Cloud Ingest of Live Video

Published on 25 Jul 2022

Cloud Ingest, Live Video

Over the last decade, suppliers of public cloud infrastructure\shave positioned themselves as a generalist compute platform for a huge range of applications, with media being one of them. The benefits are many, with a more flexible cost model and a better degree of reusability and robustness. To reap the advantages of cloud networking, media functions are moving away from FPGA and ASIC designs for most general-purpose operations, allowing the cloud to become the execution environment even for high-end media applications. Due to the tight constraints of live production, the obvious starting place for broadcasters to fully utilize these advantages is inside file-based workflows, having left most live operations to specialist media equipment on-premise.

Simultaneously, media networks are in a shift towards IP\sand Ethernet. However, although delivering on these stringent requirements for live media is absolutely doable in Local Area\sNetwork (LAN) settings, satisfying those same requirements in a Wide Area Network (WAN) scenario, and even more so in shared WAN networks, is a lot more problematic.

To tackle many of these difficulties, SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite describes how to establish IP networks for media services. Starting in the studio and motivated by a promise of cheaper cost and higher flexibility, standardizing on IP as a carrier protocol for high-end media also implies enhanced compatibility with data centers and public cloud settings. Consequently, there is now a new challenge that requires a solution in terms of high-end media services via WANs.

However, while SMPTE is totally focused on addressing the in-studio challenge for live tier 1 production, alternative solutions have emerged for lower tier material as a direct result of cost pressure.

At 10 years in the making, what is often referred to as retransmission technology, or Adaptive Repeat reQuest (ARQ), has proved itself many times over and is by now an established part of the tier 2/3 production environment.

While the introduction of retransmission started as a way of delivering broadcast quality media connectivity over lossy infrastructures at a low price point, it now boosts functionality ranging from simple point-to-point connections to point-to-multipoint, load balancing across Internet Service\sProviders (ISPs), seamless switching, and more.

While in-studio adoption of IP technology has been reasonably slow due to the inherent difficulties in getting vendors and broadcasters to agree on a common framework, the tier 2 and 3\smarkets instead turned to proprietary solutions leading to multiple parallel protocols and ecosystems as a consequence.

And even when alternatives with a “standards-oriented approach”, such as the Video Services Forums (VSFs), have developed in recent years, acceptance is sure to be delayed owing to the investments already made by broadcasters in existing proprietary ecosystems.

Cloud resources for live media

While the distinctions are considerable, from a technical perspective, two of the main ones are accuracy and dynamicity. Accuracy from the perspective of being able to ensure that a job is done at a precise and exact moment in time. This may not be a problem for many applications, but it might be hard for others, such as synchronization and monitoring.

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