Thomson Video Networks today introduced a significant new capability for its state-of-the-art statistical multiplexing technology, Flextream™ 2.0. Now, Flextream 2.0 has the ability to integrate variable bit-rate data streams within the video pool. The benefits are immediate: whenever the data bit-rate decreases, Flextream 2.0 automatically reallocates the freed bandwidth to the video to optimize bit-rate usage within a multiplex.
Thomson Video Networks’ statistical multiplexing technology automatically controls the company’s ViBE MPEG-2/4 SD or HD encoders by dynamically allocating video bit-rates according to quality targets and service priorities. In this manner, it significantly optimizes bandwidth utilization and improves the resulting video quality, which is a continuous requirement for satellite Direct-to-Home, terrestrial or cable networks. Flextream 2.0 extends this technology to intermittent data streams; instead of reserving a fixed amount of bandwidth within the multiplex for passing these streams, Flextream 2.0 dynamically adapts the video pool bit-rate based on the quantity of data to be transmitted, up to a predefined threshold. Ideal for asynchronous data components or services, Flextream 2.0 offers a cost-effective and safe solution for broadcasting EMM, EPG, and interactive applications such as HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV), system software updates, and playout of VOD programs.
Flextream 2.0 applies a complementary approach to Opportunistic Data Insertion (ODI). Instead of adapting the data bit-rate to the audio/video services, it adapts the video pool bit-rate to the amount of data to broadcast (up to a predefined threshold). It also comes with monitoring utilities that notify operators when the data streams exceed their maximum allowed bit-rate.
Because Flextream 2.0 reallocates every unused data packet to video transmission, it optimizes the usage of the bandwidth within a multiplex and improves the overall perceived video quality whatever the encoding format, including MPEG-2/4. As a result, the Flextream 2.0 technology now allows operators to take advantage of every packet of a multiplex for conveying data or video. It also simplifies the operational workflow; for example, it’s no longer necessary to modify multiplex configurations each time there’s a need to broadcast a higher amount of data, such as an overnight transmission. Instead, the system automatically adapts to real-time conditions.
“Flextream 2.0 is the latest example of Thomson Video Networks’ ongoing innovation in compression and multiplexing technology, demonstrating our commitment to offering the most cost-effective solutions and delivering the highest video quality,” said Eric Gallier, vice president of marketing at Thomson Video Networks.
Flextream 2.0 is available as a software option for Thomson Video Networks’ NetProcessor video processing equipment, as well as the company’s ViBE EM series of broadcast encoders. Flextream 2.0 can also be deployed easily on existing Thomson headend platforms.