Channel 4 Picks Aspera For VoD Content Transfer To Cloud

UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 has announced it is now uploading video content for its VOD service 4oD (4 on Demand) via the cloud, rather than by traditional FTP file transfer. Channel 4 has deployed Aspera On Demand, IBM’s cross cloud transfer platform, to reduce the time it takes to send over 100 hours of fresh video content each week from its London playout center to cloud storage in Ireland, amounting to 100 terabytes of data a year.

Available over 22 platforms, including traditional pay TV services Virgin Media and Sky with set top boxes, as well as mobile devices, PCs, connected TVs and game consoles, 4oD offers a range of programs shortly after showing on Channel 4’s linear channels, Channel 4, E4 and More4. It also shows archive content. Before deploying Aspera On Demand, Channel 4 was delivering content to 4oD via FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and wanted to find a way to accelerate this process so that viewers could access the programming sooner.

Now transfer capacity can be scaled up as needed to meet demand, while integration of the Aspera FASP high-speed protocol with the underlying cloud-based object storage APIs ensures maximum transfer speed end-to-end. It also adds transfer management features such as adaptive bandwidth control, pause, resume, and encryption over the wire as well as at rest. Large collections of small files for “tiled” video formats such as HLS are transferred at the same speed as big video files, and up to 10 times faster than typical cloud transfer technologies, according to IBM. As a result, all video content is transferred efficiently and securely from Channel 4’s playout center in West London directly to its cloud object storage in Dublin, Ireland.

“We decided that Aspera was a mature, fast, reliable and secure solution capable of handling the high volume of video content delivery direct to cloud storage,” said Simon Christie, Broadcast Systems Engineer, Distribution & Broadcast Technology, Channel 4. “The speed, efficiency and reliability that Aspera On Demand provides gives us confidence that every part of the package file is delivered on time and without corruption – which is crucial when we’re updating the platform with a hundred hours of content each week.”

Channel 4 was able to integrate Aspera On Demand into its existing IT infrastructure. The entire process of transferring content to the cloud is now fully automated, including automated error handling.

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