Live OTT no longer a pipe dream

In today’s multi-platform OTT-centric world the question of how to support live content contribution and primary distribution has become a massive issue. The solution according to companies such as Akamai Technologies and Amazon CloudFront is a commercial Content Distribution Network (CDN). However, the new multi-platform distribution business model has created significant growth in operating costs.

OTT content is what consumers want
OTT content is what consumers want

Content owners such as media companies and e-commerce vendors pay CDN operators to deliver their content to their end-users. In turn, a CDN pays ISPs, carriers, and network operators for hosting its servers in their data centres. For broadcasters, the whole issue of CDNs has become a major cost generator and can have a significant impact on their operating costs and therefore their profitability.

The ideal solution for many broadcasters would be the ability to operate live content contribution and primary distribution over the public internet. For many years this has been nothing more than a pipe dream, but now R&S RelayCaster offers a new and radically different approach to commercial CDNs.

At IBC2018, Rohde & Schwarz will introduce the latest version of R&S RelayCaster, which features integrated SDI / HDMI input and encoding. It enables the replacement of expensive, dedicated links or contracts with CDN service providers with reliable (encrypted as you wish) distribution of content across any distance, to any place that is reachable by Internet infrastructure.

Dutch company MediaChoice is one of the first to use it as the operating platform for a service for local broadcasters. The service allows regional broadcasters to bring their live signal to a central data centre, which acts as 'media-hub' allowing TV content to be made available to telecom providers, ISPs and other operators to add new channels to their IPTV and Internet/OTT packages.

All contribution and distribution is carried out over inexpensive consumer-level public Internet links, such as DSL or DOCSIS. To enable reliable and secure transmission of the live stream, Rohde & Schwarz say R&S RelayCaster builds a fully redundant service with independent data centres. Regional broadcasters subscribing to the MediaChoice service can choose an all-inclusive package, handling the complete contribution pipeline for a monthly fee. Already, around 120 local broadcasters are being supported using R&S RelayCaster and MediaChoice now plans to extend the service.

Consumers’ ability to access the content they wish, where and whenever they want is creating a technological revolution. R&S RelayCaster is a good example of technology that is fuelling that revolution.

Posted by Adrian Pennington, technology journalist. August 30, 2018.