Multi-screen Video Processing

Multi-screen TV is approaching a tipping point now as the Pay TV pioneers look to expand their offers to cover more channels as well as more devices, and more service providers launch TV Everywhere packages. One of the important tasks for many operators walking around IBC this year is to work out how they can scale their multi-screen services beyond a sub-set of the channels they offer on the set-top box. Ultimately consumers will expect all their channels on all screens, of course.

Ericsson Harnesses Hardware and Software to Support More Channels
Ericsson is using IBC to highlight the scalability issue and has two new products that it believes will help operators expand their offers. These are the Ericsson SPR1200 Multiscreen Stream Processor, a true hardware approach to multi-screen compression, and the Ericsson NPR1200 Multiscreen Network Processor, a dense software-based adaptive streaming segmentation and encryption processor, designed to track dynamic updates in adaptive streaming formats and DRM systems associated with the needs of delivery to different types of devices.

The combined solution enables high quality and cost-effective processing of hundreds of channels into thousands of adaptive streaming profiles, the company says. It claims the SPR1200 and NPR1200 represent the most powerful and flexible solution for the growing multi-screen market.

Ericsson’s ConsumerLab research shows that 93% of consumers still watch linear TV and will continue to do so. “The expectation by consumers for multi-screen TV is that all of their content choices available in the home on the large screen will also be available on every screen,” it adds.

RGB has Multi-platform Headend for Large and Mid-sized Deployments
Meanwhile, RGB Networks claims that the combination of its Video Multiprocessing Gateway (VMG) (a carrier-class platform for multi-screen video delivery) and its adaptive streaming solution, the TransAct Packager, provides the most scalable solution available for deployment of advanced IP video services to any device, enabling operators to go straight from trial to deployment.

The company recently added a new member to the VMG product family, in the form of the VMG-8, which it says is ideal for small to medium-sized deployments or deployments at the edge. This product inherits the field-proven transcoding, transrating, ad insertion and other advanced video processing capabilities of the VMG family and packages them in a new 7RU high carrier-grade chassis. The VMG-8 holds up to eight modules and provides a compact alternative to RGB’s larger VMG-14.

In its fully redundant configuration the VMG-8 can be configured with three video transcoder modules, one audio transcoder module and a single controller module for transcoding programmes to over 140 streams for delivery to any IP-enabled device. In this redundant configuration, each module type has a back-up which can take over operation should the primary fail. Complementing its module redundancy, the VMG-8’s reliability is further enhanced with back-up power supplies and cooling fans which automatically take over if a primary unit fails.

Like the company’s VMG-14, the VMG-8 also benefits from recent enhancements to the TCM transcoder module, enabling transcoding of up to 60 SD or HD inputs and 240 adaptive bitrate outputs per VMG-8 chassis. The VMG-14 can now support up to 132 SD or HD inputs and 528 outputs per chassis.

Harmonic Supports Live and File-based Multi-screen Delivery
Harmonic is also focusing on the needs of content distributors and creators as they deliver more of their content to more screens. The company recently announced the ProMedia family of software solutions for optimizing live and file-based multi-screen video production and processing. The ProMedia family performs a broad range of functions, including transcoding, packaging and origination to enable high-quality video creation and delivery of live streaming, live-to-VOD, and VOD services to TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones and other IP-connected devices. ProMedia is also considered an ideal solution for content creation in file-based workflows such as tapeless production environments.

The ProMedia family provides a suite of software products that can be deployed individually or as an end-to-end video processing solution, offering great flexibility. This solution is also integrated with leading DRM systems, asset management systems and content distribution networks, in addition to other Harmonic products including encoders, receivers, playout servers, and storage.

The ProMedia family leverages Harmonic’s strong H.264 video codec expertise and is based on the same intellectual property behind Harmonic's Electra encoders. The family includes ProMedia Live for real-time video processing and transcoding, featuring enhanced H.264 video codec technology developed by Harmonic and optimized for creating high-quality Internet video streams.

Another important product in the family is ProMedia Package, a carrier-grade adaptive streaming preparation system for secure, high-value Internet video services. ProMedia Package supports numerous HTTP streaming protocol standards and is capable of packaging in multiple output formats from a single video source, enabling a more scalable, distributed architecture.

Envivio Helps Move Content Package and Delivery to the Edge
Envivio has introduced a number of notable new products for multi-screen TV. These are the Halo Network Media Processor (NMP), 4Caster C4 Gen III multi-screen encoder, and the Envivio Genesis universal mezzanine output format.

Halo NMP enables operators to shift their content packaging and delivery processing to the edges of their existing video distribution infrastructure. “Moving these operations makes it possible to add support for delivering high quality, protected video to new devices without altering the headend,” Envivio declares. “Halo NMP complements existing broadcast infrastructure and simplifies distribution to the latest smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and PCs.”

Halo lets operators take advantage of the Genesis universal output format to control the bandwidth demands multi-screen TV makes on backbone networks. Genesis merges the bitrates and resolutions needed to deliver adaptive streams for major standards and technologies into a single, efficient output format. Envivio claims the result is a reduction of as much as 50% in the bandwidth demands multi-screen TV makes on backbone resources.

Video headends powered by the Envivio 4Caster C4 family of encoders provide support for the full spectrum of IPTV, Internet TV, mobile TV, cable, satellite and terrestrial applications. They enable operators to support the growing variety of formats needed to deliver video to any device at any time, including simultaneous video delivery from a single encoder to digital set-top boxes, connected TVs, PCs and Macs, as well as tablets and mobile screens.

Imagine Communications Supports 1,000 Multi-profile Transcoders
Imagine Communications will showcase its ICE Streaming System for streaming live multi-format video to multiple tablets. ICE is a new network-side transcoding platform that allows multi-screen service providers to deliver what it claims is uncompromised video quality across multiple devices with unmatched compression efficiency. The ICE Streaming System supports up to 1,000 stream-aligned, multi-profile transcodes from a single carrier-class blade system platform.

The ICE Streaming System is based on Imagine's widely deployed ICE Video Platform and combines picture quality, scalability and full support for integrated fragmentation, encryption and HTTP streaming.

ISILON and ATEME Partner to Boost Media Processing Performance
On the eve of IBC, ATEME announced that it has partnered with ISILON to support high performance content processing for video delivery to multiple screens. This results from the combination of the ISILON IQ Series NAS storage and ATEME’s TITAN File transcoding platform. The TITAN video processing speed is enhanced by ultra-fast storage. Meanwhile more content titles can be stored thanks to the superior compression efficiency of TITAN.

The companies say the partnership dramatically simplifies the operational challenges of multi-screen transcoding workflows. “Installed in a matter of hours, the solution scales out linearly with the expansion of the content catalogue, the migration to HD, or as new output formats are added to support more viewing devices. It takes only minutes to add transcoding blades or storage capacity: there is no need for re-design and no downtime.”

The combination of ISILON IQ NAS Storage and the ATEME TITAN transcoder is proven and delivers content for more than 40 million pay TV subscribers worldwide already. The partnership, announced in late August, will make it easy for many more service operators to access the solution as they move from tape to file based workflows or enhance their VOD offerings.

By John Moulding, Videonet