Satellite Telecommunications Network Turns to Elemental for Unified Head End

Satellite Telecommunications Network (STN), a Slovenian teleport, has deployed video processing technology from AWS (Amazon Web Services) subsidiary Elemental in its unified headend for delivery of broadcast and OTT TV content in High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265). This will distribute content spanning over 650 channels to subscribers worldwide.

Founded in 2004 near Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, STN has since expanded to become a telecommunications hub specializing in broadcast TV distribution to operators on a global basis, providing playout, multicast delivery and uplink services. These are rooted on a fiber infrastructure serving the uplink connections to various regional markets, including the USA, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as local satellite dishes in Europe.

Elemental now describes itself as a specialist in Software Defined Networking (SDN) in which the control and forwarding aspects of IP packet transport are separated to enable use of commodity hardware. But it is best known as an evangelist for software based encoding and its position there led to its acquisition by AWS in September 2015 announced around the IBC show. AWS has incorporated Elemental’s encoding software in its Elemental Cloud as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) designed to manage high-volume video transport solutions. This exploits the scalability of the AWS cloud, which is the world’s biggest with more than 10 times the computational capacity of the next 14 cloud providers put together, according to analyst group Gartner. AWS says that the platform automatically provisions and dynamically scales virtual Elemental systems, then integrates these resources with on-site infrastructure to enable almost instantaneous expansion of video processing capacity.

STN has been pursuing similar efficiencies on a smaller scale, according to Tomaz Lovsin, its Chief Technical Officer. “Consumers around the world have a rapidly increasing requirement to consume content in all formats on all platforms. STN is expanding quickly to help our customers meet this demand,” said Lovsin. “The ability of Elemental software to support multiple compression and adaptive bitrate formats within a unified headend for broadcast and OTT delivery is driving massive efficiencies for STN.”

STN is currently expanding to deliver over 20 HD channels of general entertainment content for a single client, with the goal of reaching as many screens as possible. To achieve this, STN will use Elemental Live managed by Elemental Conductor to transcode channel content in six different profiles for adaptive streaming. To optimize the workflow for quality, feeds from a local playout system will be used. To assure that quality, reliability and security requirements for content delivery networks are met, profiles are published on Elemental Delta origin servers where CDNs can pick up the content for multiscreen OTT delivery.

“Elemental is the last device on a signal path and it can materially affect the image quality,” said Lovsin. “Good compression should deliver video that closely matches the original while simultaneously achieving the smallest bitrate, and this is exactly what Elemental gives us.”

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