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G-Core Labs: Trends in Delivering Low Latency Video

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Aleksei Petrovskikh of G-Core Labs talks about the platform, its capabilities, and market trends.

G-Core Labs has announced a streaming platform built on their own global content delivery network that can relay video signal to anywhere in the world with a delay of under one second. Aleksei Petrovskikh, head of G-Core Labs streaming platform, talks about the platform, its capabilities, and market trends in low latency delivery.

What is the G-Core Labs streaming platform?

The G-Core Labs streaming platform is a unique turnkey solution for live video and video-on-demand streaming that can be used to deliver video content to any device anywhere in the world in Full HD and 4K quality. Viewers want to watch the key moments of broadcasts without delay and get access to videos and films that interest them the instant they press the Play button. That’s why we ensure a video delivery time of one or four seconds. By default, we support a delay of up to four seconds for all video streams. This can be delivered to an audience of 100 million viewers. Customers can also subscribe to the ultra-low latency streaming service—a premium platform service where, with the help of the WebRTC technology, the video stream delivery time is minimized to 1 second.

Using our streaming platform, a fully-fledged online broadcast of a TV channel can quickly be established from scratch, or an online cinema that airs films, series, sports matches, poker tournaments, rock concerts, marketing videos, and personal video blogs can be created. Everything can be set up from a personal account or via API. Customers don’t need their own transcoding servers, CDNs, or broadcasting engineers.

G-Core Labs has been developing its video streaming business since 2018. How is the updated Streaming Platform different from the previous version of this product, the Media Platform?

Compared to the previous version of the platform, we have reduced the latency from 10 to between 1 and 4 seconds, which is almost ten times less for ultra-low-latency streaming and 2.5 times less for low-latency. This is a big step forward. We use advanced technology to minimize the video stream delivery time, such as Chunked CMAF, HTTP CTE, Low Latency HLS, WebRTC, SRT, and Low Latency CDN.

Another important feature is providing streamlined support for all stages of broadcasting from capturing and converting a video stream to its playback. Our streaming platform provides all the tools you need, including transcoding, cloud storage, a content delivery network, and a cross-platform HTML5 player.

Tell us about your customers. What businesses will benefit from your streaming platform?

The G-Core Labs streaming platform is already used by several large European media holdings, banks, retailers, and video game developers, including Wargaming (World of Tanks, World of Warships), TeleSport Group media holding, and businesses specializing in household appliances, electronics and other products.

Our solution is versatile and well suited for sports broadcasters, TV channels, online cinemas and various OTT services, news portals, the betting segment, organizers of virtual concerts and e-sports tournaments, video bloggers and companies of any industry working with video content, including retailers, developers, and car dealers.

What else does the platform offer?

We support adaptive bitrate streaming up to 4K, 360° and 3D video. We can make 4-hour recordings and rewind live broadcast (DVR). In their personal account, customers can access clear statistics and analytics, including data on the number of unique users, the peak number of viewers, referral lists, and so on.

For streaming and content monetization, we use Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI), several advertising modes and Anti Adblock function, H.264 AVC, H.265 HEVC, VP8, VP9, AV1 codecs, caching, shielding, and sharding with a global CDN.

How does the platform minimize delays?

We have successfully integrated a range of technologies into our platform in order to use the full power of G-Core Labs content delivery network to deliver traffic while still achieving very low latency video.

The new standards for low-latency-streaming based on HTTP (DASH, HLS), which our platform uses, are based on the use of a variant of the HTTP 1.1 protocol called Chunked Transfer Encoding. This makes it possible to transfer new parts of the last (live) video segment to the customer immediately as they arrive from the transcoding servers.

What software and hardware does the platform use?

Low latency software is our own solution in combination with a number of interchangeable open-source solutions for receiving streaming video, its transcoding, and distribution.

Our hardware infrastructure consists of several geo-distributed clusters for receiving, processing, and delivering video to the servers of G-Core Labs own content delivery network. Some of these servers are used for CPU transcoding, and others for GPU transcoding. The standard configuration of servers includes Intel Xeon Gold 6152 and 5220R processors, SSD and HDD drives with triple replication, a High IOPS SSD for applications requiring high IOPS, and a KVM hypervisor.

G-Core Labs proprietary solutions allow us to balance the load between video processing clusters and distribute video to the CDN as soon as the first frames arrive.

What was the hardest part about getting the latency of 1–4 seconds and a stable signal?

We solved two important tasks that allowed us to lower the latency to 1–4 seconds: we ensured the compatibility of low-latency streaming with many different platforms and devices, and also adjusted the caching of incompletely formed video parts in the content delivery network. The thing is that standard CDN tools usually don’t allow you to cache unfinished files, but we’ve found a solution to this problem.

Tell us more about the Adblock bypass technology integrated into your streaming platform. How reliable is it?

Our streaming platform allows you to embed commercials in video streams on the server side and track their impressions. All ad-related data looks the same as the original video content. Video ad snippets are distributed from the same CDN as regular ones and have a similar URL format; the same servers track advertising events; ad metadata is indistinguishable from main content. This solution allows customers to reliably increase their advertising inventory.

Where’s the video streaming market headed?

According to a number of analysts, in the next two to three years video will account for about 90% of all Internet traffic. Online education, telemedicine, financial analytics, VR/AR and e-commerce are already using premium real-time video streaming. In the next one to three years, industries such as video games, esports, TV and media will fully switch to streaming with minimal latency.

Today, G-Core Labs is developing AI-based products that allow an internet user or a TV viewer to receive information in one click about the actors and landmarks in the frame, or the clothes an anchor is wearing. This will provide new opportunities for advertisers.

We also expect big sporting events to be held in 8K in the near future, and the actively developing 5G mobile technologies will allow this video content to be delivered to a large number of mobile devices.

In a number of markets, including the USA and China, the production of 12K content is actively developing today, and is particularly in demand in the VR and AR segments.

All of this means that more time and resources will be invested in video streaming.  

www.gcorelabs.com

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