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BBC testing Object-Based iPlayer

Computationally intensive tasks have been "offloaded" to a powerful graphics card on a Cloud server

The BBC’s R&D team has revealed it has been experimenting with low-latency streaming technology to see how it can deliver¬†Object-Based Media (OBM)¬†experiences at scale.

It has been testing the experience on iPlayer, as revealed in a blog post.

According to the post, the R&D team have “offloaded” computationally intensive tasks such as the composition and rendering of OBM scenes to a powerful graphics card on a Cloud server and streamed the results as video to user devices.

The post states that by making use of high-speed internet connection and video streaming technologies, it is possible to stream any experience to very low-end devices. It says users can also interact with well-designed experiences with acceptable latency. The BBC is calling this technology Remote Experience Streaming (RXS for short).

The team writes these capabilities are centred around the idea of universal access: the streaming of a remote experience can happen on any device, no matter what its computational ability is. Their target platforms are all major browsers and native platforms, and expect their demonstrator to look and behave in the same way on all of these platforms. Therefore, they adopted a “Write once, run anywhere” approach, meaning the same code is used to create executables for each of the target platforms.

The team state they believe that in the future, content platforms will have the ability to provide experiences of any format (video, interactive, RXS, and so on).

They have built a “demonstrator” iPlayer, that allows viewers to navigate through branching narrative episodes with a mouse and keyboard, or a gamepad or remote control when watching on a TV. In the prototype, viewers can also launch and play an RXS game in real time, and navigate through the remotely rendered scene on their local device.

The full blog post can be read here.