As Live Streaming Matures, Telestream Positions Itself To Lead on QC and Monitoring for Broadcasters
Company’s new OptiQ Monitor will be a highlight at the upcoming IBC Show
In the wide-open, hyper-competitive world of streaming-video services, one strategy has become clear: live content can be a big differentiator. And, of course, there’s no more powerful live event in today’s entertainment economy than sports.
As watching major events via a streaming service is increasingly a part of the viewing culture and direct-to-consumer subscription models establish themselves as a norm, it’s also necessary that streaming technology and network distribution improve. With that comes the need for content distributors and broadcasts not only to deliver a higher-quality, more reliable stream but also to be able to better monitor and control the quality of those streams to respond to any real-time issues.
Telestream is looking to put itself at the heart of that industry pain point.
A veteran of the business, Telestream prides itself on its legacy as a provider of file-based media-workflow–orchestration, media-streaming, and delivery technology. Over the past few years, however, the company has made some bold investments to achieve what it considers its rightful place as the top go-to vendor when it comes to taking control of quality of service and quality of experience in the era of live streaming.
At this week’s IBC Show in Amsterdam, the company plans to unveil the latest in its OptiQ framework, OptiQ Monitor, promising deeper analytics and capabilities within this segment of the industry.
“Optiq Monitor enables those that maybe haven’t traditionally invested in robust end-to-end monitoring [of their video distribution] to start doing so,” says Ken Haren, director, product management, Telestream. “Plus, they can do it in a way where they can spin up resources across multiple geographies and across multiple networks, leveraging a cloud service to do that, and get that robust visibility.”
Those looking to get deeper, richer understanding from the monitoring of their stream’s performance will benefit as well from OptiQ Channel, which the company began showing off at NAB 2019 in April (after teasing the solution under the code name “Orchid” at IBC 2018). It’s a SaaS one-click channel-creation solution, which allows broadcasters and other organizations to create a live-streaming channel with essentially one click.
Much of the power of OptiQ Monitor is driven by the powerful tools it is built on, such as the iQ software that, according to Haren, enables “industry-best” live audio/video analysis of ABR assets and real-time monitoring of network performance and asset availability.
OptiQ Monitor takes advantage of recent enhancements to the iQ Surveyor ABR monitoring solution to deliver state-of-the-art live-video analysis, including pixel-level MOS analysis, freeze-frame/black-frame detection and alerting, and audio dialnorm and loudness analysis.
OptiQ Monitor will also give customers the ability to fully leverage iQ iVMS, which is the most powerful tool in the marketplace for presenting live and historical analysis of streaming assets and enables users to very quickly correlate stream performance, channel health, and now, with integration of client analytics tools like NPAWs Youbora, audience impacts.
“OptiQ Channel enables us to spin up all the sorts of services that you need to successfully originate a new live program or a new live channel,” says Haren. “Whether it’s an event or a linear feed, if you want to originate that channel in the cloud, OptiQ Channel gives you all the infrastructure pieces, as well as integrated monitoring and the path to a true self-healing, self-optimizing video service.”
According to Haren, OptiQ Channel can create a client’s end-to-end video-streaming infrastructure, but where Telestream offers its high value is in the ability to monitor the infrastructure at a deep and efficient level. The service allows a broadcaster to define an asset to monitor — whether a live feed or a live OTT feed — and then define the locations where it should be monitored.
“These are synthetic clients so we can simulate different playback experiences and measure the health of the channel. Was it available? Did it look good? Did it sound good?” says Haren. “These are all things that our OptiQ Monitor service now enables us to do. With 282 public-cloud availability zones in 100 different geographic regions, I can get very broad, very quickly, with a fully cloud-provisioned solution that easily scales as my needs grow.”
Telestream has spent the past couple of years putting itself in position, from a business perspective, to lead on this very issue. In September 2016, the company acquired then–UK-based QC-technology developer Vidchecker. In March 2017, it acquired a video-quality–monitoring and analytics provider in IneoQuest. And, earlier this year, it made a big move, merging with an industry stalwart in Tektronix. Perhaps the biggest move in the timeline came in March 2018, when Telestream acquired the cloud-encoding company PandaStream and, as a result, launched its Telestream Cloud solution. With that married with the company’s core heritage of live-video workflows, Telestream looks as strong as ever.
The company’s Vantage Cloud Port (which was also in the spotlight at NAB 2019) brings much of what Telestream has done for years — plus the OptiQ framework — into the cloud. And with integration with major cloud providers like AWS, Google, and Azure (Haren says IBM and Alibaba are likely on their way), most will have access to the architecture.