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Startup Caches Live Video Streams

Alan Breznick
1/31/2014
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Just in time for Sunday's Super Bowl and the start of the Winter Olympics, a video transport startup is introducing what it claims to be the industry's first transparent caching system for live video streams over the Internet.

Qwilt Inc. , a Silicon Valley firm started by industry veterans from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) in 2010, is launching the new caching system to "address the unique challenges of over-the-top (OTT) video delivery for network service providers." These challenges include poor streaming quality, dropped viewing sessions, and incessant buffering, all caused by the strains that big surges in video traffic place on cable operator and other service provider networks.

Qwilt's new product, known as Live Stream Cache, aims to overcome these challenges by monitoring live video streams and identifying trending and popular programs and events. It then steers the identified live streams to the network's edge, where it keeps them for quicker, more efficient delivery to viewers. Live Stream Cache is a new software upgrade to Qwilt's flagship QB-Series Video Fabric Controllers, which are special caches designed to store streaming traffic from the web.

Previously, companies such as Qwilt have offered transparent caching of on-demand programming, enabling network operators to monitor, pick out, and store the heavy video traffic streaming from Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Hulu LLC , YouTube Inc. , and other popular OTT video providers. But until now nobody has offered transparent caching of live video streams because of the inherent difficulties of redirecting, storing, and delivering adaptive bit-rate (ABR) video streams in real-time.

"The key is that we had to solve the problem of replicating live streams without delaying the process," said Mark Fisher, VP of marketing and business development for Qwilt. "We're able to solve this for the live stream and address this type of traffic."

Qwilt, which competes against such companies as PeerApp Ltd. , Allot Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT), and Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI), is targeting the new live caching system at cable operators and other video service providers. The company, which has raised about $40 million in funding and says it now has more than 40 trials and deployments in progress across the globe, counts Mediacom Communications Corp. as its biggest MSO customer. (See Cable Television Toyama Deploys Qwilt and Mediacom Caches OTT With Qwilt.)

As part of that strategy, Qwilt will sponsor a Light Reading Webinar focused on live video streaming delivery on Thursday, February 13. Dan Sahar, a Qwilt co-founder who's VP of product marketing for the company, will present the new caching solution then.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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victorblake
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victorblake,
User Rank: Lightning
2/3/2014 | 5:53:45 PM
live stream
odd choice to use "live stream" when there is a company called "livestream" can we say "trademark infringement?"
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
1/31/2014 | 10:29:56 PM
Re: cache and carry
This could definitely open the floodgate for streaming of live sports, In addition to the operators, the pro sports leagues likely will be watching Qwilt pretty closely.
albreznick
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albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/31/2014 | 5:14:16 PM
cache and carry
This could be a big deal if Qwilt really has it right. Streaming of live video signals does have all sorts of problems now. If those quality problems can be fixed, video cord cutting couldreally accelerate because even live sports action could be viewed easily online. 
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