Video: Deterministic Video Switching in IP Networks

The broadcast industry spent a lot of time getting synchronous cuts working in analogue and SDI. Now IP is being used more and more, there’s a question to be asked about whether video switching should be done in the network itself or at the video level within the receiver. Carl Ostrom from the VSF talks us through the pros and cons of video switching within the network itself along with Brad Gilmer

First off, switching video at a precise point within the stream is known as ‘deterministic switching’. The industry has become used to solid-state crosspoint switching which can be precisely timed so that the switch happens within the vertical blanking interval of the video providing a hitless switch. This isn’t a hitless switch in the meaning of SMPTE ST 2022-7 which allows kit to switch from one identical stream to another to deal with packet loss, this is switching between two different streams with, typically, different content. With the move to ST 2110, we have the option of changing the destination of packets on the fly which can achieve this same switching with the benefit of saving bandwidth. For a receiving device to do a perfect switch, it would need to be receiving both the original video and next video simultaneously, doubling the incoming bandwidth. Not only does this increase the bandwidth, but it can also lead to uneven bandwidth.

 

 

Carl’s open question to the webinar attendees is whether network switching is needed and invites Thomas Edwards from the audience to speak. Thomas has previously done a lot of work proposing switching techniques and has also demonstrated that the P4 programming language for switches can actually successfully manipulate SMPTE ST 2110 traffic in real-time as seen in this demo. Thomas comments that bandwidth within networks built for 2110 doesn’t seem to a problem so subscribing to two streams is working well. We hear further comments regarding network-based switching and complexity. possibly also driving up the costs of the switches themselves. Make before break can also be a simpler technology to fault find when a problem occurs.

Watch now!
Speakers

Carl Ostrom Carl Ostrom
Vice President,
VSF
Brad Gilmer Brad Gilmer
Executive Director, Video Services Forum
Executive Director, Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA)

Video: Solving the 8K distribution Challenge

With the Tokyo Olympics less than 2 weeks away, 8K is back in focus. NHK have famously been key innovators and promoters of 8K for many years, have launched an 8K channel on satellite and will be broadcasting the games in 8K. That’s all very well, but is 8K a viable broadcast format for other public and commercial broadcasters? One problem for 8K is how to get it to people. Whilst there are plenty of bandwidth problems to contend with during production, all of that will be for nought if we can’t get it to the customer.

This panel, run by the 8K Association in conjunction with SMPTE, looks to new codecs to help reduce the burden on connectivity whether RF or networks. The feeling is that HEVC just can’t deliver practical bandwidths, so what are the options? The video starts with Bill Mandel from Samsung introducing the topics of HDR display using HDR10+, streaming with CMAF and bandwidth. Bill discusses future connectivity improvements which should come into play and then looks at codec options.

 

 

Bill and Stephan Wenger give their view on the codecs which were explained in detail in this SMPTE deep dive video so do take a look at the article for more context. AV1 is the first candidate for 8K distribution that many think of since it is known to have better compression than HEVC and is even seeing some hardware support in TVs and is being trialled by YouTube. However, the trailer is 50Mbps and therefore not suitable for many connections. Looking at better performance, MPEG’s EVC is a potential candidate which offers continued improvement over AV1 and a better licensing model than HEVC. Stephan’s view on codecs is that users really don’t care what the codec is, they just need the service to work. He points towards VVC, the direct successor to HEVC, as a way forward for 8K since it delivers 40 to 50% bandwidth reduction opening up the possibility of a 25Mbps video channel. Noa published MPEG standard, the market awaits patent information and vendor implementations.

Stephan talks about MPEG’s LCEVC standard which has similarities to Samsung’s Scalenet which Bill introduced. The idea is to encode at a lower resolution and use upscaling to get the desired resolution using AI/machine learning to make the scaling look good and, certainly in the case of LCEVC, a low-bandwidth stream of enhancement data which adds in key parts of video, such as edges, which would otherwise be lost. Stephan says that he awaits implementations in the market to see how well this works. Certainly, taking into account LCEVC’s ability to produce compression using less computation, it may be an important way to bring 8K to some devices and STBs.

The discussion is rounded off by Mickael Raulet, CTO of ATEME who talks us through an end-to-end test broadcast done using VVC. This was delivered by satellite to set top boxes and over streaming with a UHD channel at 15Mbps. His take-away from the experience is that VVC is a viable option for broadcasters and 8K and may be possible with using EVC’s main profile. The video finishes with a Q&A covering:

  • Codecs for live video
  • The pros and cons of scaling in codecs
  • Codec licensing
  • Multiple generational encoding degeneration

     
     

    Watch now!
    Speakers

    Bill Mandel Bill Mandel
    VP, Industry Relations,
    Samsung Research America
    Mickaël Raulet Mickaël Raulet
    CTO,
    ATEME
    Chris Chinnock
    Executive Director,
    8K Association
    Stephan Wenger Stephan Wenger
    Senior Director, IP & Standards,
    Tencent
  • Video: ST 2110 Over WAN — The Conclusion of Act 1

    Is SMPTE ST 2110 suitable for inter-site connectivity over the WAN? ST 2110 is putting the early adopter phase behind it with more and more installations and OB vans bringing 2110 into daily use yet most sites works independently. The market is already seeing a strong need to continue to derive cost and efficiency savings from the infrastructure in the larger broadcasters who have multiple facilities spread around one country or even in many. To do this, though there are a number of challenges still to be overcome and moving a large number of essence flows long distances and between PTP time domains is one of them.

    Nevion’s Andy Rayner is chair of the VSF Activity Group looking into transporting SMPTE ST 2110 over WAN and is here to give an update on the achievements of the past two years. He underlines that the aim of the ST 2110 over WAN activity group is to detail how to securely share media and control between facilities. The key scenarios being considered are 1) special events/remote production/REMIs. 2) Facility sharing within a company. 3) Sharing facilities between companies. He also notes that there is a significant cross over in this work and that happening in the Ground-Cloud-Cloud-Ground (GCCG) activity group which is also co-chairs.
     

     

    The group has produced drafts of two documents under TR-09. The first, TR-09-01 discusses the data plane and has been largely discussed previously. It defines data protection methods as the standard 2022-7 which uses multiple, identical, flows to deal with packet loss and also a constrained version of FEC standard ST 2022-5 which provides a low-latency FEC for the protection of individual data streams.

    GRE trunking over RTP was previously announced as the recommended way to move traffic between sites, though Andy notes that no one aspect of the document is mandatory. The benefits of using a trunk are that all traffic is routed down the same path which helps keep the propagation delay for each essence identical, bitrate is kept high for efficient application of FEC, the workflow and IT requirements are simpler and finally, the trunk has now been specified so that it can transparently carry ethernet headers between locations.

    Andy also introduces TR-09-02 which talks about sharing of control. The control plane in any facility is not specified and doesn’t have to be NMOS. However NMOS specifications such IS-04 and IS-05 are the basis chosen for control sharing. Andy describes the control as providing a constrained NMOS interface between autonomous locations and discusses how it makes available resources and metadata to the other location and how that location then has the choice of whether or not to consume the advertised media and control. This allows facilities to pick and choose what is shared.

    Watch now!
    Speakers

    Andy Rayner Andy Rayner
    Chief Technologist, Nevion,
    Chair, WAN IP Activity Group, VSF

    Video: Telenor, DR & SVT – Platform modernisation & open source transcoding

    In this triple play of short presentations, we hear about three Nordic companies’ work to improve, react to changing conditions and to stay relevant through modernising their whole platform, launching new products and developing improved transcoding.

    Telenor’s Geir Inge Fevang and Stein Lindman-Johannesen speak first introducing us to the work done to launch fully launch the ‘T-We’ streaming service which provides live and VoD streaming anywhere you are. Delivering this service was not without its challenges, they explain, because several years ago they realised that their current system was too much based in delivery of broadcast television to be relevant to streaming and the complexity of the system was very high. Overall this led to reduced agility in the product offering and would be the cause of a growing divergence between what Telenor could offer and what the Norwegian public would be expecting. This prompted them to modernise the whole TV chain.

    Decommissioning is one way to simplify your video delivery system and Telenor was not shy to do this, decommissioning both analogue TV, their Smartvision platform and their satellite distribution/syndication platform which shared channels with third parties. All the remaining viewers would then be brought under the output of a new project to bring a new user experience. This was done by launching a new set-top box and updating the software on the existing deployed STBs to bring it in line, as much as possible, with the new service. By launching new clients for mobile and web and modernising the back-end video delivery stack. Geir and Stein wrap up their segment discussing how customer satisfaction varied throughout this experience and the learnings they’ve collected along the way.

     

     

    Troels Hauch Tornmark from DR presents next talking about two recent product launches one of which, he says, was a miss and one a hit. Being a public broadcaster, they have a continuing need to keep quality high and bring television to the public. One way to bring television to the public, explains Troels, is to allow it to follow you as you move around Europe. The EU portability regulation provides a legal framework and motivation to allow streaming services to continue providing you access even when you are abroad. DR felt this would be an important and valued option for Danish ex-pats and holidaymakers alike so they commissioned a project to make this a reality based on a national Danish identity system. This was given a ‘silent’ launch because project completion finished last year during the pandemic-related lockdowns. In contrast, Troels details a co-watching product that was perfect for lockdown which they have launched allowing shared, synchronised viewing of programmes no matter where you are putting text chat alongside the video and ensuring when one person needs to pause, everyone is paused too. This has now been spun out into its own company called flinge.

    Finally, Olof Lindman from Sweden’s SVT talks about Encore, their in-house system which streamlines transcoding and has improved the visual quality of their VoD service. As a response to their previous transcoding software which became end-of-life, SVT trialled using FFmpeg to transcode assets and were very pleased with the results. This led to the creation of the Encore product which brings together in-house programming from SVT with open-source tools like FFmpeg, MediaInfo and many more to deliver a transcoding platform that features queuing of incoming jobs with three priority levels, flexible transcoding using a mixture of templates in response to the media being transcoded, prioritised transcoding whereby the simplest AVC profiles are published first with more advanced audio and HEVC versions being encoded and published at a later point in time when resources allow.

    SVT have decided open source Encore which they hope will see continued development from a wider community. So far they have benefitted from the platform as they now have more control and flexibility than before as well as a much better quality of video output.

    Watch now!
    Speakers

    Geir Inge Fevang Geir Inge Fevang
    Head of Streaming & TV,
    Telenor
    Stein Lindman-Johannesen Stein Lindman-Johannesen
    Head of Content & Recommendations,
    Telenor
    Troels Hauch Tornmark Troels Hauch Tornmark
    Product Manager,
    DRTV
    Olof Lindman Olof Lindman
    Video R&D Engineer,
    SVT