In Broadcast - September 2014 - 58


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

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 35 - SEPTEMBER 2014

N E W S

InMEDIA

Content Distribution - Catch Up Advances
No longer niche, the delivery of live or on-demand content Over-The-Top (OTT) is now a major
consideration of the broadcast workflow...

By Monica Heck
Contributing Editor

T

58

here's been a noticeable
consolidation drive within the
industry this year, illustrated by
the April 2014 acquisition of Digital
Rapids by Imagine Communications,
formerly broadcast giant Harris
Broadcast.
"A large part of our acquisition was
a recognition of the importance of
OTT and VoD delivery," explained
Darren Gallipeau, formerly of Digital
Rapids and now with Imagine
Communications. "There's a
realisation by larger companies
that new media delivery and
consumption is something that they
really need to start playing a part in."
Gallipeau feels there is now
a greater comfort level in the
business models behind OTT and
VoD delivery. "These companies
are faced with the option of either
building it themselves or absorbing
smaller, more nimble companies to
fulfil that need."

Kurt Michel,
Akamai

"...Audiences are
really embracing
'anytime, anywhere'
viewing on mobile
devices

"

The consumer landscape has also
changed, moving from traditional
broadcast or cable to mobile
devices. "We're seeing new peaks
all the time on our network, most
recently around the World Cup for
example where some events were
close to 7Tb per second," said Kurt
Michel of Akamai. "Audiences are
really embracing 'anytime, anywhere'
viewing on mobile devices."

Preparing Content

Content preparation for a multitude
of devices is a major focus for those
active in the OTT delivery space,
where a single master asset needs
to be created in multiple versions,
which must then be stored in an

origin location and be available in
multiple different formats such as
DASH, HLS and HDS. Subtitles or
regional ads may need to be added,
making the preparation of content
a complex task.

More multiscreen content is
being processed in real-time on
Elemental's cloud service

"We're known for video processing,
creating different renditions of
content that was typically destined
for a TV set for live or on demand
video delivery in an IP format to a
wide array of devices," said Keith
Wymbs of Elemental.
He explains that not only do
different renditions of content need
to be created for various types of
devices, different versions of the
content must also be created
within a target device because of
the demands of adaptive streaming.
"In the case of the BBC iPlayer, our
cloud offering is used for breeding
all of the different renditions that
are required to reach a thousand
different devices."
There's been a move this year
from hardware-based solutions
to software and cloud-hosted
type scenarios. "Operators are
shying away from rigidity, they're
demanding a more flexible
architecture," said Gallipeau. "A
large part of what drove the
acquisition was a recognition that

Darren Gallipeau,
Imagine
Communications

"...Operators ...
are demanding
a more flexible
architecture

"

what Digital Rapids had achieved
with the Kayak framework - now
under Imagine Communications'
Xenio framework - is the ability to
create software-defined workflows
and networks."
Wymbs points to the amount of
cloud processing that was done
during this year's World Cup, which
was "orders of magnitude" more
than the 2012 London Olympics,
to show that the cloud has been
embraced for video processing.
"A lot of the multiscreen content we
were involved in on a global basis
was being processed in real-time
on Elemental cloud, whereas in the
past cloud processing was focused
around the packaging of the content,
delivery of the content."
Michel noticed the rise of cloud for
encoding, transcoding, packaging
and the setting up of an origin
service using cloud-based storage
providers during this year's NAB.
Akamai itself has developed a
cloud-based workflow and works
with partners like Aspera to make
the movement of content into a
cloud-based storage easy and fast.
"We can do all the transcoding and
the packaging, the reformatting of
the content on the fly as we deliver
the content, we just need to receive
the single master file and take care
of the rest."
Security throughout content
preparation and delivery is raised
as a concern by David Leporini at
Viaccess-Orca however, who warns
of a loss of control, depending on
what layer the cloud infrastructure is
used for. "When you are controlling
the SLA in terms of quality of
experience or security aspects it's
relatively easy, but we will probably
have some surprises as far as
security is concerned when big
services move to the cloud."

Delivering Content

Once the content is ready in the
right formats, it's about sending
it out in high quality to devices
ranging from mobiles and tablets
to fixed device platforms such
as hybrid STBs, while handling
bandwidth challenges.
The emergence of HEVC, though
not yet widely in use, is one of the
huge changes in this field. Often
credited with supporting the delivery
of 4K content in the broadcast
workflow, the successor of H.264
will play a major role in the delivery
of OTT content.
"I think a lot of people are thinking
about HEVC as 'the way 4K happens',
but it also makes it easier to deliver

high quality data more efficiently to
every device, it doesn't really have
to be at the highest resolution, every
resolution benefits from improved
compression," explained Michel.
Simon Frost of Ericsson feels that
most of this growth will be happily
fuelled by current compression
technologies such as MPEG-4. "I
think HEVC will have a key role to
play but the industry is not waiting
for HEVC to deploy, it's flourishing
quite well using current compression
technologies. What HEVC will bring
is an easing of the bottlenecks
to start with, as it will halve the
bandwidth and will reduce CDN
costs for content owners."
The evolution of adaptive
streaming and the emergence of
the MPEG-DASH standard have
been key elements to the evolution
of OTT content delivery. Nivedita
Nouvel at Broadpeak sees the
future of streaming as a mix of HLS
and MPEG-DASH.

Nivedita Nouvel,
Broadpeak

"...The uptake of
MPEG-DASH will
happen in a couple
of years' time

"

"The uptake of MPEG-DASH will
happen in a couple of years' time.
Developments in MPEG-DASH,
that are not available in the other
standards, could improve the quality
and interest of this new standard
as well for both operators and
broadcasters."
Nouvel sees the ability to load
balance traffic across different
CDNs as another major trend,
giving broadcasters the ability to
select a CDN provider based on
quality of service, geographic or
timeline criteria.
She also highlights the importance
of 'home orchestration' to combat
adaptive bitrate issues such as the
'pumping effect'. "When you have
various devices accessing content
in adaptive bitrate in an area such as
the home, the end user can notice
the quality of video fluctuating.
Home orchestration offers the ability
to maintain a stable level of quality."
CONTINUED ON PAGE 59


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - September 2014

In Broadcast - September 2014 - Intro
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 1
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 2
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 3
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 4
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 5
In Broadcast - September 2014 - 6
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In Broadcast - September 2014 - S1
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S2
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S3
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S4
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S5
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S6
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S7
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S8
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S9
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S10
In Broadcast - September 2014 - S11
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