Akamai CEO on streaming 4K TV into your home (podcast)

There were 4K TVs all over CES, but there is still a lack of 4K content available. Considerably more bandwidth is required to stream 4K video online, which is a challenge Akamai says it's working to solve.

Larry Magid speaks with Akamai CEO Tom Leighton (left) at CES. Larry Magid
Just about every TV maker at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was showing off 4K TVs. But to fully appreciate these Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs, you'll need content that's recorded in 4K.

As far as I know, a 4K standard for broadcast, cable, and satellite isn't on the immediate horizon, nor is a standardized way to deliver the content via disc. So, the solution lies in Internet delivery. But that too raises a challenge because the amount of bandwidth required for 4K is considerably more than today's HD video.

Akamai, which has long specialized in improving performance of online video for high trafficked sites, has a couple of solutions. One is to bring the content close to the "edge," but storing the video feed nearer to the user.

Having the content cached on servers close to the user's home can greatly improve performance, said Akamai CEO Tom Leighton at CES last week. He added that even if customers have a "big pipe" from their Internet service provider (ISP), the "bottlenecks are in the Internet infrastructure." (Scroll down to listen to the full interview).

In addition to caching the content in the neighborhood, Leighton said Akamai is working with Qualcomm on a new class of home gateway that would cache content within the home for faster access. It can also be used to download software once for multiple devices, such as a new version of iOS that the user might want to install on several devices. Instead of downloading it to each device, you could download it to the gateway and install it on each device from there.

Find out what else Leighton had to say about 4K in the full 17 minute interview.

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About the author

Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.

 

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