Networking is increasingly important throughout the broadcast chain. This webcast picks out the fundamentals that underpin SMPTE ST 2110 and that help deliver video streaming services. We’ll piece them together and explain how they work, leaving you with more confidence in talking about and working with technologies such as multicast video and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
There are two phases to reducing streaming latency. One is to optimise the system you already have, the other is to move to a new protocol. This talk looks at both approaches achieving parity with traditional broadcast media through optimisation and ‘better than’ by using CMAF.
In this video from the Northern Waves 2019 conference, Koen van Benschop from Deutsche Telekom examines the large and low-cost latency savings you can achieve by optimising your current HLS delivery. With the original chunk sizes recommended by Apple being 10 seconds, there are still many services out there which are starting from a very high latency so there are savings to be had.
Koen explains how the total latency is made up by looking at the decode, encode, packaging and other latencies. We quickly see that the player buffer is one of the largest, the second being the encode latency. We explore the pros and cons of reducing these and see that the overall latency can fall to or even below traditional broadcast latency depending, of course, on which type (and which country’s) you are comparing it too.
While optimising HLS/DASH gets you down to a few seconds, there’s a strong desire for some services to beat that. Whilst the broadcasters themselves may be reticent to do this, not wanting to deliver online services quicker than their over-the-air offerings, online sports services such as DAZN can make latency a USP and deliver better value to fans. After all, DAZN and similar services benefit from low-second latency as it helps bring them in line with social media which can have very low latency when it comes to key events such as goals and points being scored in live matches.
Stefan Arbanowski from Fraunhofer leads us through CMAF covering what it is, the upcoming second edition and how it works. He covers its ability to use .m3u8 (from HLS) and .mpd (from DASH) playlist/manifest files and that it works both with fMP4 and ISO BMFF. One benefit from DASH is it’s Common Encryption standard. Using this it can work with PlayReady DRM, Fairplay and others.
Stefan then takes a moment to consider WebRTC. Given it proposes latency of less than one second, it can sound like a much better idea. Stefan outlines concerns he has about the ability to scale above 200,000 users. He then turns his attention back to CMAF and outlines how the stream is composed and how the player logic works in order to successfully play at low latency.
Watching broadcast TV and also video on an online device can give people more choice, but it can also lead to hearing sports scores on one device before the other. In multi-person, multi-device homes, it can be better simply to synchronise the playback of all devices. This technique, though, has an often overlooked side effect; the ability for a group of people to watch the same content in sync.
Synchronising playback between many different people can be done for live and for on-demand content. ‘Watch Parties’ is the term Seth Madison from Philo makes in this talk for a two or more people watching the same programme – often calling each other up on FaceTime or
Seth takes us through the things to consider when designing such a system. For instance, how do you make it scale? How do you deal with one person who has a much worse connection than everyone else. How does one person pausing a video affect everyone else? These questions and more are all answered in this talk from Demuxed.
RIST is a streaming protocol which allows unreliable/lossy networks such as the internet to be used for critical streaming applications. Called Reliable Internet Stream Protocol, it uses a light-touch mechanism to request any data that’s lost by the network. As losses are often temporary and sporadic, the chances are that the data will get through the second or, perhaps, third time. For a more in-depth explanation of RIST, check out this talk from Merrick Ackermans
The panel here at the IBC 2019 IP Showcase give an brief definition of RIST and then examine how far they’ve got with the ‘Simple Profile’ of RIST calling out things that are yet to be done. Still on the to-do list are such things as ‘pull’ streams, encryption, simplifying the port structure and embedding control.
Fixed Key encryption comes under the microscope next asking whether there’s a practical threat in terms of finding the key but also in terms of whether there are any side-channel attacks in a ‘non-standard’ encryption. The fixed key encryption has been implemented in line with NIST protocols but, as Kieran highlights, getting enough eyes on the detail is difficult with the specification being created outside of an open forum.
The panels covers the recent interop testing which shows overall positive results and then discusses whether RIST is appropriate for uncompressed video. Already, Kieran points out, Amazon Direct Connect is available in 100s of Gb/s links and so it’s completely possible to do uncompressed to the cloud. RTP is over 20 years old and is being used for much more than ever imagined at the time. As technology develops, use of RIST will also develop.
What are the other uses for RIST? Videoconferencing is one possibility, creating a generally secure link to equipment and ingest into the cloud are the others offered.
The panel fishes by looking to the future. Asking how, for instance, the encoder could react to reduced quality of the link. How much of the all the technology needed should be standardised and what features could be added. Sergio Ammirata suggests opening up the protocol for the bandwidth estimation to be requested by any interested device.
This session, bringing together DVEO, OBS, Zixi and Net Insight finishes with questions from the audience.