Harmonic Brings Real-World OTT and Broadcast Success to IBC2019

At IBC2019, Harmonic will demonstrate real-world deployments of its unified OTT and broadcast delivery solutions. A variety of deployment strategies will be showcased, including cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments, to demonstrate how service providers, broadcasters and content owners originate and distribute video channels smarter, faster and simpler. Harmonic’s unique approach to video delivery includes cloud-based SaaS solutions that dramatically speed up the launch of new services, including live OTT channels, increase business agility and enhance video experiences.

“At IBC2019, we’re drawing from our extensive deployment experience and showcasing concrete solutions deployed in the field by leading service providers, broadcasters and content owners,” said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Harmonic. “The video market is highly dynamic, and consumer demand for live OTT services is growing. Harmonic’s expansive solutions portfolio and enhancements in cloud, targeted advertisement and 8K technologies, with a SaaS business approach are designed with a sharp eye to help our customers stay one step ahead of the video evolution.”

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Unified OTT and Broadcast Delivery

Unified delivery workflows running in the cloud and on premises will be demonstrated, which offer service providers a low-latency OTT solution for multiprotocol environments to provide the same delay between broadcast and OTT feeds — key for delivering live sports. In addition, Harmonic will showcase a range of unique workflows for VOS®360 SaaS to launch skinny bundles, create new pop-up channels, deploy disaster recovery and stream live sports in UHD.

Maximize Efficiency & Flexibility with Virtualized, Software and Cloud Playout Solutions

At IBC2019, Harmonic will demonstrate real-world deployments of hybrid SDI/IP, UHD and HDR playout and on-premises/cloud-based channel origination for OTT and broadcast workflows powered by its virtualized Spectrum™ X media servers and VOS360 SaaS. By supporting the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards and AMWA IS-04 and IS-05 specifications, Harmonic enables video content and service providers to make a smooth transition to all-IP workflows.

Simplify Live Content Distribution with CDN-Enabled Primary Distribution SaaS

Harmonic’s CDN-enabled Primary Distribution solution, a powerful workflow supported by the company’s VOS360 SaaS, will also be highlighted. With the Primary Distribution SaaS solution, programmers can deliver linear channels to distributors, whether they are traditional pay-TV operators, virtual MVPDs or local broadcasters, anywhere in the world via CDN.

Increase Monetization with Video SaaS for OTT and Broadcast Services

Harmonic will also showcase the powerful dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities in Harmonic’s video SaaS solutions. With the company’s video SaaS solutions, operators can deliver advanced targeted advertisements and optimize ad campaigns to deliver personalized advertisements to viewers in real time. Harmonic’s solutions provide operators and advertisers a unified approach to reach audiences over hybrid broadcast and broadband delivery networks.

Future Zone Brings 8K, AI Technologies to the Forefront

The company will demonstrate high-quality 8K video delivery on 8K connected TVs and legacy mobile devices with EyeQ™ content-aware encoding (CAE), which reduces the required bandwidth by up to 50% while improving quality of experience. AI-based video compression will also be demonstrated, showing how it can reduce bit rates for broadcast and IPTV delivery, improve QoE for OTT and increase density for all applications.

Thought Leadership on AI Video Compression, 8K and 5G at the Future Zone Theatre

Thierry Fautier, vice president of video strategy at Harmonic, will outline the opportunities that 5G networks promise and the challenges ahead for 8K in his “Taking a Look at 8K and 5G Technologies” presentation on Sept.14 at 1:50 p.m. in the Future Zone Theatre (Hall 8, Stand F40).

Also in the Future Zone Theatre, Stephane Cloirec, senior director, video appliances at Harmonic, will speak on how “AI-Driven Video Compression Brings New Revenue Opportunities and Cost Savings for Service Providers” on Sept. 16 at 4:10 p.m.

Harmonic is showcasing its innovative solutions for OTT and next-gen TV delivery, along with real-world deployment examples, at IBC2019, Sept. 13-17, in Amsterdam at Stand 1.B20.

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StreamGuys Expands Integration Possibilities for Enterprise-Class Streaming and Podcasting Solutions with New APIs

SaaS-based podcast and streaming solutions innovator StreamGuys today announced a comprehensive new Application Programming Interface (API) for the company’s SGrecast live stream repurposing and podcast management system. The new API gives developers programmatic access to SGrecast’s extensive stream recording, content publishing, media player creation and rebroadcasting functionality, thus enabling broadcasters and content providers to seamlessly integrate StreamGuys’ services into their existing enterprise systems.

StreamGuys will highlight the integration possibilities enabled by the new API at the upcoming IBC2019 exhibition, taking place September 13-17 in Amsterdam. StreamGuys will co-exhibit with technology partner ENCO in stand 8.A59 at the event.

“While our SaaS solutions provide very powerful functionality on their own, large media enterprises such as radio station groups often have an established fabric of workflows spanning their production and publishing operations,” said Kiriki Delany, president, StreamGuys. “By offering APIs for SGrecast and other StreamGuys solutions, we are making it easier to tie our offerings into those customers’ current systems and bringing our services into their ecosystems. This creates more opportunities for automation, while enabling users to access our robust capabilities from within their current tools without needing to separately open our standard user interfaces.”

The comprehensive, cloud-based SGrecast platform lets broadcasters record, repurpose, replay and rewind their live streams to improve audience experiences and effortlessly create revenue-expanding side channels and podcasts. The new API enables clients to programmatically manage recordings; create new content in the system via uploads; edit content and metadata; list and view all content in the system; generate embeddable content players; request content-related information such as metadata and delivery URLs; and much more.

“As media enterprises’ software workflows have matured, the sophistication with which they are using APIs has also evolved,” continued Delany. “We used to see customers simply wanting front-end interfaces for accessing functionality. We are now seeing them use APIs for tightly weaving together their on-premise studios and production processes with cloud and streaming services to form complete workflows for publishing content to social media, internal departments and third-parties such as affiliates, as well as automated provisioning of new services and channels. For StreamGuys, our APIs are not simply a layer on top of our products, but are actually core to the products themselves. We use our own APIs in building our solutions, which helps us ensure they will meet customers’ needs.”

As a RESTful API with OAuth 2.0 authentication, the SGrecast API is standards-based and aligns perfectly with enterprise customers’ development expectations. StreamGuys will also introduce new APIs for its analytics and monitoring tools in the coming months, including the SGmon real-time listener and bandwidth metrics service and the SGreports logging and analysis service. Longer-term, APIs for additional solutions in StreamGuys’ end-to-end SaaS suite for producing, managing, monetizing, and delivering live and on-demand streaming media will be introduced based on customer demand.

“The new APIs are part of our broader integration initiatives, which encompass other touchpoints such as callback responses and interoperability with third-party technologies for automatic content recognition, intelligent content analysis, Quality of Experience (QoE) measurement and more,” concluded Delany. “Our goal is to ensure we remain on the cutting edge of integration capabilities, so we can further enhance the operational efficiency of our enterprise-level clients.”

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Imagen Protects East-Germany’s Film Heritage with PROGRESS

Imagen, the leading SaaS video management platform business, has been selected by PROGRESS, one of the oldest and largest film distributors in Germany, to manage and distribute its vast content library of over 17,000 films to global media companies.

With 12,000 hours of footage in its archive, PROGRESS engaged Imagen in order to make all licensed content easily available on a single platform for its customers – media companies that require licenses to buy 20th century films. As PROGRESS’ back catalogue also includes the complete film heritage of East-Germany and is the only collection in the world where the entire film production of one country is held exclusively by one organisation, it was vital to ensure the longevity and security of this valuable content.

As part of a three-month pilot scheme, PROGRESS has currently uploaded 1,600 films from its archive to the Imagen platform as it works to streamline the process of customers acquiring footage.

The initial project was turned around quickly with all of the metadata for PROGRESS’ 17,000 films created within four weeks. Within the next eight weeks, the focus will be on uploading the most important 3,000 films, with the larger aim of having 50-60% of the catalogue uploaded to platform in the next three months.

Gunnar Dedio, Managing Director, PROGRESS said, “Prior to using Imagen, our customers were required to speak to an archivist who would then find the footage they needed, create a file and send it to the customer, which would take up to three days and proved to be a major hurdle for our clients. Thanks to Imagen, we will soon have an up-to-date video library available online and through which customers can easily find and buy the content they need, and we expect to see substantial increases in revenue as a result of this.”

The use of AI within the Imagen platform has also been a key benefit for PROGRESS, enabling its clients to easily search for and find the content they require on the progress.film website since its implementation.

David Parker, CRO, EMEA & APAC of Imagen, added: “With a back catalogue of this volume, it’s vital that PROGRESS is able to easily manage, store and share its content with customers and within the organisation. We are pleased to have been able to help PROGRESS achieve this and look forward to continuing our working together, ensuring its remaining 15,000 films are uploaded to the platform in the coming months.”

The Imagen platform is also being used internally in order to develop consistent workflows across the business and to enable employees access to video for rough cuts and internal communications. Its use across the entire organisation will enable employees to follow defined processes and ensure everyone is using a single solution for all their video storage and sharing needs.

Speedcast Achieves Advanced Consulting Partner Status in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network

Speedcast International Limited announced that it has achieved Advanced Consulting Partner status in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN). This achievement demonstrates Speedcast’s ability to deliver proven customer solutions leveraging cloud-based technologies on AWS that seamlessly interoperate with its global satellite and terrestrial infrastructure.

Speedcast is the first satellite services provider to achieve APN Advanced Consulting Partner status. As a part of the AWS Direct Connect program, Speedcast provides customers with dedicated, direct connectivity to the cloud from both Speedcast’s and its customers’ data centers. Customers can leverage Speedcast’s software solutions as well as the Speedcast cloud team’s expertise to help them design, implement, migrate, and maintain cloud-based solutions.

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“By furthering our relationship with AWS, we are able to simplify our customer experience and evolve our services by taking advantage of AWS’s cost, security, agility, and innovation benefits,” said Speedcast CEO Pierre-Jean Beylier. “As an APN Advanced Consulting Partner, our customers can leverage our expertise in service design and delivery for both on-premises and cloud strategies while enjoying savings in implementation time and overall cost. Speedcast’s products will also benefit from our expanded relationship with AWS, with an increased connection between edge and cloud for management of our products and for the actual workload and data processing.”

Speedcast has already provided multiple customers with AWS cloud consulting and managed services support, including using AWS as enablement technology for Tempo, Speedcast’s Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise communication and distance learning media solution; delivering connectivity to the cloud via AWS Direct Connect; and leveraging AWS to host data platforms for service management tools. Speedcast continues to expand its global points-of-presence with AWS within the North America, Central Europe, and Southeast Asia regions. Customers in media, maritime, enterprise, energy, and government can interoperate cloud-based services with Speedcast’s global satellite and fiber network to reduce capital expenditure and ramp up networks and services faster. These hybrid solutions will reach beyond the edges of the network to remote facilities, ships, offshore platforms, and vehicles in motion around the world.

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Automated Captioning in the multi-platform Delivery Age

By Ken Frommert and Eduardo Martinez

Automation has been infused into innumerable elements of our daily lives. From production and assembly lines to broadcast facilities around the world, the transition to automated processes and workflows now have deep roots, and have forever changed the way we work, shop and entertain.

In broadcasting, the production and transmission of live, manual captioning has long been challenged by high costs, availability, varied latency, and inconsistent accuracy rates. While perfection is impossible due to the speed of live captioning, the transition to more automated, software-defined captioning workflows introduced a new series of challenges.

Closed-captioning is in large part driven by government mandates worldwide to ensure that deaf and hearing-impaired viewers can fully understand and enjoy on-air programming. Closed captions are typically encoded within the video stream and decoded by the TV, set-top box or other viewing/receiving device.

While different mandates on closed-captioning in broadcast television exist around the world, the unifying purpose ensures that deaf and hearing-impaired viewers can fully understand and enjoy the shows they watch. Beyond the hearing impaired, statistics show that one in six viewers worldwide prefer to receive closed captions with their content. This means that has viewers continue to consume content in different ways, technology must evolve to serve changing viewer habits.

Deep Neural Benefits

A common concern across all appliances of automation is the reduction, or outright elimination, of the human element. Closed-captioning is just the latest platform to which these conversations have shifted.

These concerns are beginning to subside as speed and accuracy of speech-to-text conversion continues to improve with the emergence of deep neural network advances. The statistical algorithms associated with these advances, coupled with larger multi-lingual databases to mine, more effectively interpret – and accurately spell out – the speech as it passes through the automated workflow.

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Ken Frommert, President of ENCO

Today’s strongest automated captioning systems, like ENCO’s enCaption4, today approach accuracy rates of 90 percent or higher. The statistical algorithms associated with these advances, coupled with larger multi-lingual databases to mine, more effectively interpret – and accurately spell out – the speech coming through the air feed or mix-minus microphone.

Meanwhile, the faster and more powerful processing of the computing engines within automated captioning technology has significantly reduced the latency to near real-time. This achievement is particularly impressive given that automated captions took between 30-to-60 seconds on many systems as recently as one or two generations ago.

Additionally, as closed captioning software matures, emerging applications to eliminate crosstalk, improve speaker identification and ignore interruptions is improving the overall quality and experience for hearing impaired viewers. Furthermore, the technology is also advancing to support closed-captioning transmission across multiple delivery platforms.

New Efficiencies, New Services

One recent innovation is the introduction of multi-speaker identification, which isolates separate microphone feeds to reduce confusion from cross-talk.

Live talk shows represent an ideal use case. In this scenario, each speaker on the stage is assimilated into the captioning workflow based on their assigned microphone positions, while the software ignores distractions such as low voices and interruptions. The end result is a seamless transition as the conversation shifts between each speaker, eliminating cross-talk and other events detrimental to the viewer experience.

Many of the above improvements are related to recent breakthroughs in machine learning technology for voice recognition. Machine learning not only strengthens accuracy, but it also provides value through detection of different languages and the different ways that people speak.

That intelligence as it relates to different dialects will provide an overall boost to accuracy in closed captioning. Consider a live news operation, where on-premise, automated captioning software now directly integrates with newsroom computer systems with the need for a network connection. This will now help broadcasters strengthen availability – no concerns about a network outage taking the system down – and take advantage of news scripts and rundowns to learn and validate the spelling of local names and terminology.

Automated captioning also enables the applications to be achieved efficiently on a larger scale. The costs are lowered due to the transition from human stenographers to computer automation. And as there is a need to captioning a growing amount of content, there is an economy of scale that drives the cost down even further as broadcasters automate these processes.

As systems grow more reliable and broadcasters grow more comfortable with the technology, they will also find new efficiencies and opportunities along the way. For one, broadcasters that need to cut into a regularly scheduled program with breaking news or weather alerts will no longer forced to find qualified (and expensive) live captioners on short notice.

Streaming, the Cloud and Closed-Captioning

As with many technologies, captioning systems are applicable in both on-premise and cloud configurations. In the latter case, some systems are now offered as SaaS platforms, with monthly fees that include the hardware costs coming out to as low as approximately $15 per hour for the average rate of use. With stenographer rates sitting at approximately $150 per hour, this equates to a tenfold savings that can return tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars to the broadcaster annually.

However, establishing captioning software in the cloud also extends the service for online audiences outside the local facility, opening the door for efficient delivery of captioned content over streaming networks and delivery platforms. One emerging opportunity for this is the automatic generation of transcriptions for live and archived, pre-recorded content.

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Eduardo Martinez, Director of Technology at StreamGuys

As more systems move to software-defined platforms, the captioning workflow for pre-recorded and/or long-form content has been greatly simplified. Post-production staff can essentially drag-and-drop video files into a file-based workflow that extracts the audio track for text conversion. These files can then be delivered in various lengths and formats for a TV broadcast, the web, mobile and other platforms.

This trend aligns especially well for broadcasters and content producers with large volumes of stored media, providing tremendous flexibility to very quickly archive, search, find and recast content tailored to specific audiences and on-demand requests.

Content repurposing software from companies like StreamGuys, previously used for podcasting and specialty broadcast streams, are being tailored for closed-captioning in streaming applications. In this architecture, previously ingested content is recalled through an archived search process. This level of integration also enables users to label and search for specific speakers for improved recognition and tracking, and later search the system for all content related to a program – down to exact, spoken sentences.

With multiplatform reach, broadcasters now have opportunities to caption live and on-demand streams, ensuring that hearing-impaired and multi-lingual audiences watching online are properly served as well. The future of this technology is very exciting, especially with the knowledge that we’re really just beginning to reap the fruits of this technology.

Ken Frommert is President of ENCO, and Eduardo Martinez is Director of Technology at StreamGuys. 

Harmonic Leads the Charge for Virtualized Cable Access and Video Streaming at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo

Harmonic’s software-centric solutions are enabling the next generation of IP-based cable services, including scalable gigabit internet and superior-quality multiscreen video.

“Increased competition from OTT service providers and shifting consumer behaviors have created a challenge and opportunity for global cable operators,” said Nimrod Ben-Natan, senior vice president and general manager of Harmonic’s Cable Access Business. “Operators today need to be nimble, reducing costs while delivering market-leading broadband and video services. At SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, we will demonstrate how new smarter software-based cable access and video streaming solutions enable operators to meet this challenge with unprecedented scalability, simplicity and efficiency.”

Unleash Broadband Potential With Virtualized Cable Access

Harmonic will unveil next-generation capabilities for its CableOS™ virtualized cable access solution at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. The CableOS solution is the industry’s first software-based Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) and end-to-end Remote PHY system, designed from the ground up to support both centralized and distributed architectures. Powering the world’s first virtualized cable access networks, Harmonic’s CableOS offering brings market-leading broadband access speeds to consumers and enterprises while simultaneously overcoming space, power and other legacy hardware technology constraints.

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Bring Video Streaming Services to Life Faster With SaaS

At SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, Harmonic will also showcase breathtaking images featuring NASA content from the world’s first 24/7 UHD HDR video streaming service, powered by the VOS®360 Video SaaS solution for media processing and delivery. In addition, Harmonic will demonstrate how operators can improve consumer quality of experience through artificial intelligence-based technology found in the company’s award-winning EyeQ™ content-aware encoding solution.

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Harmonic’s Thought Leadership Shines Bright at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo

Asaf Matatyaou, vice president, solutions and product management, Cable Access Business, at Harmonic, will present at the “Distributed Access Architecture (DAA)” pre-conference session on Monday, Oct. 22, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room B405/406/407. The session will cover the newest DAA technology trends and deployments.

In addition, Matatyaou will speak about “Virtualizing the CMTS: Who’s Doing What in vCMTS-ville” during a panel discussion on Monday, Oct. 22, from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. in room B406.

Harmonic will showcase its latest innovations at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2018, Oct. 22-25, in Atlanta at booth 2145.

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Smarter, Faster, Simpler: Harmonic Brings a Bold Approach to Video Streaming at IBC2018

Embracing Harmonic’s smarter, faster and simpler software-centric approach for video delivery, broadcasters, content owners and service providers can increase their business agility, launching services faster and more reliably.

“The media and broadcast industries are evolving at a rapid pace as operators need to deliver higher quality of experiences, reach more screen types, and increase monetization. Having a scalable, flexible and, even more importantly, reliable video streaming solution at their disposal is imperative,” said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Harmonic. “Whether an operator is looking to launch a new skinny bundle, needs a reliable disaster recovery solution, a live sports streaming platform with low latency, or the ability to deliver pristine UHD HDR, we can help them get started in no time, with a fast ROI and minimal upfront investment.”

SaaS Supports a Variety of Business Models for Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings
Harmonic’s VOS™360 media processing SaaS covers the entire media processing chain, simplifying OTT workflows. At IBC2018, Harmonic will demonstrate enhanced channel origination workflow capabilities in the cloud for VOS360 SaaS, which leverage playout and graphic branding functionalities and open up new levels of efficiency and monetization including brand reinforcement, pop-up channels, rapid service deployment and expansion, and graphic avails.

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Harmonic will also showcase disaster recovery scenarios with VOS360 SaaS leveraging the cloud. VOS360 SaaS provides the disaster recovery facilities for broadcast and video streaming applications, mixing the benefits of a resilient, elastic and secure offering with a usage-based pricing model, which is an ideal solution for temporary live sports events.

Harmonic will also unveil new SaaS-based statistical multiplexing capabilities that enable service providers to statmux multiple UHD channels in a single pool or with HD MPEG-4 encoded channels for broadcast delivery. This bold approach allows for simultaneous support of next-generation OTT streaming and traditional complex broadcast statmux delivery systems.

Additionally, Harmonic and its ecosystem partners will unveil a new groundbreaking, out-of-this-world UHD HDR OTT service powered by VOS360 SaaS.

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) Boosts OTT Content Monetization

Harmonic will unveil new content replacement and personalization features for VOS360 SaaS. VOS360 SaaS enables operators to deliver advanced server-side targeted advertisements; personalize content delivery per audience, geography or syndication; and leverage SCTE 224 to replace content during blackouts, ultimately increasing monetization for OTT content and resulting in increased revenues.

New Origin Capabilities Improve OTT Delivery

Harmonic will highlight new best-in-class origin capabilities supporting unified CMAF with DASH and HLS, providing low latency on every screen and support for various ecosystems.

Encoding Support for Dolby AC-4 Enables Next-Generation Audio Experiences

At IBC2018, Harmonic will demonstrate support for Dolby AC-4, a next-generation audio format developed by Dolby. Dolby AC-4 is an end-to-end solution that provides broadcasters and service operators the most efficient way to deliver high-quality, accessible, immersive and personalized sound. It is also the only next-generation audio format capable of delivering Dolby Atmos.

Peek Into the Future With Innovative Demos on AV1, AI and VR

Harmonic will demonstrate several new innovations at IBC2018, including AV1 encoding capabilities for VOD content; artificial intelligence (AI) encoding technology that improves QoE for live video; and 8K tiling technology for the delivery of VOD VR content with Tiledmedia, Digital Immersion and Viaccess-Orca.

Harmonic will showcase its latest innovations at IBC2018, Sept. 14-18 in Amsterdam at stand 1.B20.

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