The growing consumer demand for multiscreen video is changing the way in which content and service providers approach video delivery. As headends increase in scale and complexity, there has been a shift toward software-based cloud infrastructure to simplify video processing workflows. Leveraging general-purpose compute technology, content and service providers can more easily handle the intensified demands of multi-profile video compression and delivery with flexibility and service agility, while providing exceptional video quality.
The migration to cloud infrastructure will be gradual. A major issue holding back mass adoption is that many of the cloud solutions available today are merely repackaged versions of vendors’ existing software appliances within a virtual machine running in Microsoft Azure or the AWS Cloud. That’s unfortunate, because such solutions don’t provide the infrastructure flexibility that content and service providers truly need. Beyond virtualized appliances, the industry requires a cloud-native solution to solve its technical and commercial agility challenges.
Recently, Harmonic launched two new VOS offerings powered by the cloud. The first is VOS Cloud, a media processing platform that enables content and service providers to manage the video production and delivery workflow for broadcast and OTT applications via standard IT hardware, either on-premise or over public or private cloud infrastructure. The second offering, VOS 360, is one of the first professional-grade, native cloud-based media processing services in the industry. By providing operators with a software-as-a-service solution that is hosted in the public cloud and maintained and monitored by Harmonic, VOS 360 enables customers to launch revenue-generating, broadcast-quality OTT services in a matter of minutes instead of months.
Harmonic’s cloud-based approach to video production and delivery is unique, enabling operators to support capabilities such as time-shift TV, VOD and cloud DVR for instant revenue generation, without the traditional CAPEX involved with building, maintaining and operating a new headend or data center. Pay-as-you-go pricing for both offerings allows service providers to realize ROI in the shortest time possible. Both offerings’ encoding and transcoding functionality is powered by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, which provides support for a wide range of formats, codecs and encoding schemes, including UHD and HEVC, to enable broadcast-quality video at low bitrates.
Some operators are hesitant to migrate to the cloud because it requires a complete rethinking of workflow design and deployment, especially in terms of cloud compute, network and storage. This transition will necessitate significant retraining and augmentation of existing staff. But in today’s rapidly-changing media environment, content and service providers cannot afford to stand still with regards to infrastructure. Consumers will continue to demand more and new innovative services, and operators need a solution that accelerates time to market for new broadcast and OTT offerings.
Cloud media processing platforms and cloud-native services are the future of video production and delivery, providing operators with ultimate simplicity, efficiency and agility. By giving content and service providers the flexibility to choose between deploying media processing on public or private cloud infrastructure, Harmonic is fundamentally changing video production and delivery for live and VOD content.
Tom Lattie is Vice President of Market Management & Development, Video Products at Harmonic, Inc.