Video: DVB and HbbTV Technologies in TV Systems

As the amount of video consumed on the internet continues to grow, technologies that unify over-the-air broadcast with internet delivery. Doing this should allow a seamless mix meaning viewers can choose a service without knowing how it’s arriving at their TV, mobile device or laptop. This is the principle behind DVB-I and HbbTV.

In this webinar, Peter MacAvock and Peter Lanigan join moderator Dr. Jörn Krieger to answer questions about how DVB-I works and how the two organisations work together. To set the scene, Peter Lanigan explains what DVB-I is and where it sits within DVB’s other technologies.

Famous for the widespread technologies of DVB-T, -S and -C which underpin much of the world’s broadcasting, DVB have recently developed a broadcast-focused version of MPEG DASH called DVB-DASH on which DVB-I is built. Where there -T in DVB-T is for terrestrial broadcast and the -S in DVB-S for satellite broadcast, the -I in DVB-I stands for internet. Built upon the DVB-DASH standard DVB-I delivers services over the Internet to devices with broadband access whether that’s raw internet or over operator-managed networks. Most importantly, this isn’t just about TVs, but any device.

DVB-I aims to offer a way unify over-the-air broadcast with internet delivery. The apps used to deliver services to smartphones, tablets and desktops tend to create segregation as each provider delivers their own app. However, there is a benefit to removing the need for each broadcaster needing to maintain their app on all the many platforms. By unifying delivery, DVB-I also makes life easier for manufacturers who can deliver a single, consistent experience. Finally, it opens up a market for more general apps which deliver a TV experience without being tied to one broadcaster opening up more business models and a route to independent innovation.

‘Service Lists’ are the fundamental currency of DVB-I. Service discovery is therefore a critical aspect of DVB-I which was first defined in 2019 and updated in 2020. Service discovery is a technical, commercial and legal problem all of which are addressed in the DVB-I Service Discovery and Programmed Metadata standard which provides ways in which clients can access Service Lists and Service List Registries.

Another important aspect of delivery is targetted advertising since advertising underpins the business model of many broadcasters. DVB-TA defines targetted advertising for linear TV and is now being updated to include DVB-I. With DVB-TA, adverts are delivered to the receiver/device over IP based on various criteria and then triggered at the appropriate time as specified by the A178-1 signalling spec.

Source: DVB

Ahead of the Q&A, Peter MacAvock introduces the HbbTV organisation explaining how and why it works closely with DVB to generate specifications that drive Hybrid TV forward. Also a member organisation, HbbTV and DVB share many interests but where the DVB’s remit within broadcast is wider than the device-centric HbbTV scope, HbbTV also has a wider scope than DVB since STBs and other devices are in use outside of broadcasting, for instance in retail. Importantly, HbbTV has replaced MHP as DVB’s hybrid TV solution. DVB and HbbTV are sharing the task of making DVB-DASH content and validation tools available to their members.

The Q&A covers controlling of the quality of delivery, getting around the internet’s different reliability compared to RF. They also address scalability with reference to DVB-ABR Multicast. There’s a question on avoiding illegal channels being included in service lists which both Peters acknowledge is a conversation ‘in progress’ for which the technical means exist, but speficially how to implement them is still in discussion a lot of which surrounds ways to establish trust between the device and the service list registars.

The Q&A finishes by discussing whether telcos/ISPs are interested in adopting DVB-ABR Muilticast, compatability between DVB-I and HbbTV as well as 5G broadcast mode.

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Download the DVB-I Presentation
Download the HbbTV Presentation

Speakers

Peter MacAvock Peter MacAvock
DVB Chairman
Head of Delivery, Platforms and Services, EBU Technology and Development
Peter Lanigan Peter Lanigan
Senior Manager, Standardisation,
TP Vision
Jörn Krieger Moderator: Jörn Krieger
Freelance Journalist

Video: State of the Streaming Market 2021

Streaming Media is back to take the pulse of the Streaming market following on from their recent, mid-year survey measuring the impact of the pandemic. This is the third annual snapshot of the state of the streaming market which will be published by Streaming Media in March. To give us this sneak peak, Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen is joined by colleague Tim Siglin and Harmonic Inc.’s Robert Gambino,

They start off with a look at the demographics of the respondents. It’s no surprise that North America is well represented as Streaming Media is US-based and both the USA and Canada have very strong broadcast markets in terms of publishers and vendors. Europe is represented to the tune of 14% and South America’s representation has doubled which is in line with other trends showing notable growth in the South American market. In terms of individuals, exec-level and ‘engineering’ respondents were equally balanced with a few changes in the types of institutions represented. Education and houses of worship have both grown in representation since the last survey.

Of responding companies, 66% said that they both create and distribute content, a percentage that continues to grow. This is indicative, the panel says, of the barrier to entry of distribution continuing to fall. CDNs are relatively low cost and the time to market can be measured in weeks. Answering which type of streaming they are involved in, live and on-demand were almost equal for the first time in this survey’s history. Robert says that he’s seen a lot of companies taking to using the cloud to deliver popups but also that streaming ecosystems are better attuned to live video than they used to be.

Reading the news, it seems that there’s a large migration into the cloud, but is that shown in the data? When asked about their plans to move to the cloud, around a third had already moved but only a quarter said they had no plans. This means there is plenty of room for growth for both cloud platforms and vendors. In terms of the service itself, video quality was the top ‘challenge’ identified followed by latency, scalability and buffering respectively. Robert points out better codecs delivering lower bitrates helps alleviate all of these problems as well as time to play, bandwidth and storage costs.

There have been a lot of talks on dynamic server-side ad insertion in 2020 including for use with targetted advertising, but who’s actually adopting it. Over half of respondents indicated they weren’t going to move into that sphere and that’s likely because many governmental and educational services don’t need advertising to start with. But 10% are planning to implement it within the next 12 months which represents a doubling of adoption, so growth is not slow. Robert’s experience is that many people in ad sales are still used to selling on aggregate and don’t understand the power of targetted advertising and, indeed, how it works. Education, he feels, is key to continuing growth.

The panel finishes by discussing what companies hope to get out of the move to virtualised or cloud infrastructure. Flexibility comes in just above reliability with cost savings only being third. Robert comes back to pop-up channels which, based on the release of a new film or a sports event, have proved popular and are a good example of the flexibility that companies can easily access and monetise. There are a number of companies that are heavily investing in private cloud as well those who are migrating to public cloud. Either way, these benefits are available to companies who invest and, as we’re seeing in South America, cloud can offer an easy on-ramp to expanding both scale and feature-set of your infrastructure without large Capex projects. Thus it’s the flexibility of the solution which is driving expansion and improvements in quality and production values.

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Speakers

Tim Siglin Tim Siglin
Contributing Editor, Streaming Media Magazine
Founding Executive Director, HelpMeStream
Robert Gambino Robert Gambino
Director of Solutions,
Harmonic Inc.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen Moderator: Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen
Editor, Streaming Media

Video: Transforming the Distribution and Economics of Internet Video

Replacing CDNs in streaming would need a fundamental change in the way we store and access video on the internet, but this is just what Eluvio’s technology offers along with in-built authentication, authorisation and DRM. There’s a lot to unpack about this distributed ‘content fabric’ built on an Ethereum-protocol blockchain.

Fortunately, Eluvio co-founder Michelle Munson is here to explain how this de-centralised technology improves on the status quo and show us what it’s being used for. We know that today’s streaming technology is based on the idea of preparing, packaging, transcoding and pushing data out through CDNs to views at home and whilst this works, it doesn’t necessarily consistent, low delay and, as we saw from Netflix and Facebook reducing their streaming bitrates at the beginning of the pandemic, it can be quite a burden on networks.

This content fabric, Michelle explains, is a different approach to the topic where video is stored natively over the internet creating a ‘software substrate’. The result doesn’t use traditional transcoding services, CDNs and databased. Rather we end up w ith a decentralised data distribution and storage protocol delivering just-in time packaging. The content fabric is split into four layers, one of which deals with metadata, another contains code which controls the transformation and delivery of media. The third layer is the ‘contract’ layer which controls access and proves content with finally a layer for the media itself. This contract layer is based on the Ethereum technology which runs the cryptocurrency of the same name. The fabric is a ledger with the content being versioned within the ledger history.

Michelle points out that with blockchain contracts baked in to all the media data, there is inherently access control at all parts of the network which has the property that viewers only need to have an ethereum-style ‘ticket’ to watch content directly. Their access is view-only and whilst this passes through the data and code layers, there is no extra infrastructure to build on top of your streaming infrastructure and each person can have their own individually-watermarked version as delivered with Eluvio’s work with MGM’s online premier of the recent Bill and Ted film.

Eluvium currently have a group of globally-deployed hubs in internet exchange sites which operate the fabric and contain media shards and blobs of code which can operate on the media to provide just-in-time delvery as necessary with the ability to create slices and overlays inherent in the delivery mechanism. When a player wants access to video, it issues the request with its authorisation information. This meets the fabric which responds to drive the output. Because of the layer of code, the inputs and outputs of the system are industry standard with manipulation done internally.

Before finishing by talking about the technology’s use within MGM and other customers, Michelle summarises the capabilities by saying that it simplifies workflows and can deliver a consistently low, global time to first byte with VoD and Live workflows interchangable. Whilst Michelle asserts that previous distribution protocols have failed at scale, Eluvio’s fabric can scale without the significant burdens of file IO.

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Speaker

Michelle Munson Michelle Munson
CEO and Founder,
Eluvio

Video: Making Streaming Video Better

The streaming community is one of the most vibrant in the broadcast, media & entertainment with many examples of individuals and companies sharing knowledge and working together. The Streaming Video Alliance is a great example of this continued effort to ‘make streaming video better’, a group of, now, 90 companies that are working together to push the industry forward.

Streaming Video Alliance executive director, Jason Thibeault, discusses their work with John Porterfield on the JP’sChalkTalks YouTube channel. A technology consortium not unlike the VSF, AIMS, IABM or SMPTE, Jason says that the SVA doesn’t work on standards since the fast-paced iterations of the streaming industry don’t match the relatively long standardisation timelines. Naturally, that’s not to say streaming doesn’t need standards. SCTE 35 and 224 ad markers are vital to many workflows and the whole foundation from codecs to IT technologies such as HTTP and TCP is based on standards. But we see from the success of TCP and HTTP what the end game of the Streaming Video Alliance is. These standards laid down a way for any company to interoperate with another and now we don’t consider the possibility that a piece of networking kit speaking TCP won’t work with another. Jason explains that the key for the SVA is enabling interoperabiloty and removing vendor lock-in. This creates a healthier industry which is better for streaming providors and vendors.

John asks about how 2020 saw progress streaming. Jason explains that much of the growth seen due to the pandemic was actually the result of a lot of work that was already ongoing meaning that many companies were already working on scaling up for the future; the future came early. Going into the year, there was a lot of talk about low latency streaming, and there still is, but SVA members were cognisant of the fact they still couldn’t guarantee a consistent experience which they’d much prefer over low-latency. This reliability and resilience question deals with repeatability of experience and, for example, playback remaining stable in one ABR rung.

Jason looks ahead at 2021 talking about the work being produced by the alliance. Live streaming end-to-end best practice is being examined and will be released as a published document. Follow up validation in the lab of the recommendations is then planned with any learnings going back into the original document. Another piece of work is examining how new technologies out of the streaming industry can be adopted such as 5G and the push to the edge. Particularly in edge computing, there is a lot of potential which simply hasn’t been explored yet. On the interoperability theme, the group’s Open Caching guidance will continue to be expanded. Open caching opens the possibility of putting your cache in the edge. Jason asks where the boundary of the edge is as there is work ongoing examining pushing open caching out even to the smart TV.

The Streaming Video Alliance produces monthly webinars, many of which are covered here at The Broadcast Knowledge.

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Speakers

Jason Thibeault Jason Thibeault
Executive Director,
Streaming Video Alliance
John Porterfield John Porterfield
JP’sChalkTalks YouTube Channel
Owner, Social180Group