ARRIS @ NAB 2017

Picture1We’re attending the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) this week to share our vision of tomorrow’s entertainment technology with thousands of global professionals.

NAB is one of the largest media and entertainment conferences in the world – making it the perfect location to demonstrate some of our latest video and content delivery technology – including our new HEVC encoder solutions and Ultra HD compression solutions.

And, while you’re there, make sure you also check out our:

  • Managed Wi-Fi® solutions for the connected home
  • Virtualized IP network solutions
  • Unified, multiscreen SECUREMEDIA® content security system
  • Personalized content security and advertising software

In addition, Susan George, VP of Sales at ARRIS, will discuss how she leverages technology for success on a panel, “Media Minefield: Women Navigating Technology in Daily Operations” on Monday, April 24th at 8am PT at the Westgate Hotel.

You can find us on the show floor in booth SU1916 at the LVCC, and follow us on Twitter (@ARRIS) for the latest ARRIS news.

Addressing Broadband & Video for Africa at TV Connect Africa

We’re in Cape Town this week at TV Connect Africa (Hall 4 Stand #TV19) where we are demonstrating our vision of the future for broadband and video.

We’re showing our broad range of set-tops, from cost-conscious devices for low ARPU markets to high-end UHD media servers, for cable, IP, terrestrial and satellite access.  This includes the recently launched DStv Explora 2 decoder with HEVC, the fourth generation of HD PVR devices that ARRIS and MultiChoice have launched together, making it easier for customers to access MultiChoice’s growing on-demand services.

Visitors can meet our experts to understand the migration path to ABR IP video delivery, including high-density HEVC encoding.  And how we’ve optimized Wi-Fi to deliver high quality wireless video to all corners of the home, as well as outside the home, to communities, schools, hospitals and stadiums.

Come and see us at Stand TV19 in Hall 4!

ARRIS stand TV Connect Africa 2

ARRIS stand TV Connect Africa 1

What is the best technology to solve video compression problems?

People of ARRIS

Rich Peske, VP, Product Management, ARRIS

There has been a continued trend to push more network functions, including video compression, into datacenters and virtual cloud environments. While there are clear advantages for the virtualization of many network functions, there are also certain cases where there may be a hindering cost or performance penalty.

Video compression systems are being used for a wide range of scenarios today. Some key use cases include:

  • Different content: File-based (VOD) and Live
  • Different clients: STB, connected TV, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones
  • Different codecs: MPEG-2, AVC, HEVC, VP-9
  • Different resolutions and formats: SD, HD, 4K, HDR
  • Different sources: Encoding (baseband input) vs. Transcoding (compressed IP input)
  • Different encoding devices: Broadcast encoders, consumer cameras, professional cameras
  • Different environments: Datacenters, space or power constrained facilities

Video compression, with newer codecs such as HEVC and higher resolutions such as 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels), is very compute-intensive, particularly for live content.

To achieve reasonable power, space, cabling, and reliability requirements, hardware acceleration is often used. This can be in the form of dedicated ASICs, FPGAs, GPUs, or embedded encoding hardware inside Intel CPUs or integrated smartphone chipsets. Therefore, video compression systems often utilize one or several of these technologies to achieve the necessary performance. ARRIS is utilizing the latest ASIC compression chips in our new encoder/transcoder systems, the ME-7000 Converged Compression Platform. This platform is targeted for live encoding and transcoding applications for professional broadcast and distribution of full resolution TV programming.

The ME-7000 serves a wide range of consumer display devices, from smartphones to big-screen UHD me-7000_herodisplays. Currently, the platform  is being used worldwide by operators such as Televisa Izzi in Mexico and Eastlink in Canada.

By combining advanced hardware compression with general purpose CPU computing, the ME-7000 offers advantages in power, space, reduced cabling, and improved long-term reliability while enabling flexibility and an easy-to-use software-only compression system. For example, in the HEVC HD live encoding/transcoding use case, the ME-7000 has 10x-15x better power and space usage than CPU-based compression systems.

For applications, a file-based compression or for live content with lower resolution video or simpler codecs, pure software-based implementations can offer acceptable performance in a virtual environment.

ARRIS works with a number of partners offering software or hybrid software-hardware solutions to match the best technology with these types of use cases to best meet the needs of our customers.

Asking whether software or hardware is better for video compression is the wrong question. Rather, one should ask, “What is the best technology to solve my video compression problem.” Depending on the use case, the choice of technology can differ.

What is important, is that the technology and the use cases are aligned for the best price and performance, both for initial CAPEX and on-going OPEX. ARRIS’s approach is to dedicate time to understanding our customers’ specific circumstances, business goals, and optimize solutions that map to their situation.

ARRIS @ 2016 NAB Show

This week, we’re in Las Vegas for the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show Header-960x200to showcase ARRIS’s vision for the future of video delivery. NAB brings together more than 100K industry professionals to talk about what tomorrow’s entertainment experience will look like and how it will be delivered. Our booth (#SU1916) is focused on demonstrating the crucial evolution in network and CPE technology that’s enabling those experiences in the new connected home.

Many of the world’s leading service providers use our advanced video compression and multiscreen technology to deliver next-generation entertainment to their subscribers. We’ll have several of our most advanced solutions on display, including the DSR-7403 HEVC Transcoder IRD, ME-7000 compressed converged platform, and industry-leading SECUREMEDIA® content protection solutions.

If you’re attending NAB, make sure to catch the following sessions with Dr. Sean McCarthy, Fellow at ARRIS:

Sunday, April 17
11:00 am – 11:30 am PT: Smart Bandwidth Sharing for Multi-Program Content Distribution; Room S219

Monday, April 18

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm PT: Understanding the Viewer Experience when Designing Ultra HD Services; Room S219

HEVC Makes nDVR and JIT Transcoding and Packaging More Attractive

By Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow

By Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow

A decade ago when Advanced Video Coding (AVC/H.264/MPEG4 part 10) was first introduced as a new international compression standard, it was hailed as improving video quality and reducing bit rates by a factor of 2 compared to MPEG-2 video compression.  Today, the buzz is about a newer new international compression standard, this time called High Efficiency Video Coding or HEVC for short.

It is tempting to repeat the old theme that HEVC is twice as efficient as AVC just as AVC was twice as efficient as MPEG-2.  But doing so would ignore history.

AVC did much more than double compression efficiency.  It enabled new distribution models such as IPTV. And it changed the way we watch television by enabling tablets, smartphones, and laptops to become mobile TVs.

HEVC, the newcomer, could now change the heart of cable television’s infrastructure.  In doing so, it could finally make the consumer’s dream of watching whatever one wants, wherever one wants, whenever one wants, into a bona fide everyday expectation.

The digital television industry has been moving towards the whatever-whenever-wherever model for awhile.  We started by putting personal digital video recorders (DVR) into set top boxes.  We also created an infrastructure and back office that lets consumers order programming on-demand over cable pipes.  More recently, we’ve been leveraging IP networks and transcoding to deliver programming to both traditional and new mobile television screens such as tablets and laptops.

Logically, the next step is to put the DVR functionality in the network (nDVR or cloud DVR).  Yet we have been largely shut out of that option because the amount of storage and file management needed have been too monumental.  That is where HEVC comes in, but not in the most simplistic way one might imagine.

Just as AVC needed IP-encapsulation as a partner to enable IPTV; HEVC needs Just-in-Time (JIT) transcoding and JIT packaging as partners to give viewers nearly unlimited viewing options.

A whatever-whenever-wherever nDVR can be created by brute force.  Save a copy of the MPEG-2 program indicated by the subscriber.  Then create bouquets of AVC/MPEG4 and HEVC profiles to support multiple screens and bandwidth options.  Next, individually package each set of profiles for delivery over HLS, Smooth Streaming, MPEG DASH, etc.  Finally, install a file management system to keep track of this explosion of content fragments.

Brute force is not always the simplest solution.

A better alternative is to store a single “reference” copy of the subscriber’s content.  Install a just-in-time (JIT) transcoder to convert the reference content to the bit rate and compression format needed to support the subscriber’s viewing request.  For traditional cable services, the reference copy can be transcoded to MPEG-2 and sent by QAM.  For multiscreen and adaptive bit rate services, the JIT transcoder can create the individual profile variants on-the-fly as needed and deliver them to a JIT packager to create the appropriate HLS/Smooth-Streaming/MPEG-DASH formats.

The JIT transcoder/JIT packager architecture can cut storage by at least 75% because each set of AVC profiles can easily grow to be as large as and larger than original MPEG-2 program the subscriber wanted to record, and one would need to plan on creating three adaptive streaming variations. With JIT transcoding, the AVC profiles do not need to be stored.  With JIT packaging, the adaptive bit rate variations do not need to be stored. Only the “reference” copy takes up space.

HEVC will always be introduced as the smartest and most efficient member of the MPEG compression family for the foreseeable future.  But deeds are more important than promises.  We think HEVC will be remembered not only for its innate compression efficiency, but also as the cornerstone of the next-generation cable television architecture that finally created what consumers have always really wanted: The convenience of having a high quality television experience wherever and whenever they choose.

Background Notes on viewing behavior and just-in-time packaging:

1)      ARRIS 2014 Consumer Entertainment Index (http://success.arrisi.com/arriscei)

2)      L. Milin & C. Ansley. (ARRIS) “Cloud-Based DVR and Multiscreen Support Strategies – Optimizing Storage and Transcoding.”  The Cable Show, Spring Technical Forum, 2014 (http://www.nctatechnicalpapers.com/Paper/2014/2014-cloud-based-dvr-and-multiscreen-support-strategies-optimizing-storage-and-transcoding)

3)      “REPACKAGING Overview” (ARRIS/SeaWell Network) (Spectrum_Repackaging_Overview-1.doc)

SCTE is Right around the Corner! – T-minus 5 Days…

download (7)SCTE is almost here! Here’s what you can expect to see in just 5 days…

Fifteen ARRIS leaders and experts covering the industry’s most pressing topics—from DOCSIS 3.1 and Wi-Fi to Fiber Toolkits and Ultra HD. Each one of these sessions will bring in heavy hitters to take attendees into the future of Cable.

In addition, our own Chairman and CEO, Bob Stanzione will be there delivering the keynote address at the annual WICT conference, “Tech it Out.”

And, of course, demos. Our latest solutions driving the Wi-Fi Connected Home, nDVR in the cloud, virtualized cloud environments, and the evolution to an all IP network will all be on display. As a bonus, we’re bringing the preview of our new line of wireless HEVC set-tops to the US—featuring updated, slim and modern designs.

Here are a few pictures of their debut at IBC this past week to give you a taste of what’s to come.

Next week, drop by booth #1764, and let us show you around!

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