NAB 2017: Harmonic working to enhance video quality for OTT
As the demand and diversity of non-traditional broadcast services continues to grow, it’s to be expected that the emphasis on quality of production and viewer experience will also intensify. These developments were much in evidence during Harmonic’s pre-NAB press conference (22 April), where a host of new or expanded solutions for OTT and mobile were unveiled.
Foremost amongst these was a real-time streaming workflow that is said to match the latency of live broadcast. The workflow, explains the company, is made possible by a combination of packaging content in the new Common Media Appliction format (CMAF) and HTTP chunked transfer encoding. The use of the new CMAF format in Harmonic multiscreen packaging and origin solutions is designed to both improve the OTT viewing experience by reducing latency in live streaming, and simplify OTT distribution workflows.
Darryl Jefferson, VP of Post Production Operations at NBC Sports Group, commented: “Low latency for OTT is extremely important, especially for the delivery of live sporting events. Any lag time that exists between what’s happening in real time and being viewed on screen is truly unacceptable to viewers nowadays. We’re excited about the developments that Harmonic is making in the area of reduced latency for OTT video, and expect it to be a game-changer for broadcasters and other content providers as they strive to deliver the best possible quality across all devices.”
Of equal importance to OTT services alongside low-latency is the ability to support quick-turnaround workflows, so there was more news for them with the announcement that the broadcast playout capabilities from Harmonic’s Spectrum media server has now been applied to Harmonic’s VOS Cloud media processing platform and VOS 360 cloud media processing SaaS solution.
New functionality in the VOS offerings includes support for graphics, branding, and digital video effects (DVE) for both file-based and live workflows.
“Bringing the playout capabilities found in our Spectrum media servers to the VOS Cloud and VOS 360 solutions opens up additional cost savings for operators, speeding up their operations and enabling additional types of monetisation, such as brand reinforcement, pop-up channels, rapid platform deployment and expansion, graphic avails and more,” said Bart Spriester, Senior Vice President, Video Products at Harmonic.
Also under the spotlight was a new solution for improved video quality delivered over zero-rated mobile and xDSL networks, based on the latest EyeQ technology advancements and packaging technology designed for constraind networks. By employing this EyeQ solution, says Harmonic, operators can deliver improved HD video quality to set-top boxes connected to low-bandwidth DSL lines, as well as to mobile devices connected to 3G/4G networks without exceeding the 1.5 Mbps bandwidth limitation of zero-rated mobile connections.