Broadpeak’s ‘ABR Multicast’ Overcomes Hurdles of Live Streaming TV

– Could Help Pay TV Providers Launch 4K Video Services, Too

Broadpeak has developed an easier way for broadband/pay TV providers to deliver a live multi-screen streaming TV experience to users using the home network. The solution utilizes the existing broadband network and will help operators launch live streaming linear TV services and even 4K services without needing to give their networks a major upgrade.

“OTT is clearly the trend,” said Nivedita Nouvel, VP of marketing at Broadpeak, told The Online Reporter. “Within this context, there is one big difference between IPTV and OTT: Live content.”

Live streaming content presents unique challenges in over-the-top delivery. Live content, particularly large tentpole events such as sporting games, concerts and political debates, draw millions of viewers during peak viewing times.

 

London Olympics

A ‘tentpole’ event like the Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, will draw millions of live viewers

 

In an OTT service, these viewers are all individually accessing the same content, which translates into millions of unicast streams delivering the same package.

IPTV, on the other hand, uses multicast technology to deliver content to viewers, which means the resources of the network will be used only once for delivering video content, and viewers join the channel to access the content via a set-top box (STB) that can receive the multicast stream.

For OTT services, the devices are varied, and typically none of them can receive a multicast IP stream. “If you have 10,000 people watching, you will use 10,000 times the resources,” Nouvel said. “This is really an issue for OTT when it comes to live content. When you have millions of people watching the same content [across devices], they require a huge amount of bandwidth in the operator’s network.”

Broadpeak is using IPTV’s multicast in an over-the-top setting. “This is broadcast for the IP network,” she said. Broadpeak has one operator deploying the technology.

There are two pieces to Broadpeak’s live multi-screen OTT solution: a nanoCDN technology that utilizes the broadband network and home gateway; and an adaptive bitrate (ABR) multicast technology that enables live video content to be delivered to millions of homes without any peak demand issues associated with Internet unicast delivery.

“We have built this technology with one thing in mind,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to do anything at the level of the device.”

Broadpeak’s solution places a “transcaster” server at the operator’s head end, right after the encoder, which takes ABR content at the input and “encapsulates this into a multicast stream it will deliver it down to the home gateway that is controlled by the operator,” Nouvel said.

The multicast stream is transported to the customers’ homes and then converted back into a unicast stream through a special application on the customer’s home gateway, modem or STB. The solution does not affect any encoding or digital rights management system attached to the content. Viewers can then access the live content on a variety of connected devices through the home Wi-Fi network.

Nouvel noted that most content watched on connected devices is done in the house. “The technology is even more interesting when we’re talking about connected TVs,” she said. “These are the ones that have the most to benefit from this technology. They can access 4K content with this technology using a ….

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