Intigral recently expanded its headend to improve the delivery of its IPTV and OTT multiscreen services. BroadcastPro ME takes a closer look at the project Digital content developer Intigral recently expanded its headend capabilities to cater to the growing demand of IPTV and OTT services for regional telecommunications operators such as Saudi Telecom Corporation in […]
Intigral recently expanded its headend to improve the delivery of its IPTV and OTT multiscreen services. BroadcastPro ME takes a closer look at the project
Digital content developer Intigral recently expanded its headend capabilities to cater to the growing demand of IPTV and OTT services for regional telecommunications operators such as Saudi Telecom Corporation in Saudi Arabia as well as Viva Kuwait and Soudantel.
One of Intigrals primary requirements for the new headend was to be able to handle SD and HD streaming of 250 IPTV and 100 OTT live TV channels.
Our telecommunications customers are committed to delivering a better subscriber experience. To meet the demand for IPTV and OTT multiscreen services, we needed a flexible, integrated headend solution that could scale up to support additional channels and value-added services, says Tony Saab, General Manager, IPTV Technology, Intigral.
Thus, the ability to support a wide range of video formats, deliver high-quality video, and efficiently scale content were the most important criteria. Other key specifications were reliability, density, and advanced encoding technology. A headend featuring these capabilities would enable Intigral to deliver high-quality multiscreen services while lowering its capital and operational expenses.
After conducting a thorough examination with several of the industrys video processing and server providers, Intigral decided to expand with a headend solution from Harmonic. Through a high-density, scalable architecture, Harmonics integrated solution allows Intigral to prepare and deliver live and VOD content to regional telecommunications operators for viewing on TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets.
The headend’s expansion was carried out at Intigral’s datacentre located in Dubai Studio City. The project was implemented by Harmonic and Abu Dhabi based SI, Tek Signals.
Initially, the capacity of the headend was at 180 IPTV HD/SD channels, which has increased to 240 IPTV and 100 OTT channels, explains Saab.
The expansion entailed a new ingest system from Pebble Beach Systems, storage expansion from Isilon, motorised dish for downlink and decoding system upgrade from Appear TV, while introducing the new multi-viewer from Grass Valley and a new switching system from Cisco,” he adds.
Intigrals headend utilises a combination of Harmonics video processing and server solutions to manage the complexity of IPTV and OTT applications and deliver SD and HD MPEG-2/MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video in a variety of adaptive bitrate formats.
At the heart of the workflow, Harmonics Electra 9200 universal multichannel encoder provides low-bandwidth MPEG-4 AVC encoding of SD and HD video content for Intigrals IPTV services. Leveraging a high-density design that supports up to eight output services per chassis, Electra lowers Intigrals capital and operational expenses. Through a rich feature set that includes integrated audio encoding tools, GbE networking, and enhanced serviceability via removable power supplies, fan assembly, compression modules, and processing cards. Harmonic claims the Electra 9200 can improve video quality, reliability, and operational efficiencies for the digital media company. The encoder features a scalable architecture that will grow as Intigrals market requirements change.
Intigral is using Harmonics ProMedia Live real-time transcoders to convert baseband SD and HD MPEG-2/MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) content into multiple streams optimised for OTT multiscreen delivery. The transcoders provide HD video quality at the lowest possible bitrate leveraging in-house Hierarchical LookAhead and VBR technologies, which are specifically engineered for adaptive streaming delivery. In addition, ProMedia Live simplifies processing by efficiently handling metadata information, such as language, captions, ad signaling, and insertion upon input and output.
VOD content for Intigrals OTT multiscreen services is powered by Harmonics ProMedia Carbon file-based transcoders. ProMedia Carbon performs transcoding of SD and HD video content from a file-based architecture that can easily be scaled in the future. This solution also supports a massive array of acquisition, editing, broadcast, web, and mobile formats to enable the distribution of HD content on any screen. The application is continually updated to accommodate new formats and ensure Intigrals ability to meet evolving content production and distribution requirements.
Through an easy-to-use interface, ProMedia Carbon allows operators to have complete control over every aspect of the transcoding process, simplifying the ability to convert files into any number of target formats, each with a unique set of operations and filters applied. For example, operators can burn in a logo and timecode on a review format while applying special cropping to a mobile format.
ProMedia Carbon is controlled via Harmonics WFS file-based workflow engine, which provides automated processing of high-volume transcoding tasks to further maximise operational efficiencies. When run in a fully automated mode, ProMedia Carbon provides support for batch processing, local watch folders, and automatic FTP transfers. Intelligent transcoding performance increases productivity by easily identifying source formats and automatically transcoding them to the desired destination formats.
Harmonics ProMedia Origin multiscreen stream packager and video server optimises the delivery of Intigrals OTT multiscreen services relying on a range of content formats for smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs, as well as industry-standard protocols, including Apple HLS, Adobe HDS, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. ProMedia Origin works with the ProMedia Live application to enable sophisticated transcoding, encapsulation, and encryption processes from a unified platform. Using the stream packager and video server application, Intigral is able to minimise rack space, simplify its operational workflow, and maximise cost savings for operators.
Scalability is a key feature of ProMedia Origin. The software-based solution scales independently, enabling Intigral to add more servers as its network grows. By integrating with upstream transcoders and downstream CDNs, the carrier-grade server is meant for streaming high-value content to multiple screens, today and in the future.
Harmonics video processing and server solutions are part of a larger workflow that includes third-party equipment from suppliers such as Grass Valley, Appear TV, Isilon, Pixelmatrix, Pebble Beach, among others.
Seamless integration with these systems allows Intigral to launch additional multiscreen services.
Intigral serves more than 200,000 IPTV and OTT subscribers throughout the Middle East. Through a unified headend, Harmonics video processing and server solutions allow Intigral to stream more channels and deliver OTT live channels to any screen.
Since this project first started, Intigral has already increased its capacity for encoding, packaging, and creating services in multiple profiles and now streams more than 350 IPTV and OTT live channels to a broad range of screens, with the capability to push content to multiple platforms and CDNs. Advanced compression technology promises improved video quality.
Intigrals headend is completely scalable, enabling the digital media company to accommodate new requirements to launch additional IPTV and OTT services simply and cost-effectively. The infrastructure can handle up to two times the existing capacity, providing Intigral with a future-proof solution.
Given this extra capacity, Intigral is considering launching a range of enhanced services like mobile advertising, e-health, and e-learning, while also improving Saudi Telecom Corporations mobile value-added services.
In essence, Intigral wants to add value at every stage of the digital value chain by acting as a bridge between content and service providers and telecom operators through product integration, inception, and go-to market solutions across multiple channels and platforms. The new headend solution enables Intigral to achieve this goal through its broad format support, flexibility, scalability, and density.
Through broad format support and a high-density scalable architecture, our newly installed multiscreen solutions allow us to provide high-quality live and VOD content on any screen, Saab adds.