Thursday, February 14, 2013

Adding Smart Video Servers to Existing Telecom and Mobile Networks for More Efficient TV Services

Telecom and Mobile Network operators need to efficiently and reliably provide a mix of broadcast and unicast video services. Thomas Fuerst with Alcatel-Lucent explained to me at the TelcoTV show that mixing TV and IP networks can result in some key challenges for the network operators. These include poor quality of service reliability (especially for paid viewing), slow channel changing, distorted ad insertion (media processing for splicing), and inability to provide service to multiple types of viewing devices. To solve these key challenges, Alcatel-Lucent has developed a smart video processor and server. This server includes video packetization, rapid buffering, and smart video processing. Because these video servers are shared by many users, they can be extremely cost effective. Reliability - Buffer stores segments of each video stream (about 5 to 10 seconds) being delivery by the network (typically 100 to 500 TV channels). STBs can signal the video server when packets have been lost to enable retransmission. One to two second buffer in the STB means highly reliable video content. Fast Channel Change - on channel change request, video processor speeds up providing rapid delivery of the new channel. Viewers will not notice delays in channel changing time. Ad Insertions - commercial media segment can be rapidly modified (frame structures) so they can be integrated (spliced) into the main broadcast signal seamlessly. This process also allows for the insertion of personalized ads without modification to the STB. Transcoding and Transrating - allows for the conversion of media to the many additional formats and rates (e.g. lower rates for mobile video). This process can involve fundamental analysis and reconstruction of the media including motion vector sharing, re-quantitizing coefficients, and reducing bit rates. The smart video servers can be integrated into existing equipment and networks or it can be added as a separate element to existing networks. Alcatel-Lucent has develop a set of algorithms and protocols that enable the setup and management of these smart video processing servers.

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