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Sorenson, Telestream, Harmonic Talk Advanced Adaptive Streaming

Helping publishers deal with the demands of adaptive streaming, representatives from Sorenson Media, Telestream, and Harmonic took part in a webinar hosted on this site.

The event kicked off with Randon Morford, director of product management for Sorenson. Morford promised to help attendees with encoding for Adobe Dynamic Streaming, Apple HTTP, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. The first challenges people need to deal with are determining what settings to use, how many streams are needed, and the data rate for each, Morford said.

"How many streams do you need and how can you determine this? First, know your audience. Ideally, you want to serve as many streams as you have an audience for. If five streams offers optimal quality for 99 percent of your viewers, it doesn't likely make sense to create a sixth stream for one percent that diverges from the other bandwidth audiences," noted Morford.

During his presentation, Morford explained how to conduct testing to determine user bandwidth speeds. He also talked about MPEG-DASH and the future of adaptive streaming.

Next up was Jim Duval, director of new product strategy for Telestream. Duval started out with a helpful introduction to adaptive streaming.

"Adaptive streaming formats are something that's put together specifically for internet video and being able to provide the best possible user experience despite the fact that we know that there will be variability in the connection speed that people have even during and throughout a presentation that they might be working with," explained Duval.

After his intro, Duval went into detail on how adaptive streaming works. He explained the workflow needed for transcoding, and, while he addressed his comments to high-volume producers, he noted that they apply to smaller publishers, as well.

The rise of adaptive streaming created an eight to ten times increase overnight, as producers suddenly needed to create many versions of each video. The three concerns that they then needed to deal with were system performance, image quality, and workflow efficiency. Duval outlined transcoding priorities for adaptive bitrate, and told how deinterlacing and H.264 compression impact image quality

Last up was Thierry Fautier, senior director of convergence solutions at Harmonic. Fautier was there to explain what his company does and how it could bring publishers to the next level. He also addressed the challenges of multibitrate encoding:

"Let's have a look at how the system works today," said Fautier. "When you talk to people who are in the encoding space, they'll tell you, 'I can do H.264 multibitrate encoding, but after that I need to do a specific encryption for each protocol: Apple HLS, Microsoft Smooth, and Adobe HDS.' Therefore, at the end of the day, you will end up with three different files, three different to be stored, and therefore three times the CDN transit."

As a solution to that, Fautier explained how DASH simplifies production. It even makes digital rights management easier, he noted, as publishers can encrypt once, then client players can get the correct DRM key. He followed that by showing Harmonic's complete workflow solution.

The presentations were followed by an audience question-and-answer session. Zencoder was originally supposed to take part in this webinar, by the way, but on the day it happened its staff was too busy popping champagne corks.

To experience the full webinar, watch it online. Advanced Techniques for Adaptive Streaming will be hosted online for the next 90 days. Free registration is required.

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