Time-Shift TV Subscribers now expect any and all of their favorite shows available whenever they want it. They want to pause live TV, start a program over if they missed the beginning, record something that happened in the past, or expect the program that just ended to be instantly available via video on demand (VOD). They expect all five seasons of their favorite series at their fingertips for a binge-watching weekend, and hope to find an older film as easily as the latest blockbuster.
Catch-up TV: This allows subscribers to replay a show broadcast in the past. It can be complex to implement, especially matching VOD content to the electronic program guide (EPG). Storage must be expansive and elastic and there must be superior performance to convert on the fly.
53% TIME-SHIFTED 47% LIVE
34% 19% 16% 8% 6% 3% 7%
DVR or TiVO On-Demand Netflix TV Network Sites Hulu/Hulu Plus Amazon Prime/Instant Other online source
Figure 1: Time-shifted viewing among consumers 16-74 Source :Hub Entertainment Research, Time-Shifting February 2015
20% Watch back to back
Not available during live airing
Takes less time to watch
Can pause or rewind
On-demand/nonlinear viewing has morphed. In addition to DVR and Video on Demand, a variety of time-shifted options are gaining popularity to support the multitude of reasons people choose to delay viewing. In addition to the technical issues involved, these options all require careful examination of regional copyright laws in an effort to stay in compliance.
want time-shift convenience
See missed episodes
Not your father’s VCR
60% Watch when convenient
Time-shifting your video allows you to watch at your leisure. VCRs started the trend in 1980s, but the popularity of the likes of Netflix and Hulu has prompted an explosion in content on demand. While viewers still watch a good deal of live TV, the majority of all TV viewing is now delayed. And of that delayed time, 53% of the viewing is done on a set-top box (STB) with a DVR or pay TV operator VOD. While sports and some reality shows are preferred in real time, most programming is watched sometime after it airs. This is impacting how operators monetize this content, and is even creating a longer runway for new shows’ viability.
Figure 2: Top reasons for time-shifting Source :Hub Entertainment Research, Time Shifting February 2015
Pause Live TV: This allows the subscriber to pause their live program and return to the show later. Very often there are particular legal considerations for how long you can pause. Infinite Archive: The infinite archive records all channels and keeps all the recorded programs available for all the subscribers as long as required. This allows subscribers to “record in the past.” Start-over / Restart TV: This feature allows a subscriber to replay a live broadcast already underway and to switch back to a real-time broadcast feed. dynamic ad insertion is not always an option as there is usually a need to comply with live content and advertising agreements.
The challenges aren’t minor Storage needs are huge Storage is a multifaceted concern with time-shifted and place-shifted TV. As recording archives, VOD libraries, numbers of channels, and time-shift buffers increase, providers must be prepared to scale up quickly and efficiently. Estimating the storage requirements systems is difficult given the number of variables, including the unpredictable nature of some cloud DVR (cDVR) content. Beyond the basic scaling of content, a provider must also consider how protecting these files might impact the amount of storage. In some situations deduplication – storing only a single instance of a redundant file – is a possibility. In others it is impossible due to copyright laws, therefore requiring multiple copies of files. This overhead could greatly enlarge an already huge content library. An additional impact to storage requirements is the number of layers, file formats, and resolutions saved per program. The storage for a single program can multiply exponentially as you add devices and profiles to the storage mix. Quality of service demands great processing Video traffic during peak hours is growing, and the shift from multicast linear TV to unicast VOD and cDVR content creates significant performance challenges. Unicast requires a separate stream for every user, even if they are streaming the same content. This is unlike multicast delivery, which reaches hundreds of homes with a single video stream. In order to maintain an acceptable quality of service, there must be sustained high performance during read and write. Particularly with cDVR, highly efficient processing helps compensate for the heavy compute requirements that come with the potential 30-40% recording concurrency
of viewers say they want a TV-like quality experience every time on every screen
Figure 3: Quality matters Source: Video Streaming Quality Report 2016; Verizon Digital Media Services
at peak times, like prime time. Playout concurrency is also much higher than typical VOD applications with cDVR typically spreading over 72 hours after the recordings. Massive throughput is required due to the number of potential parallel recordings. Complexity abounds Device and platform landscapes are more fragmented than ever. Operators are contending with legacy systems that may or may not be able to handle new time-shift services. In addition, there is an ongoing trend of mergers and acquisitions with US cable companies and European Telcos. The impact of these consolidations can complicate the implementation of a new time-shift deployment. Often in the interest of efficiency, an operator’s overall integration strategy requires consolidation of disparate TV platforms into one unified solution. This may challenge the ability to reuse existing infrastructure or migrate content. The goal of achieving a unified solution will generate significant impact on compute needs, storage, and throughput. Regulations are daunting The ability to record video content has been a staple part of US homes for over three decades. However, the biggest change in the US can be attributed to two groundbreaking copyright law decisions: the Betamax Case (1984) and the Cablevision Case (2008). Both set precedents and continue to influence all US cloud DVR deployments today. Outside the US the laws and regulations of other countries and regions affect the way cloud DVR and new time-shift services are deployed on a global scale. The uncertainty and confusion around these regulations has stalled many operators as they decide how they will interpret the laws and design a system to meet their subscribers’ needs. User experience must be great on all screens Consumers are increasingly demanding multiscreen video distribution across all devices, anywhere. In order to compete with over the top (OTT) services already targeting this opportunity, pay TV operators need to address this demand. A significant 76% of service providers1 acknowledged that multiscreen will be an important requirement in coming years and this necessitates a consistent user experience across devices for a true TV everywhere experience. 1 Heavy Reading, January 2013, White Paper, Cloud-Shifting: Enabling The Future Of TV Delivery
Path to success Finding a way forward with a time-shift solution that fits your specific technical restrictions and meets your business needs requires a standards-based, flexible and scalable framework with the ability to change and adapt as the television and media industry continues to grow. Infrastructure flexibility The world is shifting to the cloud, and your solution should as well. Operators must decide whether to run a cDVR solution using a dedicated infrastructure or to leverage a virtualized cloud environment. While virtualization offers many benefits, this is by no means a clear-cut decision. Operators should take the time to understand how different services are best applied to their unique circumstances to ensure the optimum gains. Organic growth of an existing legacy system can get complex and cumbersome, but ripping and replacing an entire infrastructure may not make sense either. A truly flexible, open platform, with modular components can allow expansion in line with growth and future proof your solution. Scalability Segregating storage and processing means that adding storage capacity makes corresponding processing upgrades necessary. A system that integrates the two functions into a centralized computing model makes it easier to scale storage without adversely impacting processing functionality. The result is a much less complex technology environment in which management overhead is limited because the actual IT configuration is easier to deal with even as storage demands rise. Performance and reliability Operators need reassurance that their content will always be available and delivered efficiently. This requires the highest reliability level and most advanced content redundancy scheme. In addition, time-shifted video, particularly cDVR, requires optimized performance to supply the throughput to handle the high recording concurrency (up to 80%) and streaming demand of prime time.
Adaptability The device landscape is changing and growing. Viewers are fast switching to watching TV OTT on a variety of devices, including gaming consoles; smart TVs; devices like Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV; and even services such as Sony’s PlayStation Vue, TV network apps, and, of course, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. The technical requirements to service these devices is growing much like the addition of new resolutions, formats and digital rights management (DRM) systems. Any solution put in place must be able to adapt to a multitude of changes. Each time-shift application has its own legal restrictions to be cognizant of. Cloud DVR service has faced a number of legal hurdles over the years. Negotiated rights vary program to program and region to region,
0%4: Share of 25% 50%measured 75% Figure total TV time, by device 100% Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab, TV and Media, 2015
with the pivotal issue being whether a “unique copy” is required for each and every subscriber. Each scenario has its own challenges and service providers must ultimately decide between a private, shared, or hybrid architecture and will need the right solutions to answer their specific needs.
The Ericsson approach Ericsson’s best in class TV and media portfolio contains all the components required for a versatile end-to-end time-shifted video solution. This software-based solution offers a truly seamless experience, both for the end user and the operator. In addition, a true TV everywhere experience is possible given our extensive place-shifting expertise. Finally, there are a great deal of monetization opportunities to ensure a good return on investment.
MEDIAFIRST VIDEO PROCESSING
MEDIA DELIVERY NETWORK
Just in time or offline packaging
Just in time transcoding
Edge caching CDN Assist
Consistent UI Personalization
VIDEO STORAGE AND PROCESSING PLATFORM Software based: transcoding and packaging When video storage and processing is removed from the home STB and moved into the cloud, the entire time-shift process becomes possible quickly and efficiently. Ericsson’s solution is fully software based from encoding to storage. Ericsson provides scalable massive real-time content ingest functionality for: >> VOD ingest >> Live channel ingest As the list of formats grows, storing all the desired protocols becomes cumbersome and storage requirements explode. With Ericsson’s just in time packager, you can store just the mezzanine format and repackage to the specific format and DRM requested at the time it is needed. This enables a storage gain of up to 3x capacity. Additionally, as new formats are developed, your library will be ready, without the need to add new reformatted files for older assets. Traditionally, service providers encoded a copy of each video profile they intended to deliver. Each adaptive bit rate (ABR) layer adds significant storage requirements. With Ericsson’s just in time transcoding (JITX), we will delete all but the the highest resolution file after a designated time frame (established by the operator). When a particular profile is called, this layer is generated on the fly. By generating content only when needed you can reduce the storage requirements by half in largescale clusters, such as private copy DVR or deep archive tiers.
MEDIAFIRST TV PLATFORM
Additionally, this enables forward and backward compatibility. It is possible to generate ABR content from CBR to support old content on new OTT devices. JITX allows cable/IP operators to expose OTT services on a small scale without a need to have additional investment for ABR delivery (transcoders, or more storage for ABR recordings). It works with the largest variety of input and output formats for delivery across any network, with comprehensive DRM integration.
Software defined video storage Storage hardware may be a commodity, but software defined video storage is different. It is optimized for video’s sequential, highly linear storage. It provides peak performance and data durability with stable or low latency. At its core, the Ericsson Video Storage and Processing Platform (VSPP) features a scale out file system, which is a high performance distributed file system that clusters all storage server nodes into a single namespace. It is 100% software and runs on heterogeneous Linux COTS servers with direct attached storage (DAS/JBOD). This provides great elastically and tremendous scalability. VSPP combines a group of compute resources on the same cluster using leading virtualization stacks. The ability of the VSPP to turn standard servers into a joint store and compute grid leads to unprecedented density
in cloud data centers, avoiding the usual bottlenecks between storage and compute clusters through data locality, and facilitates scaling and management through a unified grid management. This helps balance some of the processing requirements of just in time packaging and encoding. Seamless experience Consumers now want a world of entertainment at their fingertips. They expect the same high quality experience on all devices. Operators know that providing that experience is anything but simple. Ericsson can help provide not only a consistent experience across all reach devices, but also the seamless platform to enable it. Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform is a software-defined, media-optimized platform for the creation, management, and delivery of next-generation pay TV services. This end-to-end cloud-based platform embraces all content sources and delivery networks, equipping operators to deliver cutting-edge large-scale video services to the billions of devices forecast to be connected by 2020. Core to the architecture of Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform is support for full customization of the user interface / user experience (UI/UX). The same application is used for all devices, which makes the UI consistent. However, the layout and fonts are adjusted to accommodate variations in screen size and expected viewing distance. Service providers can change the look and feel through modifying the components as well as building new experiences with these components. Additionally, it offers a personalized experience that learns about subscribers’ behaviors, offers richer experiences through secondary screens, and integrates social networks and pay TV to provide a social TV experience. Seamless operations As viewing habits change, operators need to keep up. Ericsson’s VSPP creates a seamless transition to all time-shifted and place-shifted services within a single platform. The platform is hardware agnostic and offers homogeneous support of any commercial off the shelf (COTS) equipment. It also offers a fully virtualized option, running on a private or public cloud.
VSPP leverages the available processing resources on the same infrastructure to also perform distributed computing. The shared nothing (SN) architecture enables running compute on the storage infrastructure resulting in a consolidated storage and processing grid that provides unsurpassed performance and massive scalability. It also supports most codecs, formats, or DRMs. VSPP relies on software based APIs that allow for easy integration with service providers’ back office system, AD servers, and schedulers.
END-TO-END TIME-SHIFT PRODUCTS Virtualized | Modular | Scalable | Powerful
MEDIAFIRST VIDEO PROCESSING MediaFirst Video Processing is a robust suite of applications for media processing. It is the most advanced cloud-based and software-defined video processing solution in the industry, powering immersive TV experiences. VIDEO STORAGE AND PROCESSING PLATFORM VSPP integrates and virtualizes the storage and processing capabilities of as many commercial-offthe-shelf (COTS) servers as needed into a unified, high performance, software-based cloud infrastructure. MEDIAFIRST TV PLATFORM A software-defined, media-optimized, cloud-based platform designed for the creation, management, and delivery of next-generation pay TV MEDIA DELIVERY NETWORK Media Delivery Network solution redefines the traditional concept of a CDN, with a unique, singleplatform approach to the delivery of managed and unmanaged content.
In addition, Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform offers components in a standards-based service interface. This allows the component feature sets to be recombined into specific solutions that suit the service provider’s needs. This ensures that as new services, devices or configurations are added, the platform is flexible enough to adapt without a rip and replace of the infrastructure. Pushing to the edge Service providers that choose to migrate from a traditional VOD infrastructure to a CDN architecture gain more dynamic content caching schemes and leverage modern ABR delivery protocols for end-to-end multiscreen IP delivery. Ericsson provides a unified CDN assist solution allowing MSOs to expand their library and adaptively stream content to IP-enabled STB and mobile devices, as well as legacy systems. In this architecture the Ericsson Media Delivery Network (MDN) offloads the origin by caching the most popular content and managing the fan-out to consumers. 80% of the user requests will be served from the MDN. Due to unprecedented content awareness, the request router will communicate with the VSPP origin in order to select the most suitable delivery node for the client and route the request to the right cache delivering the content. This ensures that only caches with the asset are asked to service the requests. With the RTSP Pump and MDN combined you can on-board existing legacy clients together with new OTT clients. The RTSP pump supports trick modes (slowmotion, pause, fast rewind, fast forward and skips) and generate them on the fly. The VSPP edge is a unified edge for RTSP and ABR delivery. It works with any third party CDN, the Ericsson Media Delivery Network or as a standalone video caching tier for RTSP.
New revenue opportunities VOD viewing of primetime broadcast TV shows has doubled over the past five years, including a 19.8% increase in 20152. This opens opportunities for new, untapped ad space. Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing addresses all packaging needs related to VOD creation, catch-up from files or live streams, and dynamic transcoding. This functionality supports pursuit of increasing C3/C7 monetization, targeted advertising, and personalized channel opportunities.
Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing offers fast provision of dynamic ad insertion for C3 content. This gives the content owner the ability to re-monetize original content by swapping out ads that would otherwise be tied to shows. This is an opportunity for providers to acheive greater audience targeting, even days after it airs. This personalization allows: >> Network-centric targeted ad insertion >> Multiformat ad stitching / alternate content >> Player-agnostic approach for linear and VOD content >> Aggregate ad impressions
of consumers prefer to watch personalized ads based on viewing habits and 3 demographics Additionally, VSPP supports dynamic ad insertion. It collects and stores SCTE-35 cue tones during the ingest and supports a variety of insertion methods.
Why Ericsson? With commercial deployments at some of the largest TV operators in the world, we are the world’s leading experts on cloud DVR deployments enabling time-shift solutions. In addition, our solution is flexible and has superior performance. Our virtualized and modular solution will get you to market quickly. Insurance policy in a changing ecosystem The Ericsson product suites are designed to withstand the winds of change. The open platforms in our timeshift solution are designed to adapt to changing technological and legal needs of the operator. If the regional copyrights change and you need to shift from a 2 Rentrak’s “State of VOD: Trend Report,” http://www.cablefax.com/cablefax_ viewpoint/the-growing-importance-of-vod-ad-revenues#sthash.e7D6vgu8. dpuf 3 Ericsson ConsumerLab, TV and Media, 2015
shared copy deployment to a private copy deployment, the platform adapts. If you want to expand your catch up window to two weeks instead of three days, or upgrade storage allotments, the platform adapts. With the most field tested experience, Ericsson can offer the greatest variety of hybrid solutions customized to meet your needs. We can configure a system anywhere along the shared copy – private copy continuum, or on private or public cloud, or somewhere in between. Component based end-to-end solution While we offer a complete end-to-end solution, we have ensured that our products and platforms are modular. As technology changes, and requirements grow, we understand that you will need to add to, replace, and augment your existing solution. Our componentized approach allows for greater speed in starting up a new service, better ease in fitting into legacy infrastructure, and simpler overall integration. We can support heterogeneous environments, we’re software based, hardware or deployment environment agnostic, and very flexible. This modularity encourages agile development, as well as leverages cloud technology. Virtualized As more operators consider moving to the cloud, the clearer it becomes that not one configuration fits all. In addition to what services to offer, what regulations apply and how to coordinate with their current solutions, operators are also considering whether to run their time-shift solution using a dedicated infrastructure or leverage a virtualized cloud environment. There are
Open, API driven infrastructure Deployment environment agnostic
some distinct advantages to using conventional hardware-based deployments; however new market demands and certain circumstances dictate that alternative configurations are considered. In this situation, virtualization offers great benefits to providers, but careful consideration to many of the above factors is required. The combination of a public and private cloud as part of a hybrid architecture is one of the options on offer to enterprises looking to take a route into a fully cloudbased structure. This will be highly important in terms of understanding the complexity and risk of various different applications and workloads. For large enterprises, the hybrid cloud is considered to have the greatest potential to become the dominant cloud-based strategy in the future TV and media landscape. Nevertheless, having the right platform for a hybrid cloud will play an important step towards modernizing and automating software. Ericsson’s software-based components enable virtualized solutions that can be deployed on bare metal, public, or private clouds. There is also a hybrid option, a bare-metal data plane with a virtualized control, and management plane. World leading experience Ericsson is the world leader in TV anytime video with the most practical experience, versatility, and performance. Its software-based components enable virtualized solutions that can be deployed on bare metal, public, or private clouds and we can get you to market quickly and profitably with experienced integration support and monetization strategies.
PLACE SHIFTING EXPERTISE
Consistent user experience across devices and delivery platforms
Optimized transcoding, storage, and packaging
Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world rely every day on networks that we manage. With more than 39,000 granted patents, we have one of the industry’s strongest intellectual property rights portfolios. Our leadership in technology and services has been a driving force behind the expansion and improvement of connectivity worldwide. We believe that through mobility, our society can be transformed for the better. New innovations and forms of expression are finding a greater audience, industries and hierarchies are being revolutionized, and we are seeing a fundamental change in the way we communicate, socialize and make decisions together. These exciting changes represent the realization of our vision: a Networked Society, where every person and every industry is empowered to reach their full potential.
The content of this document is subject to revision without notice due to continued progress in methodology, design and manufacturing. Ericsson shall have no liability for any error or damage of any kind resulting from the use of this document.
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