​Imagine Communications Markets Unified Distribution Initiative

Imagine Communication is marketing the Unified Distribution Initiative as a ‘game-altering’ technology designed to accelerate modernization of video service providers’ networks. It is designed to sell the company’s Selenio Video Delivery Edge (VDE).

Imagine explains, “PayTV operators in recent years have built out HTTP-based networks that use adaptive bitrate (ABR) technologies to stream programming and ads to internet-connected devices, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected televisions. These OTT networks are often built in parallel with traditional video transport networks that deliver content to subscribers’ televisions through set-top boxes. The burden of maintaining multiple video delivery and ad insertion infrastructures is inhibiting the ability of some video service providers to innovate and modernize their infrastructures.”

So the 'unified distribution initiative' is designed to address these issues by enabling content distributors to consolidate multiple video delivery and ad insertion infrastructures into a software-based HTTP network that uses ABR technology.

Steve Reynolds, CTO of Imagine Communications, says, “Pay TV providers are being buffeted by new media challengers that are capable of streaming high-quality and high-demand video over broadband connections. By adopting a unified distribution architecture, cable operators and other content distributors will be well positioned to not only withstand these competitive threats but also differentiate their services in a crowded marketplace by delivering a unique and highly personalized video consumption experience.”

The product at the core of the service is Selenio Video Delivery Edge (VDE). This is a HTTP-to-UDP gateway designed to allow video service providers “to streamline the consolidation of legacy and next-gen networks.” Positioned at the edge of the network, the Selenio VDE converts ABR-based content into transport stream-compatible signals that are delivered to subscribers through existing STBs.

“By bridging legacy and next-generation networks, the software-based Selenio VDE assists payTV providers in eliminating the overlap in the core of their networks,” says Imagine. “Cable operators, for example, can begin to reduce the number of transcode operations in the network, significantly decreasing operational cost while at the same time improving video quality.”

Similarly, Selenio VDE is designed to enable video service providers to retire outdated hardware-based ad splicers by leveraging the same ad insertion technology currently being used to feed commercial spots to Internet-connected devices.

“The replacement of hardware-dependent systems with a software-based ad insertion ecosystem significantly increases deployment flexibility,” says Reynolds. “Cable operators, which may maintain hundreds of head-ends and thousands of ad zones, are now able to locate ad insertion functionality anywhere in their networks.”

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