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Taking TV Everywhere with Video IDs and the OLCA Specs

Two recent milestones mark the cable industry’s latest efforts to mobilize video. First, last week a new group including Comcast, CableLabs, and a raft of content studios formed to create the Entertainment Identifier Registry, or EIDR. EIDR is supposed to become a catalog of video assets, with each asset gaining its own identifying code. Think ISBN numbers for books, only these are EIDR numbers for movies, TV shows, and other video content. It’s identification standardization, and the goal is to be able to track content distribution more easily, and to start solving the massive metadata mess that exists today.

The second milestone is today’s announcement of new TV Everywhere specs out of CableLabs. The specs are collectively labeled Online Content Access, or OLCA, and more than anything they suggest guidelines for different models of TV Everywhere initiatives. In this case, the specifications are following after existing implementations from several large cable operators. However, they are designed to help TV Everywhere deployments scale, particularly with regard to authentication architectures.

Despite the noise around TV Everywhere in the last year, we’re still only at the beginning of the mobile TV revolution. These are the types of gnarly details that have to be sorted before TV really breaks out of the box.

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