Video: Non-standard Codecs with Standard WebRTC

WebRTC is used on a massive scale thanks to Facebook messenger and Google, but when it comes to video streaming services, some find its open source codec VP8 too restrictive. WebRTC is actively evolving to adapt and become codec agnostic though this work is ongoing. In the meantime, Comcast is here to show us there is a way to inject the codec of your choice into WebRTC.

Finding that many of their video capture devices, CCTV cameras and the like, had hardware AVC encoders, Bryan Meissner explains Comcast didn’t feel it had much of a choice in codec, therefore they looked for a way to make WebRTC to carry AVC.

While forcing an unsupported codec into a protocol wasn’t ideal, they were able to leave much of WebRTC unchanged. The RTP and Data channels were established as normal and peering continued to work as ever. With control of both the send and receive side, the team found they could pick out the data from the WebRTC stack ahead of the normal decoder and feed that into Exoplayer using its API. This allowed playback on Android devices. Bryan goes on to explain the approach for iOS and web browsers. As WebRTC is ‘baked in’ to browsers, there really are very few ways to change the signal flow.

At the end of the day, Comcast made this work and used it in production or many years, Jeff Cardillo explains as he wraps up this video. But he also takes time to talk through some of the problems. Having to bypass parts of a program with parts of another library does increase complexity. Not only does the code become more complex but the code becomes platform specific, you need control over the source and keeping the individual parts synchronously up to date can be a balancing act.

Jeff finishes this talk from Demuxed SF 2019 by elaborating on the mobile and browser tradeoffs at play.

Watch now!
Speakers

Bryan Meissner Bryan Meissner
Sr. Director Software Development and Engineering,
Comcast
Jeff Cardillo Jeff Cardillo
Principal Software Engineer,
Comcast Interactive Media

Webinar: Broadcaster VOD: Delivering the next-generation of catch-up viewing

With Amazon, Netflix and so many other VOD services available, broadcasters like the BBC and Discovery are investing a lot in their own VOD services, known as Broadcaster VOD (BVOD) in order to maintain relevance, audiences and revenue.

Commercial broadcasters such as Sky, ITV and Channel 4 are trying hard to attract advertisers and “have all launched new ad formats, struck deals with ad tech vendors to build marketplaces and set up programmatic teams to manage them” according to a report from digiday.com. As such this means that the battle for advertisers wallets is moving more towards VOD from linear.

Date: Thursday 30 January, 14:00 GMT / 9 a.m. ET

With this in mind, IBC365 will discuss the business models, platforms and strategies being used by BVOD platforms. They will look at the BBC’s move to build a deep content library of free-to-view box sets, and to the importance of data, personalisation and addressable advertising models.

Further more, this webinar will talk about the commercial and technical requirements to build a BVOD to a standard that’s going to stand on its own in this increasingly crowded, but well-funded marketplace.

Register now!
Speakers

Richard Davidson-Houston Richard Davidson-Houston
Founder,
Finally Found Ltd.
Roma Kojima Roma Kojima
Senior Director OTT Video (CBC Gem),
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Niels Baas Niels Baas
Managing Director, NLZIET

Webinar: Securing Live Streams

Piracy in France cost €1.2bn in 2017 and worldwide the loss has been valued up to US$52 billion. Even if these numbers are inflated, over-counted or similar, it’s clear there is a lot of money at stake in online streaming. There are a number of ways of getting to protect your content, encryption, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and tokenisation are three key ones and this webinar will examine what works best in the real world.

All these technologies used together don’t always stop piracy 100%, but they can significantly impact the ease of pirating and the quality of the final material.

Date: Thursday January 30th – 10a.m. PT / 1p.m. / 18:00 GMT

It’s important to understand the difference between encryption and Digital Rights Management. In general DRM relies on encryption, whereby encryption is a way of making sure that decodable video only lands in the hands of people who have been given the encryption key. This means that people who are snooping on traffic between the video provider and consumer can’t see what the video is and can be accomplished in a similar way to secure web pages which are secured against eavesdroppers. The problem with encryption is, however, that it doesn’t intrinsically decide who is allowed to decode the video meaning anyone with the decryption key can video the content. Often this is fine, but if you want to run a pay-TV service, even ignoring content, it’s much better to target customer by customer who can video the video. And this is where DRM comes in.

DRM is multi-faceted and controls the way in which consumers can view/use the content as much as whether they can access it to start with. DRM, for instance, can determine that a display device can show the work, but a recorder is not allowed to make a recording. It can also determine access based on location. Another aspect of DRM is tracking in the form of insertion of watermarks and metadata which mean that if a work is pirated, there is a way to work back to the original subscriber to determine the source of the leak.

Tokenisation is a method in which the player requests access to the material and is passed a token, by means of a response from the server after it has checked if the player is allowed access. Because of the way this token is created, it is not possible for another player to use it to access the content which means that sharing a URI won’t allow another user access to the video. Without some form of access control, once one subscriber has received a URI to access the video, they could pass that to another user who could also then access it.

What’s the best way to use these technologies? What are the pros and cons and what are the other methods of securing media? These questions and more will be discussed in this Streaming Video Alliance webinar on January 30th.

Register now!
Speakers

Peter Cossack Peter Cossack
Vice President Cybersecurity services,
Irdeto
Kei Foo Kei Foo
Director of Advanced Video Engineering,
Charter Communications
Orly Amsalem Orly Amsalem
Product Manager, AI/ML based video security and anti-piracy solutions ,
Synamedia
Marvin Van Schalkwyk Marvin Van Schalkwyk
Senior Solutions Architect,
FriendMTS
Jason Thibeault Jason Thibeault
Executive Director,
Streaming Media Alliance

Video: Delivering Better Manifests with Effective VMAF

Measuring video quality is done daily around the world between two video assets. But what happens when you want to take the aggregate quality of a whole manifest? With VMAF being a well regarded metric, how can we use that in an automatic way to get the overview we need?

In this talk, Nick Chadwick from Mux shares the examples and scripts he’s been using to analyse videos. Starting with an example where everything is equal other than quality, he explains the difficulties in choosing the ‘better’ option when the variables are much less correlated. For instance, Nick also examines the situations where a video is clearly better, but where the benefit is outweighed by the minimal quality benefit and the disproportionately high bitrate requirement.

So with all of this complexity, it feels like comparing manifests may be a complexity too far, particularly where one manifest has 5 renditions, the other only 4. The question being, how do you create an aggregate video quality metric and determine whether that missing rendition is a detriment or a benefit?

Before unveiling the final solution, Nick makes the point of looking at how people are going to be using the service. Depending on the demographic and the devices people tend to use for that service, you will find different consumption ratios for the various parts of the ABR ladder. For instance, some services may see very high usage on 2nd screens which, in this case, may take low-resolution video and also lot of ‘TV’ size renditions at 1080p50 or above with little in between. Similarly other services may seldom ever see the highest resolutions being used, percentage-wise. This shows us that it’s important not only to look at the quality of each rendition but how likely it is to be seen.

To bring these thoughts together into a coherent conclusion, Nick unveils an open-source analyser which takes into account not only the VMAF score and the resolution but also the likely viewership such that we can now start to compare, for a given service, the relative merits of different ABR ladders.

The talk ends with Nick answering questions on the tendency to see jumps between different resolutions – for instance if we over-optimise and only have two renditions, it would be easy to see the switch – how to compare videos of different resolutions and also on his example user data.

Watch now!
Speakers

Nick Chadwick Nick Chadwick
Software Engineer,
Mux