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IP Broadcasting In-Depth

 

Streaming21’s award-winning multi-channel IP broadcast solution centers around the Media Caster component, providing a full suite of functionality for multi-channel encoding and broadcasting of live events and pre-recorded content to hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers over IP networks. It offers real-time encoding, unicast and multicast transmissions, local and remote archival, a web-based remote management console, variable channel controls and support for industry-standard codecs. The solution is fully integrated, and highly scalable. Above all, it provides broadcasters with a secure solution to deliver high-quality, live and scheduled broadcasts on a large scale.

Broadcasts can be delivered directly over multiple channels to personal computers, handheld wireless PDAs, or regular TVs equipped with set-top boxes. Full-screen broadcast-quality audio and video enrich the viewing experience, exceeding the quality provided by conventional broadcasting. The high reception quality enables broadcasters to offer a variety of value-added services that were not possible until now.

 



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Multi-Channel Broadcasting - Video and Music
Streaming21’s IP broadcast solutions can be configured to support up to 20 concurrent broadcast channels per system. Each channel output is configurable for unicast, and/or multicast broadcast to support different network capabilities.

Programs broadcasted by Media Caster may come from a variety of sources. These include those:

  • Stored on a local drive
  • Stored on a local or remote Media Server
  • Stored on another Media Caster that is using the relay function to deliver content
  • Fed in real time from a studio camera, satellite feed, or other video source
  • Fed from Betacam, VHS, DVD, or another player

Multiple channels can be used to broadcast different programming. For example, one channel may be set for classic movies or news broadcasts while other channels may be set for a shopping network, children’s programming, a special interest show, and so on.

The ability to program 20 different channels per Media Caster provides the flexibility to tailor programming to suit specific audience needs. Multiple Media Casters can be programmed to support hundreds of programming channels concurrently through a single service.

On-Line Multiformat Encoding and Transmission
Live events and programs such as corporate communications and training require real-time encoding and transmission capabilities. Unlike offline encoder solutions, Streaming21’s IP broadcasting solutions provide real-time, multi-channel, multi-format encoding capabilities for programs originating from tape, camera or any analog or digital (D1) input source. Program signals fed to the Streaming21 Media Caster are encoded in real time and transmitted to audiences over local or wide-area IP networks for immediate viewing. Program formats are configurable per channel out.

For real-time multiformat and multi-data rate broadcasting requirements, a single program source may be fed to multiple channel inputs for concurrent encode and transmission. Supported media formats include: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 Program Stream, MPEG-2 Transport Stream* and ASF for video programming, as well as MP3 for music programs. Each channel output is configurable for unicast and/or multicast transmissions. (*MPEG-2 TS is currently the broadcast industry standard for Satellite and Cable content distribution.)

Unicast Broadcasts
Streaming21’s IP broadcast solutions can be configured on a per channel basis to deliver programming to viewers via IP multicast and/or unicast. When unicast transmission is utilized (narrowcast) individual users are connected directly to a Media Caster channel transmitter with the same session tracking and service management QoS offered in Streaming21 media-on-demand solutions. This approach allows the broadcaster to reach its audience, including public Internet viewers with the highest quality end-user experience without having to perform network reconfigurations normally required to enable multicast support.

Multicast Broadcasts
Streaming21’s IP broadcast solutions can also be configured on a per channel basis to deliver programming to viewers via IP multicast for networks that are multicast enabled. Instead of establishing individual connections for each viewer, multicasting outputs a single stream per channel for all viewers. Multicasting enables better use of the network bandwidth, but does require the network to be configured in a special way that may be incompatible with existing equipment.

Multi-Channel IP Relay
Media Caster has a built-in relay function that enables support for a very large number of users while addressing any network bandwidth constraints. Using a single stream, Media Caster is able to broadcast over a congested or a bandwidth-constrained network to another Media Caster on the edge of the backbone network. The Media Caster on the edge then takes over the transmission and retransmits the broadcast channel locally to thousands of users. Multiple Media Casters on the edge effectively act as relay or proxy nodes, keeping the load on the backbone network light and managing all the broadcast channels locally. Relay services can be cascaded several levels to reach the widest possible audience in heterogeneous network environments, uniquely addressing network bandwidth issues or last mile delivery problems.

Local Archive and Scheduled Rebroadcast
While programming is being viewed, broadcasts can be archived automatically. Archived content can then be scheduled for local rebroadcast by any Media Caster. This feature allows broadcasters to locally rebroadcast programs at scheduled intervals.

Real-Time Remote Archival for Future Media-on-Demand Access
On-line programming originating from Streaming21’s IP broadcast solutions can be concurrently transmitted, archived and made available for time-shift viewing if used in combination with the Streaming21 media-on-demand solution. Unique Streaming21 technologies allow remotely archived content to be made available for viewing prior to the end of the program.

Within seconds of the start of the original broadcast, the archived content can be made available for delivery, adding full VCR style interactivity, and on-demand access to the originating broadcast stream. This feature provides the viewing audience with the opportunity to watch either:

  • The originating broadcast (live)
  • A time-shifted retransmission (Scheduled NVOD) in close to real-time
  • True VOD access to the entire program if the audience missed the start of the original live broadcast

Content providers can thus offer programming to various audiences, accounting for time zone or service level differences.

Multi-Channel Program Scheduling and Encoding
Each channel can be individually programmed and scheduled. A program guide can be published via a Web server gateway so that viewers can see channel program offerings in advance, in a manner similar to conventional multi-channel TV viewing. Alternatively, the program schedule can be made available directly through the Streaming21 Media Player. Viewers only need to select the desired channel to watch the program being shown. The Media Player has built-in functionality so that viewers can select a channel by number or roam from one channel to the next.

Comprehensive Management Capabilities
Streaming21’s broadcasting solution supports a wide array of management capabilities that allow the operator to configure, monitor, and control a complex environment of multiple Media Casters and Media Servers. Built-in SNMP, ODBC, and LDAP provide support for the management needs of today’s networks. Media Manager, Streaming21’s web-based remote management application allows the operator to monitor broadcasting channels, user configurations, and encoding parameters. It can also be used to manage scheduled and relay broadcasts, and to control the archiving of content across the network. The operator can monitor the performance of all channels and take timely remedial action when necessary. Detailed access records are logged using a database to provide billing transactions as well as performance and usage analysis.

Media Caster and Media Server’s built-in support for SNMP, the standard network management protocol, enables any management console such as HP’s OpenView to remotely monitor and control a complex broadcasting environment.

Business Application Examples
Value-added services can be readily integrated and deployed in time frames typically driven by today’s business models including:

  Enterprise & Small Business   Carrier/Hospitality
  Distance Learning/e-Learning   Scheduled Broadcast Services
  Web-based e-Learning   Subscription Services
  Enterprise eBriefing Solutions   Near VOD (NVOD) Services
  Employee Education   Television Rebroadcasts
  Live CRM   Enhanced TV Services
  Remote Collaboration   Event Broadcasting Services
  Media eMail Solutions    
  Video Conference Archival    
  Enterprise TV    
  Executive Briefings    
  Broadcast Video Portal    
  Live Web Casting    

 

 

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Current Press Releases:

February 15, 2011 Streaming21 Launches Media Relay Server 2.5 for Android Devices, iPhone, and iPad in addition to IPTV Set-top Box

August 29, 2008 Streaming21 & Microsoft Head to Japan with Windows Home Server

June 02, 2008 Experiencing "Seamless Digital Home Solution" with Streaming21 and Microsoft at Computex Taipei 2008

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