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Having live content delivered though streaming or through traditional channels is not an either/or for pay-TV subscribers, according to new research conducted by The Diffusion Group (TDG) and iStreamPlanet.

Indeed the survey revealed that as many as 84% of pay-TV subscribers who also use a home broadband service believe having live access to their pay-TV channels on one of their connected devices would be of value.

"All major broadcasters and operators will eventually offer full-on live linear streaming to their viewers, said Andy Beach, TDG senior analyst and author of the new report. “It is less of a question of if live linear access will become more popular, but rather how quickly," he added.

Yet TDG cautions that despite consumer interest, live linear streaming remains in its infancy, subject to a wide variety of experimental uses with unclear business models. It adds that to date, live linear offerings have remained limited in terms of devices and locations supported, as well as the type and number of channels available.

Moreover the report observes that even though over-the-top (OTT) services like the controversial Aereo are offering are already distributing live linear TV channels directly via broadband, several tech companies are waiting in the wings, seeking to integrate live linear services into their existing platforms. "If even one of these companies succeeds in a significant commercial deal," Beach warned, "it could be the tipping point for a flood of live linear services in the OTT world."

TDG's Live Linear Encoding report also recognises the key role played by encoding technology in live linear delivery. TDG says that operators looking to exploit consumer interest in live linear streaming of TV content should pay particular attention to encoding solutions when building out their delivery systems.

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