves seamless integration of people and automated components to do more things, faster, better, and with greater levels of personalization for the consumers.

Summary

It was certainly a busy year in the industry, but also for us. 2019 was packed with appearances at numerous very important industry events: Web Summit 2019, Oslo Innovation Week 2019, IBC2019, ANGA COM, Northern Waves, Startup Live! Malmo, Blockchain Expo Global, Hannover Messe, Nab Show, and Wearable Technology Show.

We also launched many projects that were very important for us, including Automatic Content Enrichment (an ambitious collaboration with Warsaw University of Technology). We also teamed up with Norway’s TV2, developing apps for TV OS, iOS, and Android TV. As part of the project, another part of our team focused on web player integration and customization.

Clutch review

In the meantime, in 2019, we were featured among the Clutch Top 1000 companies. Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews firm designed for clients to be able to compare different service providers easily. It mainly uses phone interviews to create informed reviews and profiles of companies.

0000

We were also recognized as an industry leader in mobile app development.

Profiles on Clutch include past reviews from clients describing past or current projects with the company. A recent high-rating review on our profile is for mobile app development (iOS and Android) for an online banking platform – many reviews on Clutch are anonymous to encourage more genuine feedback and truthful ratings.

We’re really pumped for 2020 and hungry for new challenges in the next year! Keep an eye on our blog to stay up to date. Big things are coming!