EFFICIENCY THROUGH OPTIMIZED PERFORMANCE
Cost-effective IP Television solution for the major Georgian ISP
- Saved up to 30% of deployment hardware costs
- Delivered quickly scalable solution
- Ability to conduct easy diagnostics of the system
- Enriched user experience with smart features
Our client provides broadband internet service through solely owned FTTH fiber optic network across Georgia, which serves as the major regional backbone. Company delivers services to business and residential customers.
Our client decided to enter IPTV / VoD market by low-cost, customized solution to deploy new service nationwide. The solution should have been technically superior to existing services on the market in order to be highly competitive.
Project’s main challenge was to deliver high quality IPTV service with VoD features and keep deployment cost to minimum, in order to easily reach economies of scale and offer competitive price.
The second challenge was to develop scalable solution, which would be sufficient for increased customer base and handle nationwide traffic loads.
Following requirements were given for solution implementation:
- 50 Full HD Channels
- 250 SD Channels
- Multicast (Live Streaming), Unicast (On Demand Streaming)
- Recorded content of 2 months per channel
- Rewind by program name, date/time
- Time Shift (+/‐ 30s; 1m; 5m)
- Trick Play (+/‐ x2; x4; x8; x16; x32)
- User profiles stored in CMS
- 4-5 seconds STB boot‐up time
- STB UI with 3 languages (GE, EN, RU)
- Low delay / Fast channel switching
- STB with H.264/AAC
Even Though the company’s attempt was to gain a larger market share by providing cheaper services, provided product should have been much better with quality compared to competitors.
With the aim of meeting business and smart development challenges, developed cost-effective solution meant that it could efficiently deploy on low-end hardware, in our case amounted - $100,000. Transcoder module can be setup on low-cost Intel Xeon E3 series based servers and streaming module can be setup to use mid range SATA hard drives.
The perks of our developed solution are represented in multiple modules that can be deployed as the whole system or integrated into existing system separately.
Transcoder software enables high-quality delivery for any platform or device, ensuring end users are served with adaptive content. The solution provides low delay / low latency streaming and can handle transcoding up to 11 FHD channels simultaneously.
The solution supports high performance using hardware acceleration based on Intel Quick Sync (using libVA API) dedicated video encoding/decoding core, resulting in superior speed and performance. Moving heavy computing loads of video transcoding to dedicated GPU core keeps CPU focused on other tasks and improves system responsiveness.
Customized streaming media server, responsible for streaming live and on demand videos. Streamer is compatible with wide variety of protocols and multimedia container formats. In order to ensure responsive and smooth content delivery, the solution is optimized to support adaptive bitrate streaming. This way, end users are served with video bitrate according to their bandwidth.
Streamer incorporates playback recorder, which makes it easy to record and archive live content for on demand streaming (time shift feature).
On demand streaming for multiple users is implemented by cashing video files in main memory as long as it's being streamed by at least one user, avoiding high latency process of reading video files from hard drives. Consequently reducing cost for storage hardware, as mid-range HDDs can be used instead of SSDs.
Content Management Systems is middleware, which is used by system administrators to manage customer user profiles, channel settings, channel packaging as well as integrate configuration and monitoring features.
CMS acts as remote database to store user profiles and corresponding parameters such as: channel volume preference, language preference, previous active channel and settings preferences. CMS sends these parameters to STB each time end user logs in. Saving STB settings in CMS provides feature to restore user specific settings in case settop box is replaced with new one.
End user can have multiple STBs located in different places and have the customized settings for each of them. In case customer has multiple STBs, she can load preferred / saved STB settings from CMS to specific boxes. This gives the feature to uninterruptedly continue on demand streaming from the exact moment when switching to different STB.
STB firmware updates are uploaded to CMS and automatic updates are delivered to STBs once newer version is available. CMS supports graceful update feature.
To handle end user requests for timeshifting, STBs connect to CMS, which itself forwards received requests to streamer. Only streamer is authorized to initiate connection to STBs and ignores incoming end user traffic in order to be isolated and prone to DOS attacks.
Set-top box is designed to require minimum hardware resources and ensure high QoE. STB system utilizes tiny Linux image (total size - 5MB including software) created using Buildroot and can be deployed on Single Board Computer (e.g. Raspberry Pi 2).
System is equipped with advanced UI with multiple language support and content search capabilities, which give end users full control over delivered content and guarantees intrinsic user experience.