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Full Steam Ahead for Haivision's SRT-Optimized HEVC

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HEVC was perhaps the hottest topic at this year's IBC show in September, but while most demos sought to showcase 4K HEVC in a controlled environment, Haivision took a different tack. The company showed off its HEVC encoding delivered via Haivision's proprietary Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) protocol—sent over the public internet from a hotel close to the conference venue.

SRT, in beta at Haivision's engineering lab HaiGear, is a transport technology that addresses the challenges associated with reliable transport of content across the unpredictable open internet and provides error correction, AES encryption, and security. It's based on an aggregation of technology used in the company's LAN-based Furnace IP video-distribution system and its KulaByte live streaming encoder/transcoder, according to Haivision chief marketing officer Peter Maag.

“The concept behind it is to incorporate network health and network characteristics to dynamically adjust the end point and deliver the optimum video quality over unpredictable networks,” says Maag. “Now that we've created that technology as a model to use in our ecosystem, we'll be bringing it to market.”

In the initial implementation, Havision’s encoders will feature SRT technology to allow for transport of high-quality, low-latency video across internet connections. The first solutions to include it will be the Makito X series of hardware H.264 video encoders and decoders designed for point to point low latency transmission, and KulaByte.

“Broadcast companies have been performing forward error correction for years, but what we are talking about is really taking ownership of the media stream end to end, from the encoder to the decoder/player device, and then tuning the workflow to eliminate any abberations in the final package," Maag says. “This end-to-end workflow is incredibly unique on the market and Haivision as a technology provider is in a unique position to bring this forward.

“HEVC squeezes the most from the network—greater bandwidth efficiencies and video quality—while SRT tames the transport of that content,” says Maag. “Combined, these new technologies present a quantum improvement for video transport. Furthermore, SRT will provide a critical framework for all internet transmissions in Haivision’s end-to-end ecosystem of video solutions. As HEVC is expected to provide higher image quality over constricted networks, SRT can enhance this application by optimizing stream performance over all network types.”

HaiGear has been active with the standard and has demonstrated live baseband HD HEVC/H.265 encoding and live IP-to-IP HD HEVC/H.264 transcoding. For video backhaul challenges, combining HEVC encoding and transcoding is essential to maximize video quality and to assure stream ubiquity.

HaiGear's demonstration of the technology combination at the IBC show in September involved a live recording from an Amsterdam hotel room transmitted direct to the Haivision booth not only over the hotel intranet but  also over the IBC's highly conjested exhibition floor network. The latency of the 720p video was about 200 milliseconds.

“That really showed the power of the technology in an end-to-end workflow and was an amazing showcase for HEVC encoding,” says Marc Cymontkowski, manager of core technology at Haivision. “We coupled HEVC with SRT to transport video over a dirty public network. That presented massive challenges because typically over such a network you would lose packets and encounter severe latency, so you've got to work around it. We have implemented all that into the SRT protocol, adding security and the ability to feedback to the decoder for adjustments. It's really quite a revolutionary demonstration.

“Most attention has been paid to the power of HEVC to decode 4K, but since we focus a lot on enterprise video we understand that people across corporate, education, government or military organisations value the ability to  squeeze the most of out of contribution links," says Cymontkowski. "HEVC offers the market an incremental quality for a given bandwidth which they can now maximise with application of SRT.

“It's likely we'll see SRT come out as a higher performance source encoder as well as enabling point-to-point connections.”

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