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How Open Internet, Cloud, & Edge Processing Can Revolutionize Primary Distribution

An example of primary distribution of video content to compete with traditional pay-TV services.
October 25, 2021
3-Minute Read
Senior Product Manager, Primary Distribution/Edge

Three Key Components for the Future of primary distribution

With the explosion of consumer options for video content, an emphasis on agility for primary distribution has emerged. Primary distribution is the delivery of a fully originated video content channel to video content streaming and distribution outlets. These delivery chains require operational flexibility to meet the demands of a high-quality, personalized video experience.

OTT aggregators or virtual MVPDs can benefit from open internet, cloud, and edge processing to create localized and niche channel offerings to compete with traditional pay-TV services.

1. Open Internet

Satellite delivery can be expensive for some operators. Transmission downlink equipment used for the reception can be costly and require a lot of space and power. Then you have distribution points that may be limited based on geography and satellite look angles, and satellite bandwidth can also carry a big price tag, with limitations on the horizon to make way for 5G adoption.  

Video delivery over fiber networks can also be costly for some operators and could pose certain limitations. Increases in bandwidth requirements to accommodate HDTV, SVOD, high-speed internet, and gaming could require increases in fiber nodes in service areas.  Like satellite delivery, fiber is not universally available – specifically for remote locations.

Today, high-quality video processing and delivery are possible through the open internet. Using the open internet to transport video can offer a cost-effective solution to deliver high-quality video services to more subscribers, with the agility you need to adapt to changing delivery requirements.  Open internet provides flexibility to reach almost any location and can enable operators to more easily handle bandwidth requirements.

2. Cloud & Software

Taking advantage of a cloud-based platform for primary distribution provides a flexible, scalable, and reliable foundation for your video processing and delivery without excessive investment in equipment. You can rely on cloud-based and software solutions to distribute content to a variety of points, from affiliates to consumer devices, with the capacity and reliability you need to scale your service sustainably.

3. Edge Processing for Video

Edge processing is evolving how we handle and process video content. Bringing processing functions closer to the delivery point, at the edge, reduces the gap between source and screen. You can significantly reduce latency issues, streamline operations and optimize your video workflows by moving video processing closer to the edge and the end-user device.

Examples of edge applications include graphics insertion for targeted advertising, HDR processing, format conversions, transcoding, and loudness control can also be moved to the edge to improve the viewer experience, reduce buffering times and optimize bandwidth.       

Primary Distribution with Open Internet, Cloud, and Edge Processing: Telstra's Story

Who is Telstra?

Telstra, an Australia-based telecommunications company, is an industry leader for television, voice, mobile, and internet distribution. Telstra is evolving its primary distribution toward open internet-based transport delivery.

The transition for Telstra is progressive and created a need to accommodate both traditional and cloud distribution models.

Handling Hybrid Broadcast & Streaming Video Distribution

As many operators continue to evolve to digital network operations, hybrid broadcast and streaming are becoming more common. It's becoming essential to consolidate equipment and collapse functions to eliminate duplicate infrastructures.

In turn, operators need solutions to optimize hybrid video delivery workflows with more streamlined distribution models, and that can handle a variety of content distribution needs, including video source input formats, output formats and for multiple distribution networks (e.g., cable, satellite, IPTV, DTT).

Telstra chose Harmonic’s XOS Advanced Media Processor to meet changing distribution requirements and to handle both its broadcast and streaming workflows. XOS is an all-in-one solution with high-density and high performance.  With a robust feature set, XOS enables Telstra’s primary distribution evolution to support a hybrid broadcast and streaming network, with a goal to ease future expansion with sustainability in mind. 

Hybrid Broadcast & Streaming Video Distribution at Scale

XOS enabled Telstra to empower a world-leading player in the SVOD space, to move to linear TV distribution. With the support of Harmonic, Telstra deployed XOS in India to collect linear channels and feed the streaming infrastructure of a large subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) provider. They have successfully deployed 55 channels and aim to grow to 170 channels.

This deployment in India has achieved desired results: 

  • XOS deployed in India allows the service provider to route linear channels to additional streaming service outlets.
  • Deploying XOS software on commercial-off-the-shelf COTS appliances added versatility for edge applications.

XOS gave Telstra a powerful toolset to combine different input formats, including both IP and satellite. The XOS handles both compressed or uncompressed video content and provides broadcast or internet transport streams.

Telstra also gained advanced features for transcoding and packaging content to ensure high-quality video distribution from end to end. As a result of the success of this project, Telstra plans similar expansion in other countries. 

Solutions for Primary Distribution

Harmonic’s XOS Advanced Media Processor can ingest content from any source, and when combined with Harmonic’s VOS®360 Media SaaS you gain unprecedented flexibility to customize content with a streamlined approach.

Telstra can align with shifts in the media industry, including growth in streaming services, media processing optimization with edge applications, and greater monetization with customized content. Telstra is addressing these new requirements and meeting demand with Harmonic's high-performance cloud and software-based solutions.

Contact Harmonic if you’d like to see dramatic reductions in deployment time and video delivery costs, or if you’re looking to gain efficiency with an all-in-one solution for primary distribution. 

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