If you’re interested in the live streaming content niche, then you must acquaint yourself with the essential technologies. IPTV middleware (an interchangeable term with OTT middleware) is an example of one of your largest centerpieces.
The idea today is to get you acquainted with the IPTV software package, as well as a few CMS essentials that you may want to consider before you dive in.
Just in case you are not already familiar, IPTV allows you to provide video content over the air using the cable when the OTT solution doesn’t need any cable requiring only an appropriate internet connection. IPTV/OTT Middleware allows managing programs, protocols, and so on.
It’s because of this digital style that IPTV software and its dependencies become necessary.
What is IPTV Middleware/OTT Middleware?
Before looking at IPTV middleware, here’s a quick clarification for the term “middleware.” Generally, it speaks to anything that allows separate programs, protocols, or manufacturers to communicate effectively.
It’s essential in the IPTV architectural style, as it links set-top boxes with IPTV services and provides an interface. Think of it this way. If you were using a webchat and speaking to someone in China (assuming you’re not fluent in Mandarin), both of you may be using Google Translate to communicate with each other.
In this case, each of you would represent different programs or platforms, while the Google Translate application would represent the IPTV middleware allowing you to communicate.
In this sense, you can see that OTT middleware is nothing more than a compatibility bridge that allows for data exchange between various pieces of IPTV software. Though this explanation simplifies things, there is a lot of logic going on behind the scenes.
There’s a transmission logic, an interface, and even an algorithm determining what services your subscribers have access to based on the package that they have purchased.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about developing OTT middleware on your own. Instead, a host of options are already on the market. It’s a matter of understanding the features that matter to you and selecting a system that has them baked into its design.
Some of the basic features of IPTV middleware include:
- Set-top box type compatibility
- Subscription access management
- On-demand features (pause, stop, play, fast forward, record, etc.)
- IPTV software and infrastructure management
3 Additional IPTV Essentials
Certainly, the basic OTT middleware features are undoubtedly critical to your operations. However, those simply speak to things that you would expect from any such system. The three pillars below go a bit more in-depth and explain a few areas that would be in your best interest to pay attention to.
Monetization is likely a big part of the service you’d like to offer. On the surface, this means that you need to be able to process subscription payments and give people a way to pay.
When you dive a bit deeper, it means that your business assumes the responsibility of adequately managing users’ personal and payment information, protecting unintentional disclosure to any third parties.
Now, you see where your choice of OTT middleware and the integrations it uses come into play.
SSL security and encryption are basic requirements at this point to prevent unwanted data leaks. Additionally, you want to be able to support different payment methods, to tailor the platform to the user, instead of the other way around.
Additionally, if you are going to be using different payment use cases, your IPTV software system of choice must support this. For example, there is the typical subscription method where people pay a recurring fee to access your content. However, you may also or alternatively require pay-per-view support and support for payment for advertisement slots.
Reuse is one of the most important principles in the software world. Your IPTV software system is likely going to be reusing one or more video APIs in its design. Whatever platform you choose should provide you with the ability to access the relevant ones so you can integrate whatever features you need into your platform seamlessly.
For example, you may want your CMS to be available to customers using TVs, PCs, or mobile devices. Are you going to have your team spend needless hours designing the logic to support different devices or would it make a lot more sense to just use an API that is already designed and proven to support various endpoints?
Security and Privacy
Privacy and security of payment information were discussed earlier, but that’s not where the concerns would end with IPTV software. Remember that other pieces of information have nothing to do with a payment that you must still protect.
Even something as simple as a viewer’s watch history would fall under this umbrella. On a grander scale, there is the matter of all the content that you are offering. You must be able to privately and securely upload and transmit this to your users. The last thing you want is malicious third parties being able to get their hands on your content.
Additionally, you would not want to allow your users to download anything in a typical format. Take Netflix, for example. It is possible to download Netflix shows to be able to watch them when not online.
However, you would notice that they are not downloaded as MP4 files, for example, that would allow them to be shared or played with different platforms. They are only usable within the Netflix application.
This is one way that you can improve your service to your users while still maintaining the protection of intellectual property rights.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit to think about as you consider an OTT middleware selection. It is the fundamental puzzle piece of your CMS, and it needs to provide a consistent service that aligns with your needs.
To that end, a good idea is for you to take some time to contemplate and strategize how you want to serve your audience. Once you have mapped out the required features, you can then make your IPTV middleware selection.
It’s also recommended to choose a system that goes beyond your current needs, giving yourself room to expand and progressively roll out new features, giving added value to your users over time.
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