In Broadcast - October 2012 - 66


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

N E W S

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 13 - OCTOBER 2012

InFILE
Squeezing More Bits Per Buck
Beyond the goal of compression advances – how to squeeze the best quality into the least amount of bandwidth – the key challenge facing media organisations continues to be the diversity and fragmentation of technical requirements between viewing devices. Adrian Pennington reports
For many customers the volume of multi-screen content is increasing at such an exponential rate that today’s peak capacity is tomorrow’s starting base. This makes investment in the right encoding and transcoding technology essential. “In addition to the sheer increase in content, the multi-screen market is still rather volatile from a technology perspective,” observes Tom Lattie, Harmonic’s VP Product Management. “Delivery technologies are rapidly changing, and if content providers want to reach the broadest range of consumer devices, they must prepare content for a variety of HTTP adaptive bit rate formats.” These include Apple HLS Streaming, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming, and the potentially unifying HTTP streaming standard MPEG DASH. The latter has the potential to simplify adaptive streaming delivery for multi-screen viewing for both consumers – who would no longer have to worry about whether the viewing device they’re purchasing will play the content they want to watch, and vice versa – and content providers, who should be able to reduce the number of formats and protocols they must deliver to reach their full potential audience. is that there are so many of them’ is fully applicable here.” This situation is compounded by a key business challenge – the overall landscape for multi-platform content distribution is really being shaped by consumer trends, rather than the content owners. “It’s the consumer devices that are having the greatest impact on market dynamics,” says Nann. “The result is that media organisations need to be more agile than ever to quickly and easily integrate new formats, standards and support for compliance requirements (such as new requirements for closed captions in online video) without requiring a major overhaul of users’ workflows and processes.” The substantial demand for adaptive bit-rate media format production is, in many ways incompatible, with the workflow systems that currently support broadcast and cable TV workflows. “While centralised transcoding services reduce costs and improve operational efficiency, it is clear that one-size-fits-all technologies cannot reasonably meet the wide ranging requirements of media from broadcast, to cable and IPTV, OTT and mobile content transcoding,” suggests Telestream’s Director of New Products and Strategy, Jim Duval. “Media companies are responding by building separate but parallel application-specific transcoding workflows.” He continues: “These systems are often internally developed and constructed of a combination of open source and commercially available components. While they get the job done, hard won operational efficiency gains are being sacrificed. Executives are seeking solutions that deploy application specific transcoding technologies within a single managed workflow system.” A similar view is shared at RGB Networks where Ramin Farassat, VP, Product Marketing and Business Development, contends that most media organisations have legacy infrastructure originally intended to target only one type of device – TVs. “As such, they are faced with the high storage costs, network bandwidth issues and the headaches
Adrian Pennington

Large screens need high-quality video and audio

66

File Wrappers
“Even with the current ubiquity of the H.264 format across platforms and devices, there continue to be differing standards for ‘packaging’, metadata and delivery protocols that result in incompatibilities between devices,” explains Mike Nann, Director of Marketing And Communications, Digital Rapids. “The adaptive streaming technologies commonly deployed to date exemplify the challenge. While they share common concepts and overlap in a number of technical aspects, they are not compatible. “Most significantly, none of these technologies is universally supported across all platforms and devices, often forcing content providers to deploy at least two of them in parallel to reach all of their target viewing devices. The cliché that ‘the great thing about standards

of a network upgrade, all of which are usually required to enable the codec, format and multi-resolution changes necessary for multi-screen delivery of high-quality video to any device and over any network,” Farassat says. Harmonic has tackled this issue in two ways. It has compartmentalised video processing as much as possible, because although parts of technology are advancing rapidly, some are staying the same. By separating video processing from the packaging of content, workflows can be segmented into more bite-sized chunks for more efficient delivery of multi-screen content. Its second approach is to invest in software that allows content providers to scale more efficiently, whether that involves blade-based computing or a cloud-based infrastructure. “Because our multi-screen technology is software-based, users are not tied to Harmonic’s servers; therefore, they can easily add more software or upgrade their hardware, or do both,” explains Lattie. “This allows customers (like Swisscom) to scale their infrastructure in a much more demanding and rapid manner based upon their current and future needs.” At IBC, Harmonic showcased its file-based transcoder ProMedia Xpress, which is another product focused on improving the operational efficiency of H.264 for multi-screen content creation. Where there used to be a specific encoding product for a narrow range

of input and output file types, now, nearly every product outputs files suitable for multiple low-bandwidth devices at HD broadband and broadcast quality.

MPEG4 To HEVC
“Adaptive bit-rate streaming increases both the number of video resolutions delivered, as well as the number of packaged formats the video is delivered through,” says Farassat. “This puts a big demand on video processing equipment to support the audio/video processing and packaging of a very high number of video streams at various resolutions and at an affordable cost.” RGB Networks’ clients include Waoo!, a Danish broadband provider delivering fibre-based network services to nearly 200,000 households, which has deployed the firms’s Video Multiprocessing Gateway (VMG). The VMG offers a transcoding solution for Waoo!’s new OTT video service, enabling it to rollout 36 new channels of Microsoft Smooth Streaming adaptive format to PCbased consumers. “At the same time, media organisations continue to demand higher video quality at lower bitrates since they are faced with network bandwidth limitations,” adds Farassat. “It is vital that video processing companies do not ignore the video quality while focusing on increasing the density of their
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - October 2012

In Broadcast - October 2012
Contents
PO Group Invest in 4k SGO Mistika Solution
BBC Entertainment Launches in Malaysia
AJA KI Pro Eases Elton John Show Workflow Transition
Bolshoi Theatre Install RTS System
Canal+ Sports Opts for Orad Power Wall
SIS LIVE Rolls Out OB 14 HD Truck
OCC’s Bill Smith Answers on the Technical Challenges
4KTV? Not So Fast!
ChyronIP Powers Graphics on Newtek Tricaster
Take Control With Rascular’s Helm
In Broadcast - October 2012 - Intro
In Broadcast - October 2012 - In Broadcast - October 2012
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 2
In Broadcast - October 2012 - Contents
In Broadcast - October 2012 - PO Group Invest in 4k SGO Mistika Solution
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 5
In Broadcast - October 2012 - BBC Entertainment Launches in Malaysia
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 7
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 8
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 9
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 10
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 11
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 12
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 13
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 14
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 15
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 16
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 17
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 18
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 19
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 20
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 21
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In Broadcast - October 2012 - 23
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 24
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 25
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 26
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 27
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 28
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 29
In Broadcast - October 2012 - AJA KI Pro Eases Elton John Show Workflow Transition
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 31
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 32
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 33
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 34
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 35
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 36
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 37
In Broadcast - October 2012 - Bolshoi Theatre Install RTS System
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 39
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 40
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 41
In Broadcast - October 2012 - Canal+ Sports Opts for Orad Power Wall
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 43
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 44
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 45
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 46
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 47
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 48
In Broadcast - October 2012 - SIS LIVE Rolls Out OB 14 HD Truck
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 50
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 51
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 52
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 53
In Broadcast - October 2012 - OCC’s Bill Smith Answers on the Technical Challenges
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 55
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 4KTV? Not So Fast!
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 57
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 58
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 59
In Broadcast - October 2012 - ChyronIP Powers Graphics on Newtek Tricaster
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 61
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 62
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 63
In Broadcast - October 2012 - Take Control With Rascular’s Helm
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 65
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 66
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 67
In Broadcast - October 2012 - 68
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In Broadcast - October 2012 - S1
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S2
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S3
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S4
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S5
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S6
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S7
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S8
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S9
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S10
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S11
In Broadcast - October 2012 - S12
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