Traditionally, video content transmission has been solely based on a baseband service, in which multimedia data (program content) was transported across a single channel, such as OTA, coax cable and/or satellite. Today, multimedia transmission is transitioning toward a broadband service, in which multimedia data is transported across multiple channels of signals and traffic types simultaneously.
Cloud storage has emerged from the desire to give the consumer more content. Content delivery methods have evolved over the years from one-way broadcasting to user-interactive, two-way methods such as VOD and digital video recorder (DVR). With VOD services, the content is stored on large servers located at remote sites, and the media are streamed to large numbers of independent and perhaps simultaneous (but asynchronous) users. Thus, as more and more devices — particularly handhelds and mobiles — consume multimedia content via streaming (as opposed to traditional “broadcast”) services, content and software capabilities are moving toward off-site remote storage systems.
A distributed system of servers deployed over the Internet at multiple data centers constitutes a content delivery network (CDN). Personal (consumer) multimedia storage systems are also moving toward network-based solutions such as network-attached storage (NAS) or network DVR (NDVR). Taken together, all of these storage approaches now constitute “the cloud.” With cloud services, users are afforded access to cloud computing and cloud storage resources, on-demand, over the network. In general, storage hosting companies and cloud storage service providers are not equivalent. Cloud storage is an online storage system where (multimedia) data is stored in virtualized pools of storage, connected by a network, as shown in Figure 1; users on a network terminal device access the data.
Hosting companies operate large data centers, and users (individual or company) buy or lease storage capacity from them. The data center operators virtualize the resources in the background according to the requirements of the user and expose them as storage pools, which the users use to store files or data objects. The safety of the files depends upon the hosting websites.
Cloud for broadcast services
There are several areas in which broadcasters can take advantage of cloud storage technology. The first is using cloud storage for content serving and management. As interactive content access becomes realized through smart TVs and similar initiatives, on-demand services will require a large capacity (and quantity) of data servers that can be accessed by multiple transmission media and multiple device terminals. In order to support multiple device types from the same content data server, there is a need for users to manage content at one place that can be accessed by every (or any) device terminal owned.
Broadcasting services can also play a role as cloud hosting or cloud storage service providers. Current transmission media providers, such as cable, satellite, DSL, mobile or broadband, are taking a role as cloud hosting services by distributing content to multiple subscribed devices using VOD services and Internet streaming services; all of these form a virtualized online storage system to end-user terminal devices. Broadcasting services can also provide a personal content management tool for users to manage their viewing preference and improve viewing experiences across devices.
Another area of broadcast implementation is in providing a cloud DVR solution to users. Currently the DVR is based on personal storage, but the NDVR is gaining popularity, and affords users online data storage to record and access their favorite content. The cloud DVR service can add a service for users to store their personal videos as well as recorded content. This service allows users to build their own content library that can be accessed by any device they own, on-demand, at any location.