Light Reading
Comcast is the marquee customer for a new video processing system from Elemental that can boost VoD quality with fewer bits

VoD Trends: Quality Over Quantity

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner
2/15/2013
50%
50%

As Netflix Inc. and VUDU Inc. go over the top to deliver VoD to the TV with better quality, including some stuff in 1080p format, cable operators are coming under increasing pressure to also boost quality of their VoD streams into the home, even as bandwidth remains a scarce resource. (See TW Cable Slams Netflix's 'Super HD' Policy.) One company that's trying to help the cable guys gloss up their VoD without also dialing up bit rates is Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI), which overhauled its video-processing software for off-the-shelf encoding hardware that supports Intel Corp.'s new Sandy Bridge CPUs and Nvidia Corp.'s Tesla GPUs. The underlying idea is to improve video processing capabilities by two in half the rack space, and use 30 percent less power. A marquee customer for this is Comcast Corp., which is utilizing Elemental's new-generation system principally to prep and deliver VoD services to set-top boxes out of the Comcast Media Center (CMC) in Centennial, Colo. The vast majority of Comcast's set-tops rely on MPEG-based transport, and the bulk of Comcast's live TV and on-demand fare is still using MPEG-2, which is only half as efficient as MPEG-4. "A large part of the effort now is for VoD," said Comcast VP of Video Quality and Reliability Dave Higgins, noting that Elemental's new platform gives Comcast the opportunity to improve video quality without having to throw more bandwidth at it. Comcast is also working with Elemental to transcode and prepare on-demand, TV Everywhere content for tablets, PCs and smartphones that support the operator's Xfinity TV apps. Elemental tells me that they're also involved with creating content for Comcast's new IP-capable X1 platform as well as Streampix, the operator's new subscription VoD service for set-tops and mobile devices. (See Elemental Eases Into Comcast OTT Role and Comcast's X1 Comes to Colorado.) Comcast isn't using Elemental's latest generation for TV Everywhere services yet, but "ultimately we are headed toward more wide scale use of the Elemental software update," Higgins said. Elemental, which counts Envivio Inc. and Harmonic Inc. among its competitors, has already built in a software-upgrade path for HEVC/H.265, an emerging codec that requires more processing than MPEG-4, but will be 50 percent more efficient from a bandwidth standpoint. Some possible applications for HEVC include the eye-popping 4K/Ultra HD format as well as mobile/multi-screen video. Comcast has not announced any commitments for the new codec, but HEVC "is definitely on the roadmap for the industry," Higgins said. "The challenge is to be able to deliver next-generation products out to the end user." That seems to jibe with what Elemental is hearing from its customers. Elemental VP of Marketing Keith Wymbs said 67 percent of 103 customers who responded to a customer satisfaction survey indicated that they're interested in kicking the tires on HEVC within the next nine months.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from The Bauminator
Don't expect anything more to pop for a while, but one analyst sees John Malone & Co. as the 'logical, ultimate acquirer of Ziggo' if the price is right
Cable operators will need to free up at least 24MHz of spectrum for Docsis 3.1. But why is that the magic number?
Liberty Media's rumored plan to snag a 25% stake in Charter for $2.5B could aid the MSO's M&A strategy
Top US cable operators lost 1.41 million video subs in 2012, but the bleeding continues to show signs of slowing in a saturated pay-TV market
Aereo streams its 'no cable required' tagline into the video world. Will consumers tune in to the message?
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Fiber Revival at Deutsche Telekom
Iain Morris, 8/25/2014
M2M's In Fashion: Wearables Play the US Open
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed