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Video on Demand
 (Last updated in 2012)

Video on Demand – (VOD) - (In terms of Interactive Television) - (May be known as TV-based VOD, VoD, On-Demand Television, Movies-on-Demand, Content on Demand, On-demand Programming, VOD on the Web, VOD on Cable, Pay-As-You-Go, PAYG, All Day Movies, Live-streaming Video & On-demand Streaming Video, Internet-on-Demand Video, IP-based Video, IPTV Broadcasting, Internet HDTV, Internet Video, Web Video, Video Webcasting, Webcasting, Broadcast Internet, IPVBI, TinyTV, Switched Digital Video, SDV, Video Dial Tone, IPVBI, Sports on Demand, Application on Demand, Entertainment on Demand, Information on-demand, News on-demand, On-demand Services, Television on-demand, Switched-on TV, Anything-on-demand.)

The Internet, intranets and a multitude of other networks can be used for Video on Demand. Content can be viewed using many different electronic devices, including phones, PCs, media centers, media center PCs, set-top boxes, certain portable media devices, etc. VOD allows viewers to select video and its accompanying content, then have it sent for viewing to their set-top box, PC, mobile phone, etc. If the VOD is to be viewed on a TV, the program might be stored in the customer’s DVR. In that case the customer would watch it off of that DVR's hard drive. (This is more often the case with satellite TV and Internet distribution scenarios.) Or, in the case of cable television and IPTV, the customer typically can watch it directly from the network's head-end (which is the network operator's operating, distribution and storage facility). (See Network DVR.)

VOD is a form of Timeshifting. Typically those watching VOD on a TV (TV-based VOD) can pause, fast forward, rewind, etc. as if they were watching the program on a VCR, DVD, or DVR. While in the past this was often known as Interactive Video on Demand, now it's become standard operating procedure. Typically a digital set-top box or media center is required to get TV-based VOD but one can download VOD programming to other media devices such as video iPods, game consoles such as Xbox, Digital Media Receivers (such as Apple TV,) Digital Media Adapters and Media Extenders. Digital Media Receivers, Digital Media Adapters and Media Extenders (and devices that have this technology integrated into them,) connect one electronic device, such as your Media Center PC, desktop PC, Home Media Server, etc. to your TV, or another display device.

TV-based Video on Demand has come a long way, and fast. Up until literally the last few years, many in the television world would readily categorize it as "Interactive Television". But as it has developed the industry ended up separating it from Interactive Television by giving it it's own category. There is no doubt that it is a form of Interactive Television but at a "lower level". Earlier this decade a significant number of TV-based VOD systems required the subscriber to call the network operator with their programming and time of viewing choices.

Cable and telco networks, due to having larger bandwidth capacity than most satellite TV providers, are currently in a better position to offer Video on Demand for television, as well as Network Digital Video Recording (nDVR). Telcos are incorporating IPTV for VOD.

The studios are restricting the number of titles available for VOD for fear of programming being copied, as well as a perceived lack of profit. Movie studios generally won't allow movies to be available through VOD until 45 days after the DVDs go on sale. At the time of this writing (spring, 2006,) studios typically earn only $1 or $2 from each movie rental but can make $12 or more from each DVD sale.

VOD advertising is often sold on a cost-per-impression basis. The problem with doing business based on impressions is that programmers arrive at the count in different ways. An impression could mean an ad has been viewed in its entirety or only in part.

TV-based Video on Demand is often available in these formats:
1) Free VOD, which includes Basic or Family Packages.
2) Subscription VOD, where a separate regularly re-occurring fee is charged for a plurality of VOD programming.
3) Pay-per-view VOD, (Transactional VOD), often used to deliver individualized programs on demand. With PPV VOD, often the customer can watch all he/she wants in a 24 hour period. Special boxing matches are an example.

Typically each of the above operates the same. Each offers play, pause, stop, fast-forward, rewind, etc.


VOD may be (or have been) categorized as follows:
  • Interactive Video On Demand
  • True Video on Demand
  • Near Video On Demand
  • Subscription Video on Demand
  • Free Video on Demand
  • Quasi Video on Demand
  • Impulse Video on Demand
  • Exclusive Video on Demand

Interactive Video on Demand - (IVOD) - This is the standard type of TV-based VOD today (though it wasn't when this dictionary was first written.) VCR, DVD and DVR type functions, such as fast forward, rewind, and pause are offered. An IVOD system can have three components: (1) the user's "set-top box", or equivalent (and it's components,) (2) the network it's connected to, (and it's distribution components) and the (3) servers with archives of programming.  Typically the subscriber's set-top boxes are how they communicate with the VOD servers. The interactive functions that the VOD user has at their disposal can include:

1. Play/Resume  - Start a program/movie from the beginning or resume after temporarily stopping the show.
2. Stop - Temporarily or permanently stop the presentation of the show.
3. Pause - Freeze the picture.
4. Jump forward  - Jump to a particular time in the presentation (movie) in a forward direction.
5. Jump backward - Jump to a particular time in the presentation (movie) in a backward direction.
6. Fast Forward (FF)  - Browse through the movie in the forward direction with picture and sound on.
7. Slow Down - Going forward at a lower rate than normal but with picture and sound.
8. Reverse - Playing the movie in the reversed direction with picture and sound.
9. Fast Reverse - Browse the presentation in the backward direction with picture and sound at a faster speed than standard reverse.
10. Slow Reverse: Go backward at a slower speed, with picture and sound.
11. Other interactive features include the ability to avoid or select advertisements, to investigate additional details about news events and to browse, select, and purchase goods.

Exclusive Video on Demand - (EVOD) - When a particular TV-based VOD content provider (most likely your network operator) offers a function, service and/or program that no other content provider has (or very few have), it might be called Exclusive Video on Demand.

Free Video on Demand - (FVOD) -  (a.k.a. Free On-demand, FOD, FVOD, Free Video on Demand) – Video on Demand programming that a network operator makes available as part of a basic content package. FOD (FVOD) can make it possible for subscribers to have unlimited access to movies/programming offered during that time period. The opposite would be Subscriber Video on Demand (SVOD) where a subscriber pays a standard reoccurring fee for programming that may have no, or limited advertisements.

Impulse Video on Demand – (Impulse VOD) - Though now-a-days it's typically all just referred to as "Video on Demand" but in the past, this term often referred to the ability to order TV-based Video on Demand programming, without having to first phone in your order to the network operator.

Near Video On Demand - (NVOD) - A particular program/movie is advertised to start a regular intervals over a particular channel.  You pay your money electronically and select what time and day you want to start watching the program/movie. A small portion of the program/movie may be sent and stored on your DVR/set top box buffer or hard drive, most of the program/movie is viewed from (off of) the server of the network operator offering the NVOD service. 
    Typically you can fast forward, rewind, pause, etc. with NVOD as you're able to do with TVOD. 

Quasi Video on Demand - (QVOD) - Same as Near Video on Demand except that the show (programming) only will be presented if a minimum number of subscribers sign up for it.

Subscription Video on Demand - (SVOD) - (Subscription-based Movies and/or Programming) - Generally movie/programming packages are scheduled events; SVOD can make it possible, for a fixed fee, for subscribers to have unlimited access to movies/programming during a specific time period, such as a month. The opposite would be Free Video on Demand (FVOD) where a subscriber pays no special fee for the programming.

Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) - (May be known as Pay Per View VOD, Standard VOD.) – This is the opposite of Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD).  With Transactional VOD the customer pays for each individual video on demand program. With it's opposite, SVOD, typically the subscriber pays a set amount, (often monthly) for a set amount of video on demand. Now-a-days most refer to Transactional VOD simply as "VOD".

True Video On Demand - (TVOD) - (Now just known as Video on Demand) - An older antiquated term for video on demand (VOD) service where individual end-users would get immediate responses when interacting with the Video on Demand system. With TVOD, the user would order the program at will and be able to do VCR-like commands on the VOD system with the same quick response time as when operating a VCR. This increased speed of the response time can significantly increase the cost of operating a VOD system. An alternative was Near Video on Demand (NVOD) as it reduced the cost by increasing the waiting time. TVOD is more often just known as VOD (Video on Demand) as it is the standard form of VOD in television now.

   Two major types of VOD are streaming video and non-streaming video. Streaming video (sometimes known as https Streaming video or Progressive Download) is when the video  is compressed and sent over a network, such as the Internet.  It’s then decompressed by the receiver (set-top box) for displaying on your screen. Typically the file begins displaying before it has completely been delivered to your set-top box (to save transmission time and bandwidth.)  Literally the programming plays as it's being downloaded.  The non-streaming variety of video needs the downloaded files to be completely sent before they can be played.
   Important also are the system’s video servers. Video servers are a computer system capable of storing large quantities of video and serving it (sending it) to user's TV systems. Also important is the Conditional Access System. Conditional Access is an encryption/decryption management method (security system) where the broadcaster controls the subscriber's access to digital and Interactive TV services.  This can ensure that the person is who he/she says they are (authenticity) and provides security for purchasing and other transactions.  The end-users (subscribers) have a receiver (set-top box) that allows him or her "Conditional Access" to the services available through that service.  "Smart cards” (or the equivalent) may be used to access the system by the end-user.

  TV-based Video on Demand is revolutionizing the television viewing experience. Why? Because in time you'll be able to view most of your favorite programming (shows) in this manner, and not just movies and/or special events. Imagine at any time of the day or night, searching interactively through your TV and finding your favorite sit-coms listed by episode. Click interactively on an episode’s electronic button, in the same manner that you would on a Web page and up comes what that episode is about and other pertinent information about it. Want to watch 10 episodes in a row of that sit-com, even if it’s midnight? No problem, you make your own viewing schedule with Video on Demand. (Chances are good you'll need a digital TV package).
    One of the major reasons for implementation of VOD is to cut down on “Churn.” Churn denotes subscribers that start and stop their subscription faster than the network would prefer, a process that adds to the business cost of networks. The assumption is that if more options are available for the customer, they will be less likely to stop receiving the service.
  Developments such as improvements in VOD servers, better codecs, better ethernet, and Passive Optical Networks (PON) etc. technologies replacing the older, slower technologies such as asynchronous serial interface (ASIs) connections, have been essential.

Microsoft’s US-based Video Marketplace, which launched in November of 2006, as of mid-2007, has around 2,100 hours of movie downloads available to Xbox 360 owners. It's introduction to Europe is set for August, 2007. (Of course we all know about iTunes' success as a download service.)

Various Other Related Terms

Access Control
Access Control System
Activated VOD Homes
Activity-based Video on Demand
ADSL-based VOD
Adult on Demand
Advertising-supported Video on Demand
Advertising-supported Video on Demand Network
Application Platform
Asset and Service Management Software
Back Channel
Books on Demand
Broadband Video on Demand
Broadcast Flag
Business VOD
Conditional Access
Content Provider
Contextualized Video-on-Demand
Cross Platform
Customer Management Systems
Customized News, Sports or Weather Programs
Delivery Mechanism
Exclusive Video on Demand
Extended-form Ads & Promotions
Free-on-demand Content
Front Channel
Games on Demand
Genre-themed on-demand
Headend-based VOD Subscriber Controls
Impulse Video on Demand
Individualized Viewing
Internet on Demand Video
ITV-enhanced SVOD
ITV-enhanced VOD
Linear TV
Linear TV to On-demand
Long Form Advertisement
Niche Video-magazine Service
Niche VOD
Nonserver-based SVOD Programming
On-demand Content Over PCs
On-demand Gaming
On-demand Infrastructure
On-demand Interface
On-demand Interactive Advertising
On-demand ITV (Interactive TV) Services
On-Demand Management System
On-demand News Programming
On-demand News Ticker
On Demand Service

On-Demand Storefronts
On-demand Streaming
On-Demand Subscribers
On-demand Subscriptions
On-demand Technologies
On-demand TV
On-demand Video Magazines
Pay Per View VOD
Personal Televisions
Personalized VOD Entertainment
Per-subscriber Fee
PPV/VOD Content Aggregator
Pre-booked PPV
Press Red
Primetime on Demand
PVR-enhanced VOD
Red-button iTV Services
Recommendation-based Video on Demand
Satellite TV Video on Demand
Server-based Personal Video Recorder
Server-based SVOD Programming
Server Clustering
Server Farm
Set-top Box
Smart Cards
Smart Card Reader
Smart Card Slots
SmartCard Televisions
Smart Clients
Specialized TV
Sports on Demand
Streaming Media
Streaming Media Convergence
Streaming Media Video Systems
Streaming Video
SVOD over a DVR Device
Switched-on TV
"Telescopic" on-demand DVR/VOD Advertising
Television on-Demand
Transactional VOD
Two-way Interactivity
Value-added Services
Value-added VOD Tiers
Video Distribution Operator
Video on Demand-based Advertising System
Video on Demand Deployments
Video on Demand-enabled
Video-on-demand Enhancements
Video on Demand Platform
Video on Demand Platform Providers
Video Pumps
Video Service Provider
Video Server
Video Stream
VOD-enabled Homes
Web-based Video Search Engine