Harmonic's Low-Latency UHD HDR OTT Workflow


USA: At NAB, Harmonic showcased its new end-to-end UHD HDR solution for live sports streaming, and made two key customer announcements regarding deployments of its technology.

The solution features Harmonic's ViBE CP9000 contribution encoder for ingest into the Cloud and VOS 360 media processing SaaS for encoding, packaging, origin server capabilities and OTT distribution. Using the new solution, broadcasters, content owners and service providers can deliver live sports content to any screen with superior quality of experience (QoE), low latency and significant cost savings.

"UHD HDR is perfect for live sports content because it gives viewers a taste of the action in stunning clarity and detail. However, the challenge is delivering that content for OTT with latency comparable to broadcast," said Tim Warren, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Video Business at Harmonic. "Harmonic's unique end-to-end workflow for UHD HDR live streaming offers full support for innovative technologies like cloud, content-aware encoding and the new CMAF standard, enabling a five to six second end-to-end latency compared with the industry norm of 30 to 35 seconds. We look forward to empowering broadcasters, content owners and service providers as they champion better live sports experiences while boosting business agility."

Harmonic's VOS 360 solution offers several key features such as UHD HDR encoding via the next-gen PURE Compression Engine; EyeQ content-aware encoding for HEVC; and UHD live content, packaging and low latency comparable to live broadcast based on compliance with the CMAF specification. By enabling users to leverage the agility, flexibility and scalability of the cloud, VOS 360 SaaS speeds up the launch of new sports channels while minimizing capital and operational expenses.

In other Harmonic news announced at NAB, Fuji Television Network (Fuji TV), a leading television station in Japan, has deployed a Cloud playout solution from Harmonic for its SMART OTT service.

Using Harmonic's Cloud-native VOS media processing software, Fuji TV is performing channel playout directly from a public cloud platform to simplify workflow and increase monetisation opportunities. System integrator EVC Inc. provided expertise in large-scale video distribution services and an advanced traffic system, helping to ensure a successful deployment.

"We need streamlined playout for our SMART distribution system used for OTT program delivery by third-party content providers to audiences outside of Japan. Harmonic's VOS solution is the most comprehensive and adaptive media processing solution that addresses all of our playout needs in terms of workflow efficiency, flexibility and rock-solid reliability," said Katsuya Seki, Senior Manager at Fuji TV. "Entrusting Harmonic and EVC with the management of our cloud playout, we are free to focus on other tasks related to content and revenue growth."

Asia-Pacific OTT revenues from TV episodes and movies will reach US$24.41 billion in 2022, tripling the US$8.27 billion recorded in 2016, according to Research and Markets.

With playout functionality in the Cloud, Fuji TV can explore additional types of monetisation for its OTT channels. Being a cloud-based solution, VOS media processing is highly adaptive and responsive to Fuji TV's needs. With a focus on overall service uptime, Harmonic manages software services for Fuji TV including modern and proactive technical and operational assistance such as monitoring, to ensure smooth and reliable service delivery.

"Thanks to our new playout-as-a-service innovation, Fuji TV has dramatically streamlined its playout operations for OTT content delivery," said Tony Berthaud, Vice President of Sales, APAC, at Harmonic. "This new and simple playout approach is based on an open and cloud-native architecture strategy that allows seamless integration with ecosystem partners to ensure the delivery of true end-to-end OTT video services. Fuji TV is the perfect, tangible example of this workflow in action, leveraging benefits of the public cloud in terms of scale, speed and simplicity."

Also announced at NAB: Vidgo's next-generation OTT services will be powered by the Harmonic VOS media processing platform.

With the VOS SW Cluster solution handling every component of media processing in a private cloud, Vidgo can quickly launch a full suite of video streaming services while gaining the agility to scale video streaming services rapidly. Vidgo is set to introduce its OTT services for the United States market later this year with a compelling channel lineup, unique pricing model and high-quality live-streaming experience.

"We've identified a significant underserved market in the United States, with millions of consumers that are currently not part of the pay-TV ecosystem," said Shane Cannon, CEO of Vidgo. "Partnering with Harmonic, the market leader in OTT video service deployments, we plan to deliver a full range of streaming features that consumers demand. The VOS solution allows us to provide the best live-streaming experience for our customers and provides us with a strong foundation to manage our network and end-user experience."

VOS SW Cluster embeds market-leading micro services, including ingest, playout, compression, encryption, packaging and origin, that will allow Vidgo to deliver its OTT services at a low cost and to scale seamlessly. Vidgo's offering will include over 40 channels of live television available for viewing on smartphones, tablets, PCs and other streaming devices. Encoding and transcoding on VOS SW Cluster is performed by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, an advanced, software-based media processing technology that will ensure Vidgo provides exceptional video quality on every screen at the lowest possible bitrates.

"The VOS SW Cluster solution uniquely positions Vidgo to provide a best-in-class entertainment experience for customers," said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer, video business, at Harmonic. "We are excited to be a part of Vidgo's innovative OTT service deployment."

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