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5 Ways to Streamline Satellite & Cloud Distribution

With the roll out of 5G there are new requirements for operators to continue to distribute high-quality video.
January 13, 2021
3-Minute Read
Vice President, Video Appliance Product Management

The roll out of 5G has implications for satellite operators. As governments in many different countries are reclaiming frequencies, they are taking bandwidth out of the hands of operators in order to build out next-gen mobile networks to address the demand for 5G media services and faster broadband speeds.

There is now a pressing requirement for operators to continue to distribute high-quality video. To succeed, they’ll need to use much less spectrum. More efficient video encoding and modulation is the solution.

Advances in software-based media processing are helping operators pack more bits into frequency spectrum. When you deploy these technologies in the cloud, you can further optimize the delivery of channels to distribution partners. 


Diverging from Satellite to Cloud-Based Primary Distribution

Satellite bandwidth remains expensive, especially when a limited number of distribution points are at stake. Today, cloud technologies have given way to robust solutions for video processing and delivery.

Cloud-based primary distribution has emerged as an efficient means of delivering media content. The cloud uses the open internet and public CDNs to securely transmit live video content from content programmers to multiple delivery points or affiliates, without compromising on reliability.

The transition to cloud doesn’t have to be all at once. As you prepare for 5G media service delivery, you can adopt a hybrid solution: satellite and cloud-based primary distribution, which offers specific benefits to streamline your media service delivery.


1. Simplify content delivery to global affiliates

Satellite allows you to address a vast range of reception points but only within a given satellite footprint. Sometimes, the satellite footprint might only cover one specific country or region. Using the cloud for primary distribution you can send the same content to anywhere you want. There are no geographical limitations. With primary distribution in the cloud, you can quickly and cost-effectively establish links to new affiliates.


2. Transition to cost-effective delivery models

Since cloud-based distribution follows a pay-per-usage pricing model, there are no fixed infrastructure costs. With satellite, if you have one affiliate or 1000 affiliates, you still need to rent your satellite bandwidth at a fixed cost. With cloud distribution if you have one affiliate, you only pay for one transfer. If you have 1000, you pay for 1000. This pay-as-you-go approach can significantly lower distribution costs for content distributors.

Also, in legacy infrastructures there were heavy investments in content aggregation platforms. With a cloud solution for primary distribution, you can insert metadata for rights management, blackouts and local ad insertion directly from the cloud, without requiring dedicated on-premises equipment.




3. Implement personalized content and targeted advertising

Live content can be passed through or customized in the cloud before delivery to affiliates. That’s a game changer for content distribution.

Personalizing the video experience is an effective way to keep viewers engaged. It’s also a way to increase revenue. Research from Innovid found that consumer receptivity to personalized ads is at an all-time high. The study discovered that 43% of consumers agree it’s important for ads to be personalized. Consumers pay the most attention to personalized ads on social media, closely followed by video and television.

The options for personalization are infinite:

  • You can personalize and distribute sub-channels to individual affiliates based on their specific audiences.
  • You can deliver targeted ads to individual viewers, not just households.
  • You can make relevant content suggestions.



 4. Reduce bandwidth by up to 50% with AI-based compression

Bits are scarcer after the 5G spectrum repack. Regardless of the distribution method you use whether satellite or cloud or a hybrid model, you’ll need a highly efficient codec to optimize bandwidth efficiency.

Both satellite and cloud distribution offer support for next-gen codecs like HEVC to improve bandwidth use and reduce content delivery costs. Stacking an AI-based compression technology on top of whatever standard AVC codec you’re using, you can reduce bandwidth consumption by up to another 50%.


5. Future-proof your video delivery platform

A software-based media processing solution for primary distribution can future-proof your video delivery operations. All it takes is a simple software upgrade to support the latest formats, technologies and codecs.


Primary Distribution Moves Ahead

Having a hybrid distribution approach that weaves together satellite and the cloud allows you to benefit from the best of both worlds. You can take advantage of the reliability and superior video quality enabled by satellite, while benefiting from the elasticity of the cloud. You can achieve a truly global reach for primary distribution, setting up links to affiliates more quickly and economically than ever before.

Harmonic can take your primary distribution to the next level with our XOS Advanced Media Processor for video streaming and broadcast delivery. Check out how the VOS®360 Media SaaS can help you customize content creation and leverage AI-based compression to improve the viewing experience and decrease overall CDN and storage costs.


Contact us today for more information on how to enhance your primary distribution workflows.

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