Video: Mobile and Wireless Layer 2 – Satellite/ATSC30/M-ABR/5G/LTE-B

Wireless internet is here to stay and as it improves, it opens new opportunities for streaming and broadcasting. With SpaceX delivering between 20 and 40ms latency, we see that even satellite can be relevant for low-latency streaming. Indeed radio (RF) is the focus of this talk discussing how 5G, LTE, 4G, ATSC and satellite fit into delivering streaming media o everyone.

LTE-B, in the title of this talk refers to LTE Broadcast, also known as eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services.) delivered over LTE technology. Matt Stagg underlines the importance of LTE-B saying “Spectrum is finite and you shouldn’t waste it sending unicast”. Using LTE-B, we can achieve a one-to-many push with orchestration on top. ROuters do need to support this and UDP transport, but this is a surmountable challenge.

Matt explains that BT did a trial of LTE-B with BBC. The major breakthrough was they could ‘immediately’ deliver the output of an EVS direct to the fans in the stadium. For BT, the problem came with hitting critical mass. Matt makes the point that it’s not just sports, Love Island can get the same viewership. But with no support from Apple, the number of compatible devices isn’t high enough.

“Spectrum is final and you shouldn’t waste it sending unicast”

Matt Stagg

Turning the attention of the panel which includes Synamedia’s Mark Myslinski and Jack Arky from Verizon Wireless. Matt says that, in general, bandwidth capacity to edges in the UK is not a big issue since there is usually dark fibre, but hosting content at the edge doesn’t hit the spot due to the RAN. 5G has helped us move on beyond that.

Mark from Verizon explains that multi-edge access compute enabled by the low-latency of 5G. We need to move as much as is sensible to the edge to keep the delay down. Later in the video, we hear that XR (mixed reality) and AR (augmented reality) are two technologies which will likely depend on cloud computation to get the level of accurate graphics necessary. This will, therefore, require a low-latency connection.

From Verizon’s perspective, the most important technology being rolled out is actually ATSC 3.0. Much discussed at NAB 2015, stability has come to the standard and it’s now in use in South Korea and increasingly in the US. ATSC 3.0, as Mark explains, is a complimentary fully-IP technology to fit alongside 5G. He even talks about how 5G and ATSC could co-exist due to the open way the standards were created.

The session ends with a Q&A

Watch now!
Speakers

Mark Myslinski Mark Myslinski
Broadcast Solutions Manager,
Synamedia
Jack Arky Jack Arky
Senior Engineer, Product Development
Verizon Wireless
Matt Stagg Matt Stagg
Director, Mobile Strategy
BT Sport
Dom Robinson Dom Robinson
Co-Founder, Director and Creative Firestarter
id3as

Video: Preparing for 5G Video Streaming

Will streaming really be any better with 5G? What problems won’t 5G solve? Just a couple of the questions in this panel from the Streaming Video Alliance. There are so many aspects of 5G which are improvements, it can be very hard to clearly articulate for a given use case which are the main ones that matter. In this webinar, the use case is clear: streaming to the consumer.

Moderating the session, Dom Robinson kicks off the conversation asking the panellists to dig below the hype and talk about what 5G means for streaming right now. Brian Stevenson is first up explaining that the low-bandwidth 5G option really useful as it allows operators to roll out 5G offerings with the spectrum they already have and, given its low frequency, get a good decent a propagation distance. In the low frequencies, 5G can still give a 20% improvement bandwidth. Whilst this is a good start, he continues, it’s really delivering in the mid-band – where bandwidth is 6x – that we can really start enabling the applications which are discussed in the rest of the talk.

Humberto la Roche from Cisco says that in his opinion, the focus needs to be on low-latency. Latency at the network level is reduced when working in the millimetre wavelengths, reducing around 10x. This is important even for video on demand. He points out, though that delay happens within the IP network fabric as well as in the 5G protocol itself and the wavelength it’s working on. Adding buffers into the network drives down the cost of that infrastructure so it’s important to look at ways of delivering the overall latency needed at a reasonable cost. We also hear from Sanjay Mishra who explains that some telcos are already deploying millimetre wavelengths and focussing on advancing edge compute in high-density areas as their differentiator.

The panel discusses the current technical challenges for operators. Thierry Fautier draws from his experience of watching sports in the US on his mobile devices. The US has a zero-rating policy, he explains, where a mobile operator waives all data charges when you use a certain service, but only delivers the video at SD resolution at 1.5 Mbps. Whilst the benefits to this are obvious, it means that as people buy new, often larger phones, with better screens, they expect to reap the benefits. At SD, Thierry says, you can’t see the ball in Tennis, so there 5G will offer the over-the-air network bandwidth needed to allow the telcos to offer HD as part of these deals.

Preparing for 5G Video Streaming from Streaming Video Alliance on Vimeo.

The panel discusses the problems seen so far in delivering MBMS – multicast for mobile networks. MBMS has been deployed sporadically around the world in current LTE networks (using eMBMS) but has faced a typical chicken and egg problem. Given that both cell towers and mobile devices need to support the technology, it hasn’t been worth the upgrade cost for the telcos given that eMBMS is not yet supported by many chipsets including Apple’s. Thierry says there is hope for a 5G version of MBMS since Apple is now part of the 3GPP.

CMAF had a similar chicken and egg situation when it was finalised, there was hesitance in using it because Apple didn’t support it. Now with iOS 14 supporting HLS in CMAF, there is much more interest in deploying such services. This is just as well, cautions Thierry, as all the talk of reduced latency in 5G or in the network itself won’t solve the main problem with streaming latency which exists at the application layer. If services don’t abandon HLS/DASH and move to LL-HLS and LL-DASH/CMAF then the improvements in latency lower down the stack will only convey minimal benefits to the viewer.

Sanjay discusses the problem of coverage and penetration which will forever be a problem. “All cell towers are not created equal.” The challenge will remain as to how far and wide coverage will be there.

The panel finishes looking at what’s to come and suggests more ‘federations’ of companies working together, both commercially and technically, to deliver video to users in better ways. Thierry sums up the near future as providing higher quality experiences, making in-stadia experiences great and enabling immersive video.

Watch now!
Speakers

Brian Stevenson Brian Stevenson
SME,
Streaming Video Alliance
Humberto La Roche Humberto La Roche
Principal Engineer,
Cisco
Sanjay Mishra Sanjay Mishra
Associate Fellow,
Verizon
Thierry Fautier Thierry Fautier
President-Chair at Ultra HD Forum
VP Video Strategy Harmonic at Harmonic
Dom Robinson Moderator: Dom Robinson
Co-Founder, Director, and Creative Firestarter
id3as

Video: OTT Workflow Integration Best Practices

Streaming can seem deceptively simple and a simple HLS workflow can be, but to deliver a monetised service to a wide range of devices, with a mix of live and on-demand assets, with advertising and DRM where needed is far from trivial. In this video, we hear from several companies on how they manage the complexity which allows their service to thrive.

Nadine Krefetz from streaming media asks the questions as we hear from Sinclair, Eyevinn Technology, fuboTV, FandangoNOW and Verizon Media. Firstly they introduce us to their services and the types of workflows that they are maintaining day in, day out.

Companies like Sinclair are frequently adding new channels through market acquisitions. Those companies that don’t grow through acquisition will, similarly, find themselves looking at their own legacy workflows as they look to modernise and improve their offering. Our panel gives their thoughts on tackling this situation. Magnus Svensson and Michael E. Bouchard both talk about having a blueprint, in essence, a generic workflow which contains all the functional blocks needed for a streaming service. You can then map the old and new workflows to the blueprint and plan migration and integration points around that.

The panel covers questions about how smaller services can address Roku and Amazon Fire devices, what to ask when launching a new service and which parts of their services would they never want to buy in or outsource.

Ad insertion is a topic which is essential and complex. Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) is seen as an essential technology for many services as it provides protection against adblockers and can offer more tight management of how and when viewers see ads. But the panel has seen that ad revenues are lower for SSAI since there are fewer analytics data points returned although VAST 4.0 is addressing this problem. This has led to one of the panel members going back to client-side ads for some of their workflows simply due to revenue. Magnus Svensson points out that preparation is key for advertising: Ensuring all adverts are in the correct formats and have the right markers, having slides ready and pre-loading to reduce peaks during live transmissions.

The panel closes looking at their biggest challenges, often in adapting to the pandemic, and the ever-evolving landscape of transport formats.
Watch now!
Speakers

Michael E. Bouchard Michael E. Bouchard
Vice President of Technology Strategy,
ONE Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group
Magnus Svensson Magnus Svensson
Media Solution Specialist,
Eyevinn Technology
Geir Magnusson Geir Magnusson
Jr. CTO
fuboTV
Rema Morgan-Aluko Rema Morgan-Aluko
Director, Software Engineering,
FandangoNOW
Darren Lepke Darren Lepke
Head of Video Product Management,
Verizon Media
Nadine Krefetz Nadine Krefetz
Consultant, Reality Software
Contributing Editor, Streaming Media

Video: Everyone is Streaming; Can the Infrastructure Handle it?

How well is the internet infrastructure dealing with the increase in streaming during the Covid-19 pandemic? What have we learnt in terms of delivering services and have we seen any changes in the way services are consumed? This video brings together carriers, vendors and service providers to answer these questions and give a wider picture.

The video starts off by getting different perspectives on how the pandemic has affected their business sharing key data points. Jeff Budney from Verizon says that carriers have had a ‘whirlwind’ few weeks. Conviva’s José Jesus says that while they are only seeing 3% more devices, there was a 37% increase in hours of video consumed. Peaks due to live sports have done but primetime is now spread and more stable, a point which was made by both Jeff Gilbert from Qwilt as well as José.

“We’ve seen a whole year’s worth of traffic growth…it’s really been incredible” — Jeff Budney, Verizon

So while it’s clear that growth has happened, but the conversation turns to whether this has caused problems. We hear views about how some countries did see reductions in quality of experience and some with none. This experience is showing where bottlenecks are, whether they are part of the ISP infrastructure or in individual players/services which haven’t been well optimised. Indeed, explains Jason Thibeault, Executive Director of the Streaming Video Alliance, the situation seems to be shining a light on the operational resilience, rather than technical capacity of ISPs.

Thierry Fautier from Harmonic emphasises the benefits of content-aware encoding whereby services could reduce bandwidth by “30 to 40 percent” before talking about codec choice. AVC (A.K.A. H.264) accounts for 90%+ of all HD traffic. Thierry contents that by switching to both HEVC and content-aware encoding services could reduce their bandwidth by up to a factor of four.

Open Caching is a working group creating specifications to standardise an interface to allow ISPs to pull information into a local cache from service providers. This moving of content to the edge is one way that we can help avoid bottlenecks by locating content as close to viewers as possible.

The elephant in the room is that Netflix reduced quality/bitrate in order to help some areas cope. Verizon’s Jeff Budney points out that this is contra to the industry’s approach to deployment where they have assumed there is always the capacity to provide the needed scale. If that’s true, how can one tweet from a European Commissioner have had such an impact? The follow on point is that if YouTube and Netflix are now sending 25% less data, as reports suggest, ABR simply means that other providers’ players will take up the slack, as is the intent-free way ABR works. If the rest of the industry benefits from the big providers ‘dialling back’ is this an effective measure and is it fair?

The talk concludes hitting topics on ABR Multicast, having more intelligent ways to manage large-scale capacity issues, more on Open Caching and deliver protocols.

Watch now!
Speakers

Thierry Fautier Thierry Fautier
VP Video Strategy, Harmonic Inc.
President-Chair, Ultra HD Forum
Eric Klein Eric Klein
Director, Content Distribution – Disney+/ESPN+, Disney Streaming Services
Co-Chair, Open Cache Working Group, Streaming Video Alliance
José Jesus José Jesus
Senior Product Manager,
Conviva
Jeffrey Budney Jeff Budney
Manager,
Verizon
Jeffrey Gilbert Jeffrey Gilbert
VP strategy and Business Development, CP,
Qwilt
Jason Thibeault Jason Thibeault
Executive Director,
Streaming Video Alliance