UK’s BT Group Announces Live TV Technology Breakthrough To Meet Growing Customer Demand

BT Group has unveiled a pioneering new technology, designed to be a more reliable, quality-focused and sustainable way of delivering live content over the internet. Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery (MAUD) technology is aimed at improving viewer experiences and increasing the efficiency of the complex journey that content takes to reach them.

Major broadcasters, including the BBC, will be involved in evaluating and potentially trialling the technology to support a range of live content. MAUD has a further significant advantage over 'ordinary' multicast streams, as its integration is made completely transparent to the player application. This means content service providers don't need to modify their customer apps to take advantage of this technology - saving time and money.

Unlike traditional ‘unicast’ delivery, where each viewer watches the action via a dedicated, personal internet stream, MAUD technology uses 'multicast' to group those single streams into one shared one, directing it to those that want to watch the action. MAUD has a further significant advantage over 'ordinary' multicast streams, as its integration is made completely transparent to the player application.

Removing the need to select and serve millions of individual streams to viewers substantially increases the efficiency of content delivery, but also reduces environmental impact and overall costs for broadcasters, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and internet providers. MAUD technology uses up to 50% less bandwidth during peak events, reducing energy usage through the use of fewer caches. By freeing up internet capacity, it will help to deliver a higher quality of experience for both live and non-live content.

MAUD was developed by the Content Delivery Research team at BT’s Research Labs, based at Adastral Park in Suffolk. The goal was to create a solution for efficient live streaming that was sensitive to the needs of the various organisations in the content delivery path. The MAUD solution was presented to broadcasters at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam earlier this year with multicast described by an Analysys Mason paper from September – produced for Ofcom – to be, in principle, the most ‘technically efficient technology for IP-delivery of live content.'

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