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[IBC 2013 Report] MPEG-DASH Ecosystem Status

While most of IBC’s buzz was generated by the shiny #hevc + 4K couple, it was a good occasion to stand back from the hype and measure how one of the most important video standards (at least for the #ott world) had spread over the industry since last year. MPEG-DASH is not sexy (let’s remember that it’s basically a collection of XML schemes), it’s a bit boring (as it’s usually demonstrated with the Big Buck Bunny that you saw not less than 2.000 times) and it’s complex – but once you go past those defaults, you might find that its potential to simplify your workflows and boost the profitability of your video service is high…
And that’s precisely what the industry has finally understood: video distributors want to streamline their workflows and save their storage budgets by reducing the number of output formats, they search for ways to build long term strategies with evolutive solutions – and all of this implies rolling away from proprietary #abr solutions like Smooth Streaming, HLS, HDS and the now defunct Widevine WVM proprietary packaging format (rest in peace), DASH’s first victim.

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[IBC 2013 Talk] The Future of OTT Platforms

Today many content providers must change of OTT platform after the first implementation of their service (or even before first deployment) because it’s a dead end : either the platform is deceptive in terms of overall features coverage or missing sub-features, or it doesn’t evolve quickly enough compared to the competitive pressure of premium OTT markets. And we can’t really blame the content providers for this, as it’s always a very difficult decision to take when you have to choose your OTT platform service/solution provider: you are pressured by the competition and you need a fast time-to-market, and in the same time you would like to ensure long-term platform evolution capacity and technical control on it. Usually you end up with the solution offering the quickest time-to-market – or pretending so. You also end up with feature zones unfinished or finally covered with the help a third party solution – thus clearly challenging the idea of decent one-stop-shop OTT platform provider…

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NAB 2012 OTT Advancements & Doubts

NAB 2012 closed its doors two weeks ago, so it’s a good time to draw an appraisal on various themes concerning OTT issues, and especially premium OTT issues, that have been handled through industry technology offer during the tradeshow. Here we’ll go from production to distribution and examine the salient NAB facts and products, at least the ones which have a potential influence on OTT workflows evolution in the coming months (or years ?).

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What to see @ IBC 2011 : a selection of products for Streaming Workflows

If you got a plane for Amsterdam in September, there’s a chance that it’s not (only) to make you bulldog walking under the red lights : you will probably be undermining your new pair of shoes in the alleys of the RAI, seeking the freshness of streaming video innovations.

Each year the trip is too short – and the feet do hurt – especially if you didn’t carefully select your target booths in advance in order to see the more interesting technology breakthroughs. While making this preparation exercise, I thought that I could share my choices, in order to save your time and shoes a bit, and to hear back your tips as comments. So here are some suggestions of visits to arrange if your job is to build streaming-media-oriented-production-workflows like I do.

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WebM Streaming [Streaming Video Technologies Panorama, part 3]

WebM is surely one of the hotest streaming topics right now, because it’s one of the two final HTML5 video standards with H.264. When Google bought On2 in 2009 and open-sourced its latest VP8 codec one year later, two promises were made : providing a codec which quality can compete with H.264 , and providing it in a royalty-free way. On the quality point, the general opinion is that the VP8 codec is slightly less performing than H.264 – but it can be an acceptable trade-off regarding the royalties point.

Precisely, the royalty-free point is the one which raises the more questions now, as MPEG-LA is said to have a lineup of 12 patent owners ready to claim their rights on intellectual property, as VP8 would use compression techniques taken from H.264. Seeing their fight against Google being a success would cause a major setback in HTML5 standardization efforts around open source solutions – WebM then being another coding technology subject to royalties after H.264. Nevertheless, the patent war has not started yet and WebM is still a good alternative to H.264, on the paper. And that’s why we are curious to know how we can implement it in our existing or upcoming workflows.

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