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Streaming Video to Multiple Screens: How to Choose a Solution

You need your content to be viewable on every device. The problem is, there are a lot of devices out there, and the video they support is anything but standard. How can companies ensure their videos will play not just on a wide variety of devices, but on every device a customer might use?

ITV.SantamariaITV is the largest video producer and broadcaster in the United Kingdom, and streaming to multiple screens is a key part of its strategy. During a morning session at the Streaming Forum 2014 conference now underway in London, Clive Santamaria, chief architect for ITV, explained how his company prepares content for desktops, set-top boxes, and mobile devices.

Deciding on the workflow for the organization is the first hurdle, Santamaria explained. He detailed the factors companies should consider when deciding what type of system to adopt.

  • Location of the organization: How far does the video need to travel?

  • Standardization: Creating a single workflow for both broadcast and online content is preferable.

  • Quality: ITV has adopted one-step encoding, creating online content directly from the HD broadcast source, rather than using a mezzanine format.

  • Speed: For broadcasters especially, getting content online quickly is critical. Viewers don't want to wait for their catch-up programming. ITV uses on-premises hardware-based encoding.

  • Cost of ownership: At the moment it's more cost-efficient to own the encoding hardware, Santamaria said, but he noted that this will change.

Once they've answered those questions, companies need to decide on the encoding product or service that's right for them. Santamaria looked at three options.

  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS): These are best for less-complex needs.

  • Service providers: These offer a service level agreement (SLA), and are best for broadcast workflows where needs don't change often and that don't support live video.

  • Commercial transcoding products: These are best for companies that need onsite video production, have single broadcast and online workflows, and need live video transcoding.

Online viewers want high bitrates, Santamaria said, and the problem of crunching a lot of video to create the needed formats is only going to get worse.

ITV chose to go with Telestream's Vantage product. Also in the discussion was George Boath, vice president of international sales and enterprise products for Telestream, Boath explained that Vantage is Telestream's flagship product for enterprise, and that it's a suite of software services, workflow management tools, system management tools, and GPU-accelerated servers.

When picking a solution, customers should consider a product's image quality, processing speed, cost, and agility (its ability to grow and change with market demands), Boath said.

Watch the full presentation:

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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