How to sell cable services?

How can I sell cable services over the internet?

Firstly: I understand what you mean because it is a common mistake but please stop referring to pay TV as 'cable'. If you get satellite TV it isn't cable via satellite!

What I believe you are asking is: how can you provide pay TV channels via the internet?

  1. Get the rights to the channel, this is number one for a good reason: if you don't have an agreement with the channel owner then you are breaking the law. How do you get the rights? This is the hardest thing in the business to do, if you don't know who to speak to then you will be on an up-hill journey every day. To give you an example: my company employ's a team of people to negotiate content deals. It often takes weeks or months of negotiation to get the right deal and the deals can be very expensive (look up 'minimum guarantees').
  2. Find out from the content owner where you can get the channel in uncompressed (or contribution grade) quality.
  3. Encode the video and audio

You need to decide if you are going to do your final encode in the cloud or locally. There are pros and cons to each approach. If the content provider provides a contribution grade encoded feed (a high quality compressed encode) then you can just relay that feed into a cloud transcoder (or possibly your own encoder appliances) and generate the streams. If the provider gives you an uncompressed feed then you would encode that and generate your own contribution feed which is then transcoded in the cloud, or you generate the final feeds at the origin, repackage and proxy them in the cloud.

Above all you need to be generating multiple streams because you will want to be generating adaptive bitrate streams (ABR). Without ABR your delivery will be less reliable and lower quality.

Finally, I haven't mentioned DRM. Your agreements with the content providers will require you to provide content protection and you will want DRM so that you can manage your customers access. One big problem is that not all devices support one common DRM. My company supports at least four different DRMs. If you are starting out then you cannot go wrong with Microsoft PlayReady, it is available in the majority of devices.

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