Video: DASH Updates

MPEG DASH is a standardised method for encapsulating media for streaming similar to Apple’s HLS. Based on TCP, MPEG DASH is a widely compatible way of streaming video and other media over the internet.

MPEG DASH is now on its 3rd edition, its first standard being in 2011. So this talk starts by explaining what’s new as of July 2019 in this edition. Furthermore, there are amendments already worked on which are soon to add more features.

Iraj Sodagar explains Service Descriptors which will be coming that allow the server to encapsulate metadata for the player which describes how the publisher intended to show the media. Maximum and minimum latency and quality is specified. for instance. The talk explains how these are used and why they are useful.

Another powerful metadata feature is the Initialization Set, Group and Presentation which gives the decoder a ‘heads up’ on what the next media will need in terms of playback. This allows the player to politely decline to play the media if it can’t display it. For instance, if a decoder doesn’t supply AV1, this can be identified before needing to attempt a decode or download a chunk.

Iraj then explains what will be in the 4th edition including the above, signalling leap seconds and much more. This should be published over the next few months.

Amendement 1 is working towards a more accurate timing model of events and defining a specific DASH profile for CMAF (the low-latency streaming technology based on DASH) which Iraj explains in detail.

Finishing off with session based DASH operations, a look over the DASH workplan/roadmap, ad insertion, event and timed metadata processing, this is a great, detailed look at the DASH of today and of 2020.

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Speaker

Iraj Sodagar Iraj Sodagar
Independant Consultant

Video: Digital transformation of Media and Entertainment businesses

Many people have little free time so there is hot competition amongst entertainment services for those precious minutes.

Red Bee Media’s Steve Russell explains how they have moved to a service based model for their platform which allows a single platform to be used by many customers. This allows them to focus on a single platform, making sure this can quickly iterate and provide new services the moment their customers think of them.

Simon Eldridge from SDVI tells us about he’s bringing manufacturing methodologies to the media industry allowing companies to work much more efficiently and Bill Gash talks about about how pay TV, mobile and Telco operators are consolidating to have the power to push back against the internet giants by combining customer attention, spending power and quality of customer experience.

The panel conversation starts discussing the ‘dark’ episode of The Game of Thrones which led to many complaints when viewers watched the episode in environments and on displays which didn’t show enough contrast – unlike the monitors in the grading suite – leading to people being unable to see what’s happening in parts of the episode. Quality of experience, says Bill Gash, is very difficult and the broadness of what constitutes quality of experience can be big challenge for producers who are new to directly delivering to the viewer.

Adapt and evolve is the ‘product management’ approach to launching services, explains Steve Russell, which bucks the trend of launching services which used to take a lot of Capex and a long project to set up. The more recent priorities are speed to market and constant iterations to improve the service.

iflix is a great example of an innovative service which has managed to achieve scale, from 50,000 to, now, 25 million subscribers in less than 3 years. Bill Gash gives this and other examples such as Formula 1, which show the possibilities of growing into and entering this larger market. This shows it’s not just about large players hitting back against the internet giants, but also a recognition that innovating can allow you to take those subs and those ‘minutes of attention’ away from other services.

The panel, from the Content Everywhere Hub, finishes by discussing the importance of adapting to the countries you’re operating it and by identifying the key advice for anyone developing their service in this market.

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Speakers

Steve Russell Steve Russell
Head of Media Management & OTT Portfolio,
Red Bee
Tim Mulligan Tim Mulligan
Executive Vice President and Research Director
MIDiA Research
Simon Eldridge Simon Eldridge
Chief Product Officer,
SDVI
Bill Gash Bill Gash
EMEA Sales Director
CSG Ascendon

Video: Towards a healthy AV1 ecosystem for UGC platforms


Twitch is an ambassador for new codecs and puts its money where its mouth is; it is one of the few live streaming platforms which streams with VP9 – and not only at, with cloud FPGA acceleration thanks to Xylinx’s acquisition of NGCODEC.

As such, they have a strong position on AV1. With such a tech savvy crowd, they stream most of their videos at the highest bitrate (circa 6mbps). With millions of concurrent videos, they are highly motivated to reduce bandwidth where they can and finding new codecs is one way to do that.

Principal Research Engineer, Yueshi discusses Twitch’s stance on AV1 and the work they are doing to contribute in order to get the best product at the end of the process which will not only help them, but the worldwide community. He starts by giving an overview of Twitch which, while many of us are familiar with the site, the scale and needs of the site may be new information and drive the understanding of the rest of the talk.

Reduction in bitrate is a strong motivator, but also the fact that supporting many codecs is a burden. AV1 promises a possibility of reducing the number of supported codecs/formats. Their active contribution in AV1 is also determined by the ‘hand wave’ latency; a simple method of determining the approximate latency of a link which is naturally very important to a live streaming platform. This led to Twitch submitting a proposal for SWITCH_FRAME which is a technique, accepted in AV1, which allows more frequent changes by the player between the different quality/bitrate streams available. This results in a better experience for the user and also reduced bitrate/buffers.

YueShi then looks at the projected AV1 deployment roadmap and discusses when GPU/hardware support will be available. The legal aspect of AV1 – which promises to be a free-to-use codec is also discussed with the news that a patent pool has formed around AV1.

The talk finishes with a Q&A.

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Speakers

Yueshi Shen Yueshi Shen
Principal (Level 7) Research Engineer & Engineering Manager,
Twitch

Video: BBC Cardiff Central Square – Update

It’s being closely watched throughout the industry, a long-in-the-making project to deploy SMPTE ST 2110 throughout a fully green-field development. Its failure would be a big setback for the push to a completely network-based broadcast workflow.

The BBC Cardiff Central Square project is nearing completion now and is a great example of the early-adopter approach to bringing cutting-edge, complex, large-scale projects to market. They chose a single principle vendor so that they could work closely in partnership at a time when the market for ST 2110 was very sparse. This gave them leverage over the product roadmap and allowed to the for the tight integration which would be required to bring this project to market.

Nowadays, the market for ST 2110 products continues to mature and whilst it has still quite a way to go, it has also come a long way in the past four years. Companies embarking similar projects now have a better choice of products and some may now feel they can start to pick ‘best of breed’ rather than taking the BBC approach. Whichever approach is taken there is still a lot to be gained by following and learning from the mistakes and successes of others. Fortunately, Mark Patrick, Lead Architect on the project is here to provide an update on the project.

Mark starts by giving and overview of the project, its scale and its aims. He presents the opportunities and challenges it presents and the key achievements and milestones passed to date.

Live IP has benefits and risks. Mark takes some time to explain the benefits of the flexibility and increasingly lower cost of the infrastructure and weighs them agains the the risks which include the continually developing standards and skills challenges

The progress overview names Grass Vally as the main vendor, control via BNCS having being designed and virtualised, ST 2110 network topology deployed and now the final commissioning and acceptance testing is in progress.

The media topology for the system uses an principal of an A and a B network plus a separate control network. It’s fundamentally a leaf and spine network and Mark shows how this links in to both the Grass Valley equipment but also the audio equipment via Dante and AES67. Mark takes some time to discuss the separate networks they’ve deployed for the audio part of the project, driven by compatibility issues but also within the constraints of this project, it was better to separate the networks rather than address the changes necessary to force them together.

PTP timing is discussed with a nod to the fact that PTP design can be difficult and that it can be expensive too. NMOS issues are also actively being worked on and remains an outstanding issue in terms of getting enough vendors to support it, but also having compatible systems once an implementation is deployed. This has driven the BBC to use NMOS in a more limited way than desired and creating fall-back systems.

From this we can deduce, if it wasn’t already understood, that interoperability testing is a vital aspect of the project, but Mark explains that formalised testing (i.e. IT-style automated) is really important in creating a uniform way of ensuring problems have been fully addressed and there are no regressions. ST 2110 systems are complex and fault finding can be similarly complex and time consuming.

Mark leaves us by explaining what keeps him awake at night which includes items such as lack of available test equipment, lack of single-stream UHD support and NMOS which leads him to a few comments on ST 2110 readiness such as the need for vendors to put much more effort into configuration and management tools.

Anyone with an interest in IP in broadcast will be very grateful at Mark’s, and the BBC’s, willingness to share the project’s successes and challenges in such a constructive way.

Watch now!

Speaker

Mark Patrick Mark Patrick
Lead Architect,
BBC Major Projects Infrastructure