Video: Creating Interoperable Hybrid Workflows with RIST

TV isn’t made in one place anymore. Throughout media and entertainment, workflows increasingly involve many third parties and being in the cloud. Content may be king, but getting it from place to place is foundational in our ability to do great work. RIST is a protocol that is able to move video very reliably and flexibly between buildings, into, out of and through the cloud. Leveraging its flexibility, there are many ways to use it. This video helps review where RIST is up to in its development and understand the many ways in which it can be used to solve your workflow problems.

Starting the RIST overview is Ciro Noronha, chair of the RIST Forum. Whilst we have delved in to the detail here before in talks like this from SMPTE and this talk also from Ciro, this is a good refresher on the main points that RIST is published in three parts, known as profiles. First was the Simple Profile which defined the basics, those being that it’s based on RTP and uses an ARQ technology to dynamically request any missing packets in a timely way which doesn’t trip the stream up if there are problems. The Main Profile was published second which includes encryption and authentication. Lastly is the Advanced Profile which will be released later this year.

 

 

Ciro outlines the importance of the Simple Profile. That it guarantees compatibility with RTP-only decoders, albeit without error correction. When you can use the error correction, you’ll benefit from correction even when 50% of the traffic is being lost unlike similar protocols such as SRT. Another useful feature for many is multi-link support allowing you to use RIST over bonded LTE modems as well as using SMPTE ST 2022-7

The Main Profile brings with it support for tunnelling meaning you can set up one connection between two locations and put multiple streams of data through. This is great for simplifying data connectivity because only one port needs to be opened in order to deliver many streams and it doesn’t matter in which direction you establish the tunnel. Once established, the tunnel is bi-directional. The tunnel provides the ability to carry general data such as control data or miscellaneous IT.

Encryption made its debut with the publishing of the Main Profile. RIST can use DTLS which is a version of the famous TLS security used in web sites that runs on UDP rather than TCP. The big advantage of using this is that it brings authentication as well as encryption. This ensures that the endpoint is allowed to receive your stream and is based on the strong encryption we are familiar with and which has been tested and hardened over the years. Certificate distribution can be difficult and disproportionate to the needs of the workflow, so RIST also allows encryption using pre-shared keys.

Handing over now to David Griggs and Tim Baldwin, we discuss the use cases which are enabled by RIST which is already found in encoders, decoders and gateways which are on the market. One use case which is on the rise is satellite replacement. There are many companies that have been using satellite for years and for whom the lack of operational agility hasn’t been a problem. In fact, they’ve also been able to make a business model work for occasional use even though, in a pure sense, satellite isn’t perfectly suited to occasional use satellites. However, with the ability to use C-band closing in many parts of the world, companies have been forced to look elsewhere for their links and RIST is one solution that works well.

David runs through a number of others including primary and secondary distribution, links aggregation, premium sports syndication with the handoff between the host broadcaster and the multiple rights-holding broadcasters being in the cloud and also a workflow for OTT where RIST is used for ingest.

RIST is available as an open source library called libRIST which can be downloaded from videolan and is documented in open specifications TR-06-1 and TR-06-2. LibRIST can be found in gstreamer, Upipe, VLC, Wireshark and FFmpeg.

The video finishes with questions about how RIST compares with SRT. RTMP, CMAF and WebRTC.

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Speakers

Tim Baldwin Tim Baldwin
Head of Product,
Zixi
David Griggs David Griggs
Senior Product Manager, Distribution Platforms
Disney Streaming Services
Ciro Noronha Ciro Noronha
President, RIST Forum
Executive Vice President of Engineering, Cobalt Digital

Video: State of the Streaming Market

Streaming Media commissioned an extra mid-year update to their ‘State of the Streaming Market’ survey in order to understand how the landscape has changed due to COVID-19. With a survey already carried out once this year, this special Autumn edition captures the rapid changes we’ve been seeing.

Tim Siglin talks us through the results of the survey ahead of a full report being published. Since the last set of questioning the amount of live vs OTT in the businesses that responded has swung around 5% in favour of live content. The survey indicates that 65% of streaming infrastructure will be software-defined within 24 months, with some adopting a hybrid approach initially.

Tim also unveils a very striking graphic showing 56% of respondents see the internet being their company’s main way of transporting video via IP dwarfing the other answers, the biggest of which is CDN with 25% which covers delivery to CDN by dedicated links or internet links within the cloud.

Zixi is part of the RIST Forum and the SRT alliance, which indicates they understand the importance of multiple-codec workflows. We see the streaming industry is of the same opinion with more than two-thirds expecting to be using multiple protocols over the next twelve months,

Looking at the benefits of moving to the cloud, flexibility is number one, cost savings at three and supporting a virtualised workforce being five. Tim mentions surprise at seeing a remote workforce being only at number five but does suggest without the pandemic it would not have entered the top five at all. This seems quite reasonable as, whatever your motivation for starting using the cloud, flexibility is nearly always going to be one of the key benefits.

Reliability was ranked number two in ‘benefits of moving to the cloud’. The reasons for people choosing that were fairly evenly split with the exception of uptime being 39%. Quality of Service, Quality of Experience and cost all came in around 20%.

Tim Siglin and Gordon Brooks discuss how 5G will impact the industry. Gordon gives a business-to-business example of how they are currently helping a broadcaster contribute into the cloud and then deliver to and end-point all with low-latency. He sees these links as some of the first to ‘go 5G’. In terms of the survey, people see ‘in venue delivery’ as half as likely to be useful for video streaming than distribution to the consumer or general distribution. Tim finishes by saying that although it could well be impactful to streaming, we need to see how much of the hype the operators actually live up to before planning too many projects around it.

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Speakers

Tim Siglin Tim Siglin
Founding Executive Director
HelpMeStream
Gordon Brooks Gordon Brooks
CEO
Zixi
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen Moderator: Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen
Editor, Streaming Media

Video: 2019 What did I miss? – Introducing Reliable Internet Streaming Transport

By far the most visited video of 2019 was the Merrick Ackermans’ review of RIST first release. RIST, the Reliable Internet Stream Transport protocol, aims to be an interoperable protocol allowing even lossy networks to be used for mission-critical broadcast contribution. Using RIST can change a bade internet link into a reliable circuit for live programme material, so it’s quite a game changer in terms of cost for links.

An increasing amount of broadcast video is travelling over the public internet which is currently enabled by SRT, Zixi and other protocols. Here, Merrick Ackermans explains the new RIST specification which aims to allow interoperable internet-based video contribution. RIST, which stands for Reliable Internet Stream Transport, ensures reliable transmission of video and other data over lossy networks. This enables broadcast-grade contribution at a much lower cost as well as a number of other benefits.

Many of the protocols which do similar are based on ARQ (Automatic Repeat-reQuest) which, as you can read on wikipedia, allows for recovery of lost data. This is the core functionality needed to bring unreliable or lossy connections into the realm of usable for broadcast contribution. Indeed, RIST is an interesting merging of technologies from around the industry. Many people use Zixi, SRT, and VideoFlow all of which can allow safe contribution of media. Safe meaning it gets to the other end intact and un-corrupted. However, if your encoder only supports Zixi and you use it to deliver to a decoder which only supports SRT, it’s not going to work out. The industry as accepted that these formats should be reconciled into a shared standard. This is RIST.

File-based workflows are mainly based on TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) although, notably, some file transfer service just as Aspera are based on UDP where packet recovery, not unlike RIST, is managed as part of the the protocol. This is unlike web sites where all data is transferred using TCP which sends an acknowledgement for each packet which arrives. Whilst this is great for ensuring files are uncorrupted, it can impact arrival times which can lead to live media being corrupted.

RIST is being created by the VSF – the Video Standards Forum – who were key in introducing VS-03 and VS-04 into the AIMS group on which SMPTE ST 2022-6 was then based. So their move now into a specification for reliable transmission of media over the internet has many anticipating great things. At the point that this talk was given the simple profile has been formed. Whist Merrick gives the details, it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t include intrinsic encryption. It can, of course, be delivered over a separately encrypted tunnel, but an intrinsic part of SRT is the security that is provided from within the protocol.

Despite Zixi, a proprietary solution, and Haivision’s open source SRT being in competition, they are both part of the VSF working group creating RIST along with VideoFlow. This is because they see the benefit of having a widely accepted, interoperable method of exchanging media data. This can’t be achieved by any single company alone but can benefit all players in the market.

This talk remains true for the simple profile which just aims to recover packets. The main protocol, as opposed to ‘simple’, has since been released and you can hear about it in a separate video here. This protocol adds FEC, encryption and other aspects. Those who are familiar with the basics may whoosh to start there.

Speaker

Merrick Ackermans Merrick Ackermans
Chair,
VSF RIST Activity Group

Video: Panel Discussion on RIST

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.

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Speakers

Sergio Ammirata Sergio Ammirata
Deployments and Future Development,
DVEO
Kieran Kunhya Kieran Kunhya
Founder,
Open Broadcast Systems
Uri Avni Uri Avni
Founder,
Zixi
Mikael Wånggren Mikael Wånggren
Senior Software Engineer,
Net Insight
Ciro Noronha Ciro Noronha
Executive Vice President of Engineering,
Cobalt Digital