The Future of Television

August 17, 2017

For those who remember Back to the Future 2, when Marty traveled from the late 80s back to the 50s, there was an interesting scene regarding television. The Lorraines were huddling around their only black and white TV set when Marty Mcfly accidentally said that they have two of them at home. They laughed at him and made a wisecrack that his family must be very rich.

How television and people had changed

That’s funny how things had changed. There is a large flat TV with digital channels in every house now, and there is a lot of Internet services like Netflix that provide you video on demand. You can buy 3 or 4 TV sets, and it won’t impress people anymore.

Let’s see if people had changed. Regarding laziness, there were no drastic changes since somebody had discovered fire. Just swap a fireplace with a TV or computer in your mind, and you will get a self-explanatory picture of the modern man.

People are still lazy, and sometimes they don’t want to think much—just switching channels to find a suitable TV show. I do it too every once in awhile! Very relaxing, like a hot bath. The future of the linear TV where you can just select channels and wait for your favorite show will remain intact, just because of our nature.

Video on demand, still cool

Video on demand is a very cool thing to have, but it requires a little effort to select what you want to watch. Then it will suggest you similar shows that you should like. It’s like a guy in the VHS rental store who would say “You ought to watch this!”, and would hand you a Terminator 2 cassette when you return Robocop.

These intelligent services that show you related videos on every video service are already doing great compared to this annoying guy who would force his interests among everybody else’s. The machine does it with no strings attached.

However, if you just select what’s recommended but do not search yourself, you are getting into the recommendation trap. People watch what they are recommended to watch, so the next recommendations are based on the previous ones. Then it loops, and nobody cares about your free will.

In the future, the machine will truly understand your taste and will recommend you what you will love to watch.

As for the video quality and the frame size, it’s getting better and bigger up to ultra-high definition, 4K, and 8K. However, standard definition channels will still be available for a long time.

How it’s all possible

What about the infrastructure, is the current technology ready for the rapidly growing video quality and size? We have the hardware, and there is no problem with TV sets, optical cables, even computers with their hard disks that store the video. However, the bottleneck appears on the video provider servers’, where they need to organize tons and tons of videos. Heavy loads won’t blow up the servers, but they’ll certainly blow your reputation if you deliver video not fast enough.

Talented guys at Flussonic in Moscow, Russia fight the problems of organizing video files and video streams on servers that deliver the video to the end users. This software is one of the most important things to work on to deliver video all over the world through the Internet television.

Flussonic Media Server is a software for server machines in data centers that can help them handle up to 800 simultaneous video streams on a single server. It optimizes the storage of video files as well and indexes them like Google indexes the world wide web for the fast search and minimizing the time between client’s request and server response.

The Media Server is a very low-level software platform that can be used by any video provider, who will build their solution on top to deliver video to the wide audience and satisfy all future needs.