Andy Warman

By: Andy Warman on June 14th, 2019

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Channel Origination Is The Next Leap Forward in Playout Innovation

At one point in time Channel in a Box (CiaB) solutions represented the leading edge of innovation in playout workflows.  CiaB combines the functionality of a master control air chain with clip playout, graphic branding, switching, DVE, captioning, audio track management and more. In doing so, it allows broadcasters, service providers and content originators to do many, if not all, of the same things that once required discrete hardware for each function in the air chain, all running on a single PC.

Channel origination is more than an upgrade

CiaB is now mainstream, and its capabilities highly prized.  The software once associated with PCs and PCI I/O cards that were the foundation of CiaB systems has now been ported to run as a software application in on-premises and public cloud deployments.  The result is that similar functionality is available for a range of deployment options.

The next leap forward in functionality integration is upon us.  It is called channel origination.  It is not just a simple update or incremental improvement on CiaB — it takes integration to the next level.

The next wave of cost savings and improvements in Service Level Agreements (SLA) are going to come from solutions that tie and integrate the complete delivery solution together.

So, what is channel origination exactly?

Channel origination combines the benefits of file-based playout and CiaB functionality in the cloud with the rest of the cloud-native, end-to-end content delivery content chain. This works well for a variety of delivery networks, whether it is for satellite, terrestrial, cable, IPTV or OTT.

The result is a microservices-based architecture that offers live sources, playout, graphic branding, switching, encoding, statmux, encryption, packaging and origin services. Channel origination lets us reimagine how to derive channels.  We have a much wider range of capabilities in a cloud video delivery ecosystem that could be provided by simply opting for a “channel-in-a-cloud” solution built of CiaB technology. With that microservices architecture, you can deliver consumer-ready content for live linear broadcast and OTT, VOD, catch-up and start-over usage. You can deliver content to any platform efficiently and cost-effectively in SD to UHD. The result is a much wider range of possibilities.

Benefits of SaaS channel origination

When you run channel origination on the public cloud, the benefits are greater than using conventional CiaB thinking. The cloud-based approach to channel origination brings a new wave of enhancements, enabling new workflow possibilities and viewing experiences:

  • Target any/all delivery platforms: Deliver IPTV, OTT, VOD and more by simply configuring channels for the desired outputs and target devices from SD to UHD
  • Truly integrated environment: Run as much or as little of your channel workflow in the cloud, and control every facet with integrated management tools
  • Centralized monitoring and management: SaaS solutions are overseen by the provider, so you don’t have to be intimately involved in service and support related issues
  • Latest software: always run the latest versions without cumbersome upgrade rituals

There are a number of ways to achieve practical, cost-effective cloud-based channel delivery. Harmonic’s VOS®360 SaaS is one of the most flexible solutions, utilizing APIs to customize system behavior, leverage new and existing systems like automation, asset management and content rights management. Channel origination functionality is accessible on VOS360 SaaS via API along with other supported capabilities to keep workflows open and flexible, so you can integrate with existing workflows if necessary.

The ability to customize your experience or use expertise from third parties is a key advantage of VOS360 SaaS, enabling you to fine-tune everything to your liking. It opens up new possibilities for hybrid on-premises and cloud solutions. And it lets you integrate with core business systems and provide a more seamless experience for consumers.

A faster way to launch channels

By making channel origination an integral part of the end-to-end delivery system, it is easy to launch live and file-based channels, run entirely automated 24 x7 channels or any number of workflows where file-based video playout, graphic branding and related features are needed.

About Andy Warman

Andy Warman is the Director of playout solutions at Harmonic. He provides business development and strategic direction for Harmonic’s line of playout enabled solutions for cloud and appliances including Spectrum media server, the Polaris automation suite, MediaGrid shared storage solutions and VOS cloud-native media processing. Warman also serves on the board of directors ofthe Alliance for the IP Media Solutions (AIMS) and chairs the trade association’s Marketing Working Group. Warman joined Harmonic after 11 years at Harris Broadcast in product management, where he drove Harris’ channel-in-a-box strategy, server platform and storage consolidation initiatives. With deep domain experience in the production and playout arena, he also has experience in automation, news production, content creation and infrastructure common to broadcast workflows. Andy holds a degree in Electronics and Management Science from the University of Kent at Canterbury.