The Evolution of Video Streaming and Digital Content Delivery

Editor’s Note: This paper is released with the Brookings event “The Evolution of Video Streaming and Digital Content Delivery” on May 2, 2014.

It is a time of great change in telecommunications—new platforms have emerged that stream video and voice over the Internet and deliver content via tablets and smartphones. These systems have broadened our horizons with respect to communications, entertainment, and commerce. In this paper, Darrell West examines the future of video streaming and digital content delivery systems during a time of major transformation. West discusses what these changes mean for people, businesses, and governments. He argues that there are many opportunities in the move to a multi-platform world and new models have the potential to become more flexible, adaptive, and cost-effective. But FCC leaders need to promote innovation that maximizes the benefits of new developments. We need to make sure that those living in rural areas, in addition to elderly and disabled populations, are able to reap the benefits of the technology revolution.

Several benchmarks in the evolution of video streaming and digital content delivery include:

  1. The explosive growth of video streaming
  2. The Internet protocol transition
  3. Smart devices and the “Internet of Things”
  4. Improving spectrum access
  5. Protecting consumers during periods of technological disruption

West concludes that effectively handling this transition to a 21st century digital economy should be a top priority for policymakers.  Read the full report to learn more.