Video: Making a case for DVB-MABR

Multicast ABR (mABR) is a way of delivering traditional HTTP-based streams like HLS and DASH over multicast. On a managed telco network, the services are multicast to thousands of homes and only within the home itself does the stream gets converted back unicast HTTP. Devices in the home then access streaming services in exactly the same way as they would Netflix or iPlayer over the internet, but the content is served locally. Streaming is a point-to-point service so each device takes its own stream. If you have 3 devices in the home watching a service, you’ll be sending 3 streams out to them. With mABR, the core network only ever sees one stream to the home and the linear scaling is done internally. Not only does this help remove peaks in traffic, but it significantly reduces the load on the upstream networks, the origin servers and smooths out the bandwidth use.

This video from DVB lays out the business cases which are enabled by mABR. mABR has approved the specification which is now going for standardisation within ETSI. It’s already gained some traction with deployments in the field, so this talk looks at what the projects that drive the continued growth in mABR may look like.

Williams Tovar starts first by making the case for OTT over satellite. With OTT services continuing to take viewing time away from traditional broadcast services, satellite providers are working to ensure they retain relevance and offer value. Delivering these OTT services is, thus, clearly beneficial, but why would you want to? On top of the mABR benefits briefly outlined above, this business case recognises that not everyone is served by a good internet connection. Distributing OTT by satellite can provide high bitrate, OTT experiences to areas with bad broadband and could also be an efficient way to deliver to large public places such as hotels and ships.

Julian Lemotheux from Orange presents a business case for next-generation IPTV. The idea here is to bring down the cost of STBs by replacing CA security with DRM and replacing the chipset with a cheaper one which is less specialised. As DASH and HLS streaming are cpu-based tasks and well understood, general, mass-produced chipsets can be used which are cheaper and removing CA removes some hardware from the box. Also to be considered is that the OTT ecosystem is continually seeing innovation so delivering services in the same format allows providers to keep their offerings up to date without custom development in the IPTV software stack.

Xavier Leclercq from Broadpeak looks, next, at Scaling ABR Delivery. This business case is a consideration of what the ultimate situation will be regarding MPEG2 TSes and ABR. Why don’t we provide all services as Netflix-style ABR streams? One reason is that the scale is enormous with one connection per device, CDNs and national networks would still not be able to cope. Another is that the QoS for MPEG2 transport streams is very good and, whilst it is possible to have bad reception, there is little else that causes interruption to the stream.

mABR can address both of these challenges. By delivering one stream to each home and having the local gateway do the scaling, mass delivery of streamed content becomes both predictable and practical. Whilst there is still a lot of bandwidth involved, the predictable load on the CDNs is much more controlled and with lower peaks, the CDN cost is reduced as this is normally based on the maximum throughput. mABR can also be delivered with a higher QoS than public internet traffic which allows it to benefit from better reliability which could move it in the realm of the traditional transport-stream based serviced. Xavier explains that if you put the gateway within a TV, you are able to deliver a set-top-box-less service whilst if you want to address all devices in you home, you can provide a separate gateway.

Before the video finishes with a Q&A session, Williams delivers the business case for Backhauling over Satellite for CDNs and IP backhaul for 5G Networks. The use case for both has similarities. The CDN backhauling example looks at using satellite to efficiently deliver directly to CDN PoPs in hard to reach areas which may have limited internet links. The Satellite could deliver a high bandwidth set of streams to many PoPs. A similar issue presents itself as there is so much bandwidth available, there is a concern about getting enough into the transmitter. Whether by satellite or IP Multicast, mABR could be used for CDN backhauling to 5G networks delivering into a Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) cache. A further benefit in doing this is avoiding issues with CDN and core network scalability where, again, keeping the individual requests and streams away from the CDN and the network is a big benefit.

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Williams Tovar Williams Tovar
Soultion Pre-sales manager,
ENENSYS Technologies
Julien Lemotheux Julien Lemotheux
Standardisation Expert,
Orange Labs
Xavier Leclercq Xavier Leclercq
VP Business Development,
Christophe Berdinat Moderator: Christophe Berdinat
Chairman CM-I MABR, DVB
Innovation and Standardisation Manager, ENENSYS

Video: Multicast ABR opens the door to a new DVB era

Multicast ABR (mABR) is a way of delivering standard HTTP-based streams like HLS and DASH over multicast. This can be done using an ISP’s managed network to multicast to thousands of homes and only within the home itself does the stream gets converted into unicast HTTP. This allows devices in the home to access streaming services in exactly the same way as they would Netflix or iPlayer, but avoiding strain on the core network. Streaming is a point-to-point service so each device takes its own stream. If you have 3 devices in the home watching a service, you’ll be sending 3 streams out to them. With mABR, the core network only ever sees one stream to the home and the linear scaling is done internally.

Guillaume Bichot from Broadpeak explains how this would work with a multicast server that picks up the streaming files from a CDN/the internet and converts it into multicast. This then needs a gateway at the other end to convert back into multicast. The gateway can run on a set-top-box in the home, as long as multicast can be carried over the last mile to the box. Alternatively, it can be upstream at a local headend or similar.

At the beginning of the talk, we hear from BBC R&D’s Richard Bradbury who explains the current state of the work. Published as DVB Bluebook A176, this is currently written to account for live streaming, but will be extended in the future to deal with video on demand. The gateway is able to respond with a standard HTTP redirect if it becomes overloaded which seamlessly pushes the player’s request directly to the relevant CDN endpoint.

DVB also outlines how players can contact the CDN for missing data or video streams that are not provided, currently, via the gateway. Guillaume outlines which parts of the ecosystem are specified and which are not. For instance, the function of the server is explained but not how it achieves this. He then shows where all this fits into the network stack and highlights that this is protocol-agnostic as far as delivery of media. Whilst they have used DVB-DASH as their assumed target, this could as easily work with HLS or other formats.

Guillaume finishes by showing deployment examples. We see that this can work with uni-directional satellite feeds with a return channel over the internet. It can also work with multiple gateways accessible to a single consumer.

The webinar ends with questions though, during the webinar, Richard Bradbury was answering questions on the chat. DVB has provided a transcript of these questions.

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Richard Bradbury Richard Bradbury
Lead Research Engineer,
Guillaume Bichot Guillaume Bichot
Principal Engineer, Head of Exploration,

Video: Introduction to DVB’s Targeted Advertising specifications

Addressable TV is coming to DVB with targetted advertising specifications. Famously Sky has been one of the main driving forces behind addressable TV in Europe. Sky’s AdSmart technology, launched in 2014 has long allowed advertisers large and small to target very specific viewers. In 2017 DVB spotted the need for an interoperable standard for targetted advertising and today we are seeing the results of their work to date. Usually, broadcasters can charge a premium for targetted advertising which brings them on a par with the ability of the large streaming giants to target ads to their customers. Sky has found that personalised commercials result in 21% more engagement and 35% heightened attentiveness.

Addressable TV has been shown to encourage smaller advertisers to use TV for the first time. Whilst creating a professional advert is not cheap, this is played off against the reduced cost of only targetting a small percentage of households. Capitalising on the localisation possible, Macdonalds, for instance, has used targetted advertising to announce new menus in specific branches.

Targetted advertising shows a promising future for growth, so this seems to be a great time for DVB and HbbTV to be jointly producing standard guidance for the industry called DVB-TA.

Martin Gold introduces the DVB-TA Part 1 – Signalling explaining that this specification is currently going through ETSI for standardisation. DVB-TA accounts for signalling from playout to the encoder, to downstream transcoders/multiplexers and to the receivers themselves. The specification focusses on SCTE 35 and where a receiver can’t understand SCTE 35, there is a way to translate these messages to DSM-CC messages for HbbTV devices. SCTE 35 has been extended and includes a unique programme descriptor and also accounts for PTS adjustments.

Matt Poole follows by talking about Part 2 which deals with communication with ad servers. Matt explains how privacy and working within GPDR has been considered throughout this section. He then talks about the importance of carefully matching the video format of the ad inventory with the viewed channel in order to get the most seamless transition possible and be careful to download the correct file type of asset. Matt then talks about the playoff between reach and perfect user experience.

The talk ends with a 20-minute Q&A session which includes panellists Peter Neumann and Angelo Pettazzi.

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Angelo Pettazzi Angelo Pettazzi
Chair of the DVB Commercial Module working group on Targeted Advertising
Consultant at R.T.I. Strategic Marketing, Mediaset Group
Martin Gold Martin Gold
Editor of the DVB-TA signalling specification,
Consultant Architect at YouView TV Limited
Matt Poole Matt Poole
Chair of the DVB Technical Module working group on Targeted Advertising,
Steering group PMO, HbbTV
Peter Neumann Peter Neumann
Platform Solutions Program Distribution,
CBC / Mediengruppe RTL

Video: UHD – commercial success or work in progress?

Where is UHD? Whilst the move to HD for US primetime slots happened very quickly, HD had actually taken many years to gain a hold on the market. Now, though SD services are still numerous, top tier channels all target HD and in terms of production, SD doesn’t really exist. Is UHD successfully building the momentum needed to dominate the market in the way that HD does or are there blockers? Is there the will but not the bandwidth? Can we show that UHD makes financial sense for a business? This video from the DVB Project and UltraHD Forum answers these questions.

Ian Nock takes the mic first and explains the UltraHD Forum’s role in the industry ahead of introducing Dolby’s Jason Power. Ian explains that the UltraHD Forum isn open organisation focused on all aspects of Ultra High Definition including HDR, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), Next Generation Audio (NGA) and High Frame Rate (HFR). Jason Power is the chair of the DVB Commercial Module AVC. See starts by underlining the UHD-1 Phase 1 and Phase 2 specifications. Phase 1 defines the higher resolution and colour gamut, but phase 2 delivers higher frame rate, better audio and HDR. DVB works to produce standards that define how these can be used and the majority of UHD services available are DVB compliant.

On the topic of available services, Ben Schwarz takes the stand next to introduce the UltraHD Forum’s ‘Service Tracker‘ which tracks the UHD services available to the public around the world. Ben underlines there’s been a tripling of services available between 2018 to 2020. It allows you to order by country, look at resolution (from 2K to 8L) and more. Ben gives a demo and explains the future plans.

Paul Bray focusses on the global television set business. He starts looking at how the US and Europe have caught up with China in terms of shipments but the trend of buying a TV set – on average – an inch larger than the year before, shows little sign of abating. A positive for the industry, in light of Covid-19, is that the market is not predicted to shrink. Rather, the growth that was expected will be stunted. The US replaces TVs more often than other countries, so the share of TVs there which are UHD is higher than anywhere else. Europe still has a large proportion of people who are happy with 32″ TVs due to the size and HD is perfectly ok for them. Paul shows a great graph which shows the UHD Penetration of each market against the number of UHD services available. We see that Europe is notably in the lead and that China barely has any UHD services at all. Though it should be noted that Omdia are counting linear services only.

Graph showing UHD Penetration per geographical market Vs. Number of Linear UHD services in that Market

Graph showing UHD Penetration per geographical market Vs. Number of Linear UHD services.
Graph and Information ©Omdia

The next part of the video is a 40-minute Q&A which includes Virginie Drugeon who explains her work in defining the dynamic metadata that is sent to the receiver so that it can correctly adapt the picture, particularly for HDR, to the display itself. The Q&A covers the impacts of Covid-19, recording formats for delivery to broadcasters, bitrates on satellite, the UltraHD Forum’s foundational guidelines, new codecs within DVB, high frame rate content and many other topics.

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Jason Power Jason Power
Chair of the DVB Commercial Module AVC Working Group
Commercial Partnerships and Standards, Dolby Laboratories
Ben Schwarz Ben Schwarz
Chair of Ultra HD Forum Communication Working Group
Paul Gray Paul Gray
Research Director,
Virginie Drugeon Virginie Drugeon
Senior Engineer, Digital Standardisation,
Ian Nock Moderator:Ian Nock
Chair of the Interoperability Working Group of the Ultra HD Forum
Principal Consultant & Founder, Fairmile West