Video: Broadcast and OTT monitoring: The challenge of multiple platforms


Is it possible to monitor OTT services to the same standard as traditional broadcast services? How can they be visualised, what are the challenges and what makes monitoring streaming services different?

As with traditional broadcast, some broadcasters outsource the distribution of streaming services to third parties. Whilst this can work well in broadcast, there any channel would be missing out on a huge opportunity if they didn’t also monitor some analytics of the viewer using their streaming service. So, to some extent, a broadcaster always wants to look at the whole chain. Even when the distribution is not outsourced and the OTT system has been developed and is run by the broadcaster, at some point a third party will have to be involved and this is typically the CDN and/or Edge network. A broadcaster would do well to monitor the video provided at all points through the chain including right up to the edge.

The reason for monitoring is to keep viewers happy and, by doing so, reduce churn. When you have analytics from a player telling you something isn’t right, it’s only natural to want too find out what went wrong and to know that, you will need monitoring in your distribution chain. When you have that monitoring, you can be much more pro-active in resolving issues and improve your service overall.

Jeff Herzog from Verizon Digital Media Services explains ways to achieve this and the benefits it can bring. After a primer on HLS streaming, he explains ways to monitor the video itself and also how to monitor everything but the video as a light-touch monitoring solution.

Jeff explains that because HLS is based on playlists and files being available, you can learn a lot about your service just by monitoring these small text files, parsing them and checking that all the files it mentions are available with minimal wait times. By doing this and other tricks, you can successfully gauge how well your service is working without the difficulty of dealing with large volumes of video data. The talk finishes with some examples of what this monitoring can look like in action.

This talk was given at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference 2018.
For more OTT videos, check out The Broadcast Knowledge’s Youtube OTT playlist.
Speakers

Jeff Herzog Jeff Herzog
Senior Product Manger, Video Monitoring & Compliance,
Verizon Digital Media Services

Video: Broadcast Channel Origination as a Service: from Concept to Operational Implementation

Playout out entire channels from the cloud helps to decrease the number of ingress and egress points to/from the cloud is a general way of maximising the value of cloud workflows.

This talk from the 2018 SMPTE conference is a case study of putting PBS channel origination in the cloud. John McCoskey starts by explaining the motivations and context prompting this move to the cloud – not least of these was Discovery’s move putting nearly all its channels in the cloud globally.

Ron Clifton then takes us through the typical system diagram for a channel both the traditional system and how that changes when implemented in the cloud. He discusses the technical abilities of what they have built including additional benefits and then goes on to discuss the PoC.

An interesting slide is Ron’s comparison of Cloud Connectivity Options where he compares the pros and cons (cost, jitter, security etc.) of the various types of connectivity into the cloud. This shows the trade offs – effectively business decisions – that need to be made when deploying.

The Q&A covers reliability of public cloud internal networks, frame accurate switching, latency, ASTC gateway locations, geo-diversity, systems monitoring and others.

Watch now!

Speakers

John McCoskey John McCoskey
Former Industry Lead Executive,
Eagle Hill Consulting
Ron Clifton Ron Clifton
President & Founder,
CliftonGroup

Video: Google Next 19 – Building a Next-Generation Streaming Platform with Sky

Google Cloud, also called GCP – Google Cloud Platform, continues to invest in Media & Entertainment at a time when many broadcasters, having completed their first cloud projects, are considering ways to ensure they are not beholden to any one cloud provider.

Google’s commitment is evident in their still-recent appointment of ex-Discovery CTO John Honeycutt, this month’s announcement of Viacom’s Google Cloud adoption and the launch of their ‘deploy on any cloud platform’ service called Anthos (official site)

So it’s no surprise that, here, Google asked UK broadcaster Sky and their technology partner for the project, Harmonic Inc., to explain how they’ve been delivering channels in the cloud and cutting costs.

Melika Golkaram from Google Cloud sets the scene by explaining some of the benefits of Google Cloud for Media and Entertainment making it clear that, for them, M&E business isn’t simply a ‘nice to have’ on the side of being a cloud platform. Highlighting their investment in undersea cable and globally-distributed edge servers among the others, Melika hands over to Sky’s Jeff Webb to talk about how Sky have leveraged the platform.

Jeff explains some of the ways that Sky deals with live sports. Whilst sports require high quality video, low latency workflows and have high peak live-streaming audiences, they can also cyclical and left unused between events. High peak workload and long times of equipment left fallow play directly into the benefits of cloud. So we’re not surprised when Jeff says it halved the replacement cost of an ageing system, rather, we want to know more about how they did it.

The benefits that Sky saw revolve around fault healing, geographic resilience, devops, speed of deployment, improved monitoring including more options to leverage open source. Jeff describes these, and other, drivers before mentioning the importance of the ability to move this system between on-premise and different cloud providers.

Before handing over to Harmonic’s Moore Macauley, we’re shown the building blocks of the Sky Sports F1 channel in the cloud and discuss ways that fault healing happens. Moore then goes on to show how Harmonic harnessed their ‘VOS’ microservices platform which deals with ingest, compression, encryption, packaging and origin servers. Harmonic delivered this using GTK, Google Cloud’s Kubernetes deployment platform in multiple regions for fault testing, to allow for A/B testing and much more.

Let’s face it, even after all this time, it can still be tricky getting past the hype of cloud. Here we get a glimpse of a deployed-in-real-life system which not only gives an insight into how these services can (and do) work, but it also plots another point on the graph showing major broadcasters embracing cloud, each in their own way.

Watch now!

Speakers

Jeff Webb Jeff Webb
Principal Streaming, Architect
Sky
Moore Macauley Moore Macauley
Director, Product Architecture
Harmonic
Melika Golkram Melika Golkram
Customer Engineer,
Google Cloud Media

Webinar: Transforming creative workflows: Making great content in the cloud

Join IBC365 on Thursday 25 April at 4pm BST to explore why creators are turning to cloud to transform the way they make great content and how virtualised workflows are unlocking the ability to work in new ways: faster, more collaborative, more efficient and more creative.

This webinar goes inside some of the world’s leading content creators, production and post-production operations to hear how they are embracing cloud technology to transform the creative processes used to make, produce and deliver video.

The webinar will cover ways in which cloud is enabling more collaboration, access to more talent, round-the-clock working, more content security, and slicker workflows. There’s also a dose of reality, as the human and technology challenges and the potential pitfalls of virtualising creative workflows are explored.

Case studies focus on using cloud for:
•Streamlining content creation in the field
•Transforming production and post-production processes
•Efficient content delivery and backhaul

Register now!

Speakers

Jeremy Smith Jeremy Smith
Chief Technology Officer,
Jellyfish Pictures
Laura Cotteril Laura Cotterill
Founder & Managing Director
LCTV
Spencer Stephens Spencer Stephens
TechXMedia

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