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Neil Jones3,693 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Indeed. Urban areas with buildings packed close together mixed with various other things that can interfere with D-Sat reception either temporarily or permanently - other buildings, trees, electricity pylons, scaffolding, insect nests in or on the dish/LNB... At least in a rural area you should, all other things being equal, have an good if not better chance of having the right part of the sky clear.

Faster internet speeds are coming to rural areas now, slowly but surely. Mind you it took ages for some of it to come to urban areas and I'm sure there are still urban pocket areas that are stuck on sub 8Mb broadband and large swathes of rural areas that are lucky to get 2Mbps.
noggin12,354 posts since 26 Jun 2001
One of Sky Q's USPs is the increased number of tuners to feed separate devices through your own internal WiFi within your home.

That requires up to 12 feeds (11 high quality, 1 SD for the PinP image) being processed by the STB.

If you've got a high level fibre connection able to handle that, then chances are you're within a metropolitan area which will probably have good DSat signal reception in the first place.


I'd have said the opposite. Rural areas are usually easy to install satellite in (open skies, larger, often detached, usually single occupancy, houses etc.), it's urban areas that are trickier. If you are in an urban environment shaded by a large building, don't have suitable south-facing positions to mount a dish, or live in a large block of flats that doesn't have a communal distribution system that's suitable, or live in a conservation area, or have a landlord who won't allow dishes, then IP could be good news.

I'd say this may actually be better for urban areas - though fibre connectivity can also be hit and miss too.
Quote:

I can't see many people needing to opt for the IPTV solution.


No - but there are currently groups of people who can't use a dish, so it may well appeal to them.

Also - if Sky can migrate more content to IP, they can reduce their pretty hefty satellite transponder bill. I can see IPTV being added to DSat Sky Q boxes with Sky hubs too - in the same way Freeview Connect has added capacity to Freeview using IP.
Stuart6,576 posts since 13 Oct 2003
Westcountry Spotlight
Also - if Sky can migrate more content to IP, they can reduce their pretty hefty satellite transponder bill.

Surely the number of transponders required for the DSat service wouldn't change unless they actually made more services IP only?

I can see how it's worked for Sky Cinema's on demand service, and I actually can't see the linear channels lasting much longer. But I can't envisage many other services become IP only.

Movies can use progressive downloading with only a relatively weak broadband connection. Streaming a live 4K football match would require a very good connection, and the hope that nobody else in the house is watching something via IP with a similar demand.
mapperuo128 posts since 20 Feb 2016
STV North Reporting Scotland
Be interesting to hear about the technogoly behind this,I assume they must send all the popular channels, BBC 1 etc, to local 'nodes' rather than every single customer watching BBC 1 streaming from a central encoder otherwise you're dealing with terabytes of traffic..
noggin12,354 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Also - if Sky can migrate more content to IP, they can reduce their pretty hefty satellite transponder bill.

Surely the number of transponders required for the DSat service wouldn't change unless they actually made more services IP only?

That was my point. If the new DSat Q boxes are also IPTV compatible, they could start migrating some channels to be IP only, and cease to uplink them on transponders.

It will depend how Q sells, but there will be a point where the cost of transponder vs subscription/advertising revenue will tip it I suspect. Not instantly - but I can see it in the future.

Quote:

Movies can use progressive downloading with only a relatively weak broadband connection. Streaming a live 4K football match would require a very good connection, and the hope that nobody else in the house is watching something via IP with a similar demand.


This will only be feasible for FTTC or FTTP households with 40+Mbs connections. Basically if you can get BT Infinity you are likely tbe able to get Sky's equivalent fibre broadband.
noggin12,354 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Be interesting to hear about the technogoly behind this,I assume they must send all the popular channels, BBC 1 etc, to local 'nodes' rather than every single customer watching BBC 1 streaming from a central encoder otherwise you're dealing with terabytes of traffic..


Yes and no.

The connections aren't to the 'encoder' that is a bit of software that sits there (on Amazon-hosted servers these days I think - at least for pre-recorded content) and takes in a high quality feed and encodes it to the various 720/50p, 720/25p, 540/50p etc. variants at various bitrates.

These files are then distributed via content delivery network operators, who store copies of all the content and deliver it individually to each Laptop, Tablet, Phone, Smart TV etc. as it is requested. There IS a server connection for every single user.

Live streaming, as I'm sure people have noticed, isn't quite 'live'. AIUI the way this is handled on some platforms (and how pre-recorded shows are now also handled) is that the video stream is broken down into small chunks (order of a couple of seconds long) and these files are accessed in order to create a seamless stream, also allowing you to switch on-the-fly to chunks at lower or higher bitrates. This is how iPlayer works and is described as unicast - as each 'cast' or stream is to one person (hence the uni)

Of course this has a downside. Many content delivery networks will charge you 'per bit delivered'. The more people who watch, the more you pay. (So popular shows cost more to distribute over IP than shows nobody watches...) If you have a lot of people watching you need massive server and connection bandwiths - which cost more money (and why the BBC outsource this I believe).

This is totally different to broadcast, where the costs are the same whether 60 million watch or nobody does...

Multicast delivery leverages an aspect of networking that allows the same packets to be received by multiple people on the same network. This allows a single network stream to be received by multiple users - with only one server connection providing it (and only taking the bandwith of a single stream). These multicast streams need to be handled at a much more local level than unicast - so ISPs need to be involved in their provision.

This is why BT are able to offer high-quality (satelilte, cable and terrestrial quality) streams over their multicast BT TV system, but only lower quality streams over their OTT service (which is unicast)

I would expect Sky will offer multicast IPTV over their broadband network in a similar manner. This is also how IPTV is offered in other parts of Europe (though often these are areas with fibre-to-home connectivity that can offer 100Mbs or 1Gbs connections)
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Solair6 posts since 29 Nov 2016
There's a very distinct possibility that Sky will ultimately morph into more of an IPTV cable-like content provider, rather than a direct-to-home satellite broadcaster both because of change of technology and viewing habits towards VoD, but also because of rapidly falling costs in delivering services over public internet, or multicasting systems in FTTC/H platforms.

What will drive that is costs and availability of ubiquitous, cheap and fast broadband.

Assuming that Sky has access to multicasting IPTV network infrastructure in platforms like BT Openreach, OpenEir etc, they can deliver cable-like services over VDSL (FTTC) and FTTH.

FTTC is widely available throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland at present, with speeds of up to 52 or 76mbit/s in the UK and up to 100Mbit/s as standard in Ireland. You've fairly widespread rollout of Virgin (Liberty Global) cable up to 300Mbit/s in the UK and 360Mbit/s in Ireland (500Mbit/s business) on top of that you've got the beginning of FTTH rollout in various locations in both countries with BT OpenReach (PSTN owner) and OpenEir (PSTN owner) and Siro (Running fibre into homes via electricity wiring) in Ireland.

Virgin (Liberty Global) may be a TV provider in its own right, but cable is more about broadband than TV these days and Liberty Global (Virgin is just a brandname) is really moving into the traditional telco space in a much bigger way, with television really becoming just an application on the network.

Once the cost of access via IP infrastructure starts to drop below the cost of renting space on sat clusters owned by SES-Astra (and/or Eutelsat), you could start to see them refocus quite quickly and the satellite services becoming just an additional thing or a backup service for rural areas.

The big downside of this is that it's quite possible that the golden age of having urban-like television choice in rural areas could rapidly fade away, with perhaps, a more limited range of core channels being on satellite in the long term and most content moving to VoD.

It makes investment in adequate rural broadband something that could become even more of a priority as you could easily see a situation developing where rural areas start to become more and more cut off from media services.