Streamlining Networks for Cloud TV

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Authors

Matt Parker

Matt Parker
Director, New Business Development

Johan Bolin

Johan Bolin
VP Products

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Ling Koay
Product Marketing Manager 

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Johnny Bigert
VP R&D 

 

The Edgeware Blog

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Does the cloud have a silver lining for TV?

  
  
  
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The cloud has seemed to be an almost magical phenomenon in the software industry during the past 10 years or so. Migrating to the cloud was the hot topic back then, and is still one today! It seems that everything we used to have on-premise has been moved to the cloud.

Recently, Netflix announced that it has now transformed into a “cloud native” company – after seven years migration from data centers to the cloud. The cloud migration has reportedly resulted in 1000x growth in streaming hours over the years![1]

So, surely the cloud is here to stay. The elasticity of the cloud and virtualized environments enable streaming services that can dynamically expand and shrink with demand, eliminating wasteful over-provisioning. Cloud is particularly useful in these scenarios:

  • Initial deployment – your engineering or devops team can instantly spin up instances to pilot or try out new services in minutes
  • New market expansion – you can test the water by expanding (or shrinking) your current footprint based on demand
  • Serving volatile markets – you do not have to worry about adding or removing capacity in a market where demand fluctuates (resources are automatically adjusted)

And surely the same is true for delivering TV? It certainly makes it easier for you if you don’t own any network or POPs to deploy your own origin or CDN solutions and for those who wish to replace capital investments with operational expenses. Moreover, this model doesn’t normally require a huge change or investments in the technical organization and competencies.

However, if you are delivering TV services - and if you care about delivering an amazing experience - simply locating everything in the cloud is not going to cut it. It serves some functions perfectly. But it simply doesn't make sense – from cost and scale perspectives – to move traffic intensive functions such as storage and caching into a central location. They can be virtualized. They can be run in software - or they can be run on hardware accelerated servers. But they need to be located closer to the viewer to deliver cost and scale benefits.

Cloud and virtualized components are best complemented by distributed TV delivery based on TV optimized network appliances - especially in the following scenarios:

  • High capacity deployment on a given footprint  – with deterministic performance, you can sustain video transmission performance at wire speed bringing a significant improvement to viewing experience
  • Highly distributed network deployments – the server is built to last - with no moving parts - which means you can place the server far out at the edge of your distribution network
  • Many TV services – you can enable a variety of TV services on a single appliance without installation of additional hardware or changing the system picture 

For those with an existing network, distributing TV servers at the network edge give the best cost advantage by the ability to deliver both OTT and IPTV on the same platform. Most importantly, viewing experience is highly affected by how close your content is to your viewers. Edgeware has learnt this lesson through hundreds of Tier 1 deployment of TV services with major players in the broadcasting, telco, content and cable industries.









Edgeware Agile, part 2: Data-Driven Long Term Forecasting

  
  
  
Data driven forecasting

In a previous blog post, we described Edgeware's agile transformation three months into the process. We're now five months in, and since the last blog post, we've been constantly improving our ability to plan and deliver. We are now getting results in terms of shorter lead times, better planning flexibility and improving velocity trends for the organization (see Figure 1). 

OTT in 2016 and beyond

  
  
  
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Happy New Year! 
With at least 33 new OTT (over-the-top) services launched last year in North America alone, and now with #NetflixEverywhere, 2015 was no doubt the year of OTT. Millions of excited fans worldwide can now access their favorite content on demand, whenever they want it. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said its newly launched DisneyLife subscription streaming service is the future and that they are “seeing more opportunities to reach consumers directly and not through middlemen.”[1]

With that said, here’s our take on what 2016 will bring.


The Local Origin Imperative

  
  
  
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18 months in, I am still a relative newcomer to this industry.  And I continue to find the term OTT puzzling.  Over-The-Top of what exactly…?  When we refer to OTT in its many guises are we not in fact simply talking about a direct, self-curated viewing experience.  A viewing experience designed and built by the individual to provide a wholesale alternative or linked supplement to linear.  A viewing experience that by its very nature creates a heightened expectation of ease of access, quality and availability, regardless of location, device type and content selection due to the audience need to self create.

Three key takeaways from OTT TV World Summit

  
  
  
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OTT TV World Summit brought together many industry experts in the TV and online video business - from Facebook and Microsoft to Scandinavia's largest broadcasting companies to telecommunication providers stretching all the way from South Korea to Trinidad and Tobago – for three intensive days of discussion and networking in London last month.

How to leverage video content delivery data for quick wins

  
  
  
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I live in a quarterly world. I am obsessed with quick wins, at work, home or on the plane. Whenever I have a moment of silence, I satisfy my hunger for quick wins by filling it with sounds and images. At work, I love finding solutions for quick wins to impress myself (or my boss).

Lean and Agile at Edgeware

  
  
  
The release board

In August 2015, Edgeware made the decision to change the way we develop and deliver software and hardware. We started a lean and agile transformation, and this blog post describes where we are and what we’ve learned three months into the process.

What is the relationship between quality of experience and growth?

  
  
  
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In Kuala Lumpur, the city where I grew up, I recall watching my grandmother buy fresh eggs once a week from a farmer who drove his worn-out truck to the front of our house. He would stop the truck and hop down from the driver's seat when he saw us walking towards the gate. As he walked towards the back of his truck to present the wonderful stack of fresh eggs, he would remove his hat and greet my grandmother with a big smile. He would ask about the previous eggs we bought, did we enjoy them, were they sufficient, and so on. They would talk for a while but not just about eggs.

Optimising Quality of Experience for viewers of live events

  
  
  
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Slaying the vampire buffer

Live sport, concerts and media events are big business for providers, and major sources of frustration for viewers when the quality of video and audio transmissions is affected by delays, uneven data flows or data loss due to network speed, latency and jitter. It only takes one missed second during a critical game, or a few dropped frames during an anticipated event, to turn viewing pleasure into intense irritation.

The Year of OTT?

  
  
  
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Is 2015 the year the cord cutters really cut loose?

It was as far back as 2013 that, for the first time ever, the thirteen largest pay TV cable operators in the USA lost more video subscribers than they added – seeing almost 1.2 million subscribers cancel their TV service subscriptions and cut the cord. But it’s a dead certainty they weren’t cutting out TV viewing altogether. Instead, they were simply finding other ways to feed their viewing diet.

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