Net Insight Joins Grass Valley Media Universe Alliance

Net Insight has joined the GV Media Universe (GVMU) Alliance, Grass Valley’s ecosystem of partners qualified to help broadcasters, content owners and video service providers harness cloud-based content delivery.

Net Insight brings its Nimbra Edge hyper-scale cloud media delivery platform with the claim it is the first to support all major industry re-transmission standards under the ARQ banner, including RIST, SRT and Zixi, enabling service providers to deploy any blend of private, hybrid, or public cloud networks without vendor or technology lock in.

The Nimbra platform is designed to allow new channels and workflows to be opened up quickly for delivery by any of the leading formats, assisted by the company’s Media Pro Application, which is a programmable and scalable virtualized media function enabling delivery of high volumes of IP video, audio and data in the ST 2022 and ST 2110 formats, for live events and production workflows. ST 2022 was the first standard for IP streaming introduced in 2007, supporting legacy broadcast workflows by packetizing entire SDI signals in IP packets. Originally just for compressed video, the version ST 2022-6 published in 2012 added support for uncompressed video. ST 2110 was then introduced in 2015 with the further ambition of making IP production workflows even more efficient than traditional SDI workflows, and that has been the recent focus of technology developments.

Net Insight joined the GVMU Alliance after some years of collaboration between the two companies, including technology partnerships over live video and remote production for customers including Globo TV, LinkedIn, and Red Bee Media. Indeed, Net Insight in March 2021 completed successful implementation of the world’s first 100GE IP Media Trust Boundary for delivery of an uncompressed IP playout solution to Red Bee Media as a leading managed service provider in the media industry. This was incorporated in Red Bee Media’s IP-based, software-only Managed Playout Service, for qualitative service distribution and monitoring for public and commercial broadcast customers in the UK, harnessing the collaboration with Grass Valley.

The collaboration between the two companies was strengthened by increased demand for remote production during the pandemic, as the media industry was forced to adapt to fewer on-site staff, or none at all, with more content produced from homes. At the same time, providers increasingly faced the contradictory demands of producing more content for less money, a trick that can only be performed with the help of automated remote production. As Kenth Andersson, Head of Strategic Alliances at Net Insight, wrote in a blog, “agile and more streamlined production workflows quickly became the norm.” He noted how video feeds were being encoded and sent to the cloud wrapped in ARQ or those three industry-standard retransmission protocols Zixi, SRT and RIST. These protocols help ensure that the streams will ingest on time and at the quality required for production.

Crister Fritzson was appointed CEO of Net Insight in October 2019.

Crister Fritzson was appointed CEO of Net Insight in October 2019.

ARQ is sometimes used generically to describe low latency streaming transmission but is strictly the automatic repeat query, which evolved under the TCP protocol for error-control involving acknowledgements to achieve accurate transmission over unreliable communication channels. RIST, SRT and Zixi were subsequently developed to make low error transmission more efficient and fast enough for live streaming by streamlining acknowledgements or eliminating them altogether.

The description of such protocols as being open rather than proprietary is somewhat misleading, although proponents would claim that weight of industry support has made them at least de facto standards that video service providers can deploy with some assurance they will interoperate with relevant systems and target platforms. Zixi employs its own proprietary version of Forward Error Correction (FEC) to reduce latency, this actually being a major selling point. FEC generally enables error free delivery without needing retransmission by adding redundant information to packets sufficient to allow recovery of lost of corrupted data upon receipt. The caveats are that this adds redundant data, which in turn exacts some latency toll, while only being able to cope with a certain amount of packet loss or corruption before falling over. The Zixi protocol seeks to optimize FEC for video transmission, by combining it with some retransmission and congestion avoidance in an efficient way for error-free video transport over IP. Zixi claims it can cope with up to 45% packet loss and still recover, making it practical for professional video.

The other protocols might add less overhead but with higher latency, so there are tradeoffs.

Grass Valley’s GVMU Alliance kicks in by supporting a variety of technology options for migrating towards SaaS (Software as a Service) and cloud-based delivery, combining the firm’s own products with those from qualified partners, as Net Insight’s CEO Crister Fritzson indicated. “Grass Valley has been a valuable solution partner for years and we’re excited to move our collaboration forward by joining the Grass Valley Media Universe,” said Fritzson. “We both share a common vision — to support the broadcasting industry’s transition to innovative cloud and distributed workflows that will revolutionize content delivery and viewing experiences. Our market-leading, fully open solution portfolios are the perfect fit for Grass Valley’s ecosystem of cloud-based tools, services, and pre-qualified solutions that aim to change how live media is produced.” 

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