Powering a richer media experience on set-top boxes


Achim Bosse TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Achim Bosse
Issue 80 - August 2013
Todays television viewers are increasingly using the Internet to download, share, and consume media on a variety of devices. Traditionally, DTV and IPTV service providers have relied on DVB MPEG-based technologies to deliver linear television services and IP technologies like multicasting or RTSP for VOD. However, to meet the consumer demand for a richer media experience on set-top boxes (STBs), including OTT streaming and in-home media sharing, service providers must now support a wide range of different audio and video codecs and formats.

Under a conventional STB architecture, this can be extremely challenging as todays STBs do not feature a standard interface for OTT streaming. Deploying next-generation STBs that rely on a unified media framework which supports all of the popular audio and video codecs, subtitles, and file formats and modern browser technology, service providers can successfully deliver high-quality streaming media services to set-top boxes.

Under a unified media framework, the majority of audio and video codecs are supported by the STB hardware and delivered to the STB via container/file formats. The media framework recognizes the formats, extracts audio and video tracks from the container, and feeds the elementary streams to the hardware decoder to ensure reliable audio/video synchronization.

A unified media framework can serve as the core player engine for several services, such as HTTP streaming, HbbTV, and HLS streaming (See Table 2), enabling service providers to complement their traditional DTV services with engaging OTT content. Utilizing technologies like HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), service providers can stream content over unmanaged IP networks and adapt the bit rate to the end users bandwidth. Being able to deliver content at different bit rates enables service providers to deliver the best possible quality based on the available bandwidth; however, it also means they must successfully create and manage a massive array of content in different profiles. In addition, adapting bit rates in real time requires an intelligent mechanism to avoid irritating toggling effects. Through a unique delta burst algorithm, service providers can successfully measure Internet bandwidth and adapt the bit rate, if required, or determine if a fixed profile is appropriate in cases where bit rate adaptation is not necessary.
A unified media framework can also help to power media center functionality for in-home media sharing. The set-top box generally acts as a combined digital media renderer, control point, and server. In advanced use cases, an external control point such as a smartphone can be used by the end user to control the media player on the STB remotely. DLNA control point software is widely available today for most smartphones and other mobile devices; however, not all households have in-home networks that allow media sharing from the PC to STB. Therefore, the media center must be able to handle data from DLNA/UPnP servers in the network as well as locally attached mass storage devices.

The media player relies on the unified media framework to decode audio and video. Images can be displayed in PNG, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and BMP files, while audio and video is supported in any of the container and codec combinations listed in Table 1. To ensure an audio experience beyond CD quality, the unified media framework supports audio formats like FLAC and ALAC, which are used by leading online music stores. The media player can decode FLAC encoded audio files at up to 24-bit resolution with up to 192 kHz sampling frequency for high-quality stereo output, transforming the user experience.

As technology evolves, consumer expectations about quality of experience will only increase, as will the technical complexities involved with delivering a rich and engaging digital television experience. Relying on a unified media framework, todays DTV and IPTV service providers can successfully deliver a superior multimedia experience on subscriber set-top boxes. Providing a differentiated service offering is key to maintaining a service providers competitive advantage, increasing subscriber satisfaction, and generating additional revenue streams.

www.albistechnologies.com


Tags: iss080 | set top boxes | television | internet | second screen | service provider | integration | Achim Bosse
Contributing Author Achim Bosse

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Wyplay on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wyplay on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • Air Alloy Tripod System from Miller Fluid Heads at IBC 2014

    Air Alloy Tripod System from Miller Fluid Heads at IBC 2014

  • Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

    Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

  • Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

    Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

  • SMPTE on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SMPTE on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Haivision at NAB 2012

    Haivision at NAB 2012

  • Pixel Power on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Pixel Power on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Broadpeak at NAB 2012

    Broadpeak at NAB 2012

  • Prime Focus at IBC2011

    Prime Focus at IBC2011

  • Facebook and YouTube live integration with Monarch HD from Matrox at NAB 2017

    Facebook and YouTube live integration with Monarch HD from Matrox at NAB 2017

  • BroadStream ARMADA at IBC 2014

    BroadStream ARMADA at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream OASYS at IBC 2014

    BroadStream OASYS at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream CURRENT at IBC 2014

    BroadStream CURRENT at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream HARBOR at IBC 2014

    BroadStream HARBOR at IBC 2014

  • Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

    Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

  • TSL Systems at IBC 2013

    TSL Systems at IBC 2013

  • Jigsaw at BVE North 2011

    Jigsaw at BVE North 2011


Related Shows
  • Training for the future with ITTP: BVE Day 2

    Training for the future with ITTP: BVE Day 2


Articles
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
Fast-moving productions need multi-cam RF reliability
Darren Bilton Wireless acquisition creates a level of freedom not possible with any other form of filming yet only a decade ago the technique was barely possible. The technology enabling live real-time connections over radio frequencies has advanced leaps and bounds such that there is barely an entertainment, documentary, sports or news format today that doesn’t benefit from at least one link system. That means the demands on the kit continues to rise and includes the need for fail safe multi-camera operation, ease of use and backwards compatibility all within a small, lightweight and budget-friendly package.
Tags: iss133 | boxx tv | wireless | mpeg-4 | multicam | rf | multi-cam | Darren Bilton
Contributing Author Darren Bilton Click to read or download PDF
DJI Ronin-S Review
Tim Bearder

If you read my review of the GH5 in Issue 129 at the beginning of the year, you know I’m a filmmaker that is all about small form factor. My basic setup combines the tiny yet powerful mirrorless Panasonic GH5 with the wonderfully compact Sennheiser AVX wireless mic system. Together you’ve got a run and gun set up to die for.

Unless you actually run!

Tags: iss 133 | dji | ronin-s | gh5 | Tim Bearder
Contributing Author Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF