In the primary distribution stage, broadcasters, content creators, and anyone distributing video content must efficiently and securely distribute content to their pay-TV customers.
Within the video enterprise platform, video files are large and bandwidth-intensive. Considering all of this, it is important to keep in mind that streaming live and on-demand video over corporate networks can negatively impact user experience and network performance.
A sophisticated combination of technologies is required to deliver video seamlessly across all video streaming platforms.
Here is an overview of the ideas behind the primary distribution, why it is useful, and if you can incorporate it into your enterprise platform.
1. Why Primary Distribution?
IP-based streaming services have become increasingly popular among audiences in recent years. Whenever and wherever viewers can choose from an unlimited amount of personally curated content on-demand.
Furthermore, modern broadcasters must recalibrate their broadcast experience for entertainment and content services with an increasingly remote workforce.
From slow, low-latency satellite internet, 5G sub-6GHz, and mm-Wave services to high speed, low latency satellite internet, our connected world has evolved dramatically.
In the face of this trend, broadcasters using traditional methods such as satellite, cable, or fiber are faced with a number of challenges and changes to conform to in order to satisfy their viewers.
Broadcasters who continue to leverage legacy methods of content delivery will undoubtedly see their prices rise with the reallocation of a portion of the C-Band spectrum to accommodate 5G development.
2. Distribution Endpoints
It is imperative that your infrastructure is modernized, adaptable, and dynamic in order to benefit business endpoints. To increase audience reach worldwide, more niche content is being made available, along with variants.
The ease of creating variants in the cloud that are compliant with program rights for delivery to markets, combined with unique advertising to support program channels, increases visibility for these channels. Those in the program distribution industry understand that in order to remain relevant, such as the primary distribution of video content, they must be able to provide content that consumers want and increase their capacity to do so. Being consumer-oriented is one of the most important factors in the program distribution industry.
As a result of the reclaimed C-band spectrum, cloud computing and IP are also being catalyzed.
With the accelerated rollout of 5G, consumers and businesses expect new capabilities. However, this depends on the availability of the C-band spectrum, which offers a good balance between reach and bandwidth.
Increasingly, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is allocating the C-band spectrum for mobile use, and government auctions around the world are showing the demand for it.
4. Migration 2.0
The satellite has been the most popular method of distributing video programs to date, but several other methods are available to make the transition away from C-band to a more reliable and future-proof method.
The use of IP networks, or combining IP distribution with satellite, is a credible alternative.
In situations where satellite remains used, broadcasters can reduce the bitrate required for the same video service quality by leveraging modern encoding standards such as HEVC.
The question of buying new equipment will depend on each individual program content distributor.
Next-generation architecture budgets have an average shelf life of 7 years. Since many distribution concepts now use software-defined and cloud-based platforms rather than hardware, this is no longer the case.
Therefore, the software-defined distribution platform will be able to flex with market needs and will be able to match programmer needs as well.
A number of traditional satellite equipment manufacturers are also embracing alternative modes of transport such as ethernet private lines, internet, CDNs, and the future of 5G to support programmers.
The next generation of content distribution can be taken advantage of using existing hardware.
6. Common Distribution Technologies
Media server software streams live video to secondary hosts or recipients on a network via multicast.
WAN traffic is minimized by multicast because video asset requests are not sent across the network. However, Multicast can only be used for live video and requires considerable management effort.
Most Wi-Fi networks and mobile devices are not multicast-capable and require Multicast-enabled network equipment and browser plugins.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Using a VDI solution – such as Citrix – large organizations can provide a standardized end-user experience for mobile and thin client hardware.
Since virtualized computing environments have inherent performance limitations, it is notoriously difficult to provide users with acceptable video at scale.
In addition to dramatically reducing WAN traffic, VDI optimization can enable thin client hardware to provide video services equivalent to desktop performance.
Despite this, VDI environments are complex, so the provider of VDI video solutions must have experience delivering them.
The most basic form of video streaming within a video platform is unicast distribution.
Almost all network devices support natively Unicast, which is a reliable, and simple technology that requires minimal configuration.
The problem with generating a steadfast connection for each user is that the network is burdened greatly when there is a high viewing volume.
Most broadcasters will need to establish edge servers in order to use Unicast effectively in high-volume environments.
Video can be shared directly between two devices on a network, such as 2 laptops, using peer-to-peer distribution.
With WebRTC, video can be shared directly between browsers without the need for apps or plugins; P2P is gaining momentum.
Due to peer-to-peer streaming, WAN traffic can be significantly reduced since there is no need for a source video server. In companies with many branch offices, where deploying edge servers at every location is impractical, P2P is especially useful.
There may still be software and storage requirements for each peer device, and mobile viewing may not be integrated natively into peer-to-peer configurations.
Cashing is only relevant to on-demand video and not to live video since caching refers to storing video content on multiple servers across a network.
An edge server automatically stores videos requested by users so that other users within the network area can access them.
By caching video content on edge servers, video delivery speed is increased, and bandwidth consumption is reduced because fewer video assets are pulled across the WAN.
A content delivery network (CDN) is defined as a service that delivers video over the internet. Even though an external CDN is not a distribution technology per se, it can be beneficial when used in conjunction with other distribution methods.
Video traffic can be offloaded from an internal network and delivered to remote users via VPN connections or via local internet connections in branch offices via external CDNs.
In addition to ensuring security requirements are in place, companies must also take care of internet gateway configuration and infrastructure as well as VPN access requirements for branch offices.
Although the vast majority of end-users will never know whether their video is being delivered via Multicast, Cashing, Unicast, or some other method, the video distribution technology being used has a significant impact on overall user experience and engagement.