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IBC Demos Reveal Advances Across IPTV Ecosystem

Editing and Graphics—Miranda X-3D
No broadcast event would be complete without a large portion of the show floor space being taken up by editing and graphics tools.

Miranda, for instance, is a company that has long worked in the graphics and multiple-image monitoring system, with a bent in the recent years toward packing significant amounts of pertinent master control information into a single flat panel—or a large projection wall. The company this year has stated that it’s seeing a concerted push by broadcasters into the HD space, and as such is showing off the X-3D advanced HD/SD 3D graphics processor, designed to handle smooth HD graphics integration in a demanding production environment, as well as the Imagestore 750 HD/SD master control and channel branding processor to drive bumper, bug, and crawl graphics. Miranda also has modularized its approach, suggesting that the Imagestore and its Vertigo XG processor can be used to automate promo preparation and playout. Still another product, dubbed Xchannel, combines HD/SD playout with advanced graphics and integrates with third-party media management and automation systems.

Delivery—ETI, Akamai, and Digital Fountain
Speaking of automation systems, which are at the heart of traditional broadcast playout but haven’t seen much traction in the IPTV space, ETI Software Solutions is showing off IPTV provisioning and management systems, along with an innovative product dubbed TV Ticket. The management tool is aimed squarely at IPTV, with the company saying "Triad NPS helps large telcos, service bureaus, and video transport providers cost-effectively manage and provision IPTV services." According to the company, up to 100 remote head-ends and more than 1 million subscribers can be supported on a single processor.

The TV Ticket product, also by ETI, allows existing addressable video systems to accept prepayment for video services yet to be delivered. Subscribers can "purchase and self-activate subscriptions, Pay-Per-View or Video-On-Demand video services by purchasing prepaid TV Tickets from any authorized distributor." Think of it as the at-home entertainment equivalent of buying a prepaid calling card. If it reaches critical mass, it could provide a way for service providers to sell special programming without the need to create their own subsystem for legacy IPTV systems.

Besides its recent announcement of its infrastructure buildout to delivery HD closer to the end user, and specifically targeted to early adopters, Akamai has also announced its intent to join with Adobe on the roll out of the Flash Media Server 3. FMS3, which is being demonstrated at IBC with a variety of partners, including Cisco, will enhance live streaming and double the efficiency per server, providing CDNs and other service providers a better Total Cost of Ownership. For Akamai, the combination of its robust build out, coupled with the server efficiencies of FMS3, might create a total cost of ownership that could breathe new life into the company’s ability to deliver a better value proposition to its customers.

Another delivery tool, ToughStream Server from Digital Fountain, also deserves mention, as it's part of a new breed of software solutions that provide enhanced Quality of Service (QoS) on non-QoS networks. Jointly developed with Milan-based Neptuny, which has a history of high-availability software solutions for IPTV head-end deployments, the product is based on Digital Fountain’s Forward Error Correction technology, which has been adopted by the DVB-IPTV (Digital Video Broadcasting—IPTV) standards body as an IPTV FEC solution. The high availability portion was demonstrated in Digital Fountain’s booth at IBC, showing failover switches of around 2 seconds.

IBC continues through September 11.

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