The massive growth of multiscreen video and changing consumption habits are forcing video service providers to rethink their media processing infrastructures. Traditional fixed-function hardware and appliances no longer provide the flexibility and scalability required for a dynamic, complex and increasingly competitive video landscape. This article outlines seven must have technologies for next-generation video processing solutions.
1. Software-defined solution
The decoupling of software from hardware is a must have characteristic of next-generation video processing solutions, giving video service providers the agility they need to rapidly adapt to changing market dynamics. This strategic approach closely allies with the IT trend for both software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). No longer tied to proprietary fixed-function (ASIC-based) hardware, operators can take advantage of Moore’s law to realize dramatic CAPEX / OPEX savings as the performance/price ratio of COTS hardware improves over time.
2. Virtualized architecture
The ability to virtualize resources goes hand in hand with the decoupling of hardware and software. Next-generation video processing solutions have a virtualized architecture that enables VSPs to efficiently scale and flex their operations. With this strategic approach providers can cope with daily fluctuations in demand, and have the compute flexibility to rapidly roll out new services as user consumption habits and market dynamics change.
3. Modular Components
In today’s dynamic video landscape, it’s key that VSPs have a flexible video processing architecture that can grow and adapt to changing business needs. Next-generation solutions are modular in nature, enabling VSPs to drop the pieces they need into existing workflows, and build out their infrastructure over time. Solutions are available for VOD and live transcoding, IP Conversion, Bandwidth optimization, Encryption, QoE, Analytics, Caching, ABR and packaging and more
4. Pluggable transcoding pipeline
Next-generation video processing solutions open up transcoding pipelines to third-party plugins. By having direct access to video streams, plugins such as perceptual pre-filtering, can be used to reduce bandwidth without sacrificing viewing quality. This is in stark contrast to closed “black box’transcoding workflows, where no opportunity exists to leverage innovative third-party solutions to optimize content.
5. Open APIs
In complex media workflows it is essential that all components are interoperable and extensible. Next-generation solutions have open APIs to ensure ongoing compatibility with service provider and third-party systems such as CDNs, CRM, DRM, Apps Provisioning, Billing, Reporting etc.
6. Ultra-high-density COTS hardware
Ultra-high-density performance on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware is a must have characteristic of next-generation video processing solutions, enabling VSPs to offer innovative services while reducing CAPEX and OPEX by up to 80% compared to traditional solutions. Massive power in a small footprint means that video processing solutions can be deployed close to the subscriber edge to cost-effectively support a range of live-to-VoD services, such as cloud-based nPVR powered by just-in-time transcoding (JITT). Ultra-high-density solutions on COTS hardware yield impressive results over traditional appliances.
7. Flexible COTS hardware deployment options
Next-generation video processing solutions can be deployed on a range of COTS hardware, giving VSPs the flexibility to leverage existing hardware and expand their infrastructure on an as-needed basis. VSPs can choose to implement turnkey appliances, add powerful PCIe accelerator cards to standard servers, or even tap into standard server resources when available in either private or public cloud scenarios.
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