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Channel 4 CIO reveals YouView progress

Channel 4 is about to begin testing YouView, its set top box based on-demand service, ahead of its launch next year.

Chief information officer at Channel 4, Kevin Gallagher, told Computing that the broadcaster is now entering into a joint software development process with the YouView team.

“The YouView team have developed their software and we’ve developed ours and right now we’re going through a period of more integrated testing,” he said.

Gallagher added that in order to deliver Channel 4’s programming to the YouView service, the broadcaster will use a content delivery network.

“Fundamentally there are two models that we use. One sees delivery to the likes of Virgin Media’s digital television freeview service – we send them our content, they serve it for us. So when we give them the content, it stays with them, unless we need to pull it down for issues over controversial content.

“For the partners where it’s more dynamic – such as the 4oD TV-on-demand service or PS3’s Playstation Network model – we use a different system in which we deliver the content to ISPs, and it is stored with them and streamed directly to the user from there,” said Gallagher.

He added that this means that the only content that Channel 4 will send directly to YouView is metadata. He explained that the biggest challenge for Channel 4 is to make sure the content delivered to the ISPs is well protected and not pirated.

“We work with a lot of studios for our content, and they are understandably concerned about piracy. We use different DRM technologies, but as the standards keep moving forwards, we need to keep on top of things with that.

“Right now, we’re using RTMPE (a special encryption protocol for streaming content) with 4oD, and the YouView standards are still emerging and being discussed. But we know that whatever is decided, we won’t stand still, it’ll keep moving like all security technologies,” said Gallagher.

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