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Transition to all-compressed digital video

General Dynamics Mediaware has been working with compressed video since 1997 and early on, we recognised that with the advent of digital broadcasting and compressed signals there would create an opportunity to equip broadcasters with processing tools that maximise the benefits of compression, simplify operations and enhance the viewer experience.

As customer demand for content has increased, broadcasters are having to deal with expanded channel line-ups, manage the delivery to multiple platforms, multiple devices and address increasingly segmented audiences in the face of increasing competition.

This complex set of needs is challenging broadcasters to turnaround content quickly and monetise geo-specific advertising opportunities using existing practices and methodologies.

To minimise bandwidth usage and operational complexity, broadcasters want to encode content once and localise at, or near, the point of transmission. Inserting ads and localising content into a service after it has been compressed for playout is a costly and time-consuming process. In addition to requiring a significant investment in hardware, the decoding and re-coding process also leads to generational loss in picture and sound quality.

With the entry of more channel operators and increasing competition from telecommunication providers, online content providers, cable and satellite TV, General Dynamics Mediaware believes the time has come for broadcasters to fully embrace an all-IP approach to broadcasting.

We understand the apprehension some of our customers hold about transitioning away from their familiar, legacy baseband systems to modern, all-compressed digital platforms and we are here to help. We work closely with our broadcast customers and help them the compelling benefits that operating in the compressed domain now offers — significantly reduced infrastructure costs and hardware dependencies, less manual intervention in the play-out workflow and an increased ability to squeeze more content through existing bandwidths.

Today’s all-compressed digital video solutions and splicing technologies enable operators to edit the television feeds received without introducing image artefacts or reducing the quality of the video. Enhancing the viewing experience by creating splice points that are indistinguishable from original content is now a reality. Modern splicing technologies no longer rely on GOP boundaries or i-frames and software solutions such as General Dynamics Mediaware’s InStream deploys different techniques to handle frame accuracy in a live environment, allowing broadcast operators to configure input streams and ad files on the fly.

We recognise that broadcasters are looking for revenue multipliers and products such as our InStream interfaces easily with traffic and automation systems removing the need for our customers to re-engineer existing broadcast workflows when switching to an all-compressed environment.

For cable companies and MSOs working with playlists or a variety of in-band triggers including SCTE-35, converting to an all MPEG workflow makes the switch a win-win for all concerned. All-IP, all-compressed digital video solutions maintain the video quality throughout the processing chain and enable broadcasters to increase operational efficiencies, significantly lower operating costs and most importantly, enhance the television viewing experience for their unique and diverse audiences.

All-compressed digital solutions continue to add more operational benefits and greater flexibility at a lower cost to similar baseband environments while still maintaining exemplary standards of service delivery. The faster broadcasters can make the transition to the compressed domain, the better placed they will be to monetise channels and respond to competitive pressures in their markets.