Despite the rapid expansion of live streaming, CDNs have yet to reliably deliver on the many promises they made about IP streaming. The recent pay-per-view boxing match between Mayweather-McGregor demonstrated just how difficult it can be for CDNs to transport live content to large-scale audiences. And, with live events, there is no second chance. Make-goods need not apply.
The move to IP technology for both production and delivery of live video results in a collision of the two worlds; video and network engineering. Video engineers are comfortable with the use of SDI, coaxial cable, patch panels, black burst and tri-level sync for timing and above all, monitoring signal quality. The challenge for the video engineer is to understand IT technologies and impact of an IT infrastructure on the video.
To help engineers and operators better understand the dilemma and find solutions, here are two informational articles on IP-solutions. Combined, they will help readers better understand the challenges of getting IP video to the viewer in a reliable manner. High-quality service begins with a good understanding of digital networks and then the use of appropriate test and monitoring equipment.
The Mayweather-McGreagor PPV event was marred with technical issues, many of which might have been prevented with proper network testing.
At least one thing became very apparent during the Mayweather-McGregor pay-per-view experience—that delivering live streaming premium events to large-scale audiences is inherently difficult and notoriously unpredictable.
The problems that developed with PPV delivery systems for this event demonstrated that it’s more than just providing a good video experience. It is about viewers missing out on a major bonding event that millions of people had been eagerly awaiting.
In an ideal world, video arriving on time and intact would be a given. After all, OTA broadcasters have reliably been doing so for almost 100 years. Yet, in this new world of IP, there are many places where things can go wrong. The challenge then becomes knowing what viewers were affected and proactively working with those customers to mitigate any issues. To effectively do this, engineers need new tools.
Learn about delivering on the IP promise in this article, Preventing the Next Big Live-Streaming Failure.
A key advantage of IP networks is that engineers can troubleshoot much of the systems and equipment remotely.
Broadcasters and content producers are in the process of making the transition to IP-based transport for video, audio and data. This has led to development of a suite of standards including SMPTE ST 2022-6 for encapsulation of uncompressed SDI within IP packets and SMPTE ST 2110 for live IP production carrying separate video, audio and data packets. The question becomes, now does an engineer examine and identify potential errors with content on this new technology platform in a proactive manner? This article, Ensuring Performance in Hybrid IP/SDI Video Networks will help answer some of those questions.
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