Akamai bridges gap between live streaming and broadcast TV
April 25, 2017
Akamai Technologies, the cloud delivery platform, is bringing the consistency and reliability of broadcast television to the Internet. The next generation of its Media Services Live system for delivering 24/7 live/linear online video capabilities is designed to support OTT video service providers, broadcasters and telcos that are operating or launching full-time television channels online.
Media Services Live includes four new components, together known as liveOrigin, that operate in concert to support the same level of quality for linear video streaming that is expected of traditional broadcast television:
Broadcast-Quality Ingestion: The transfer of video from its origination point to the delivery network is a crucial step in linear streaming. Akamai has built a highly distributed ingestion network using the Company’s proven mapping technology to match encoders to the most optimal entry point, creating a system that can automatically route content to different entry points with no viewer impact if the connection is interrupted. Those capabilities are complemented with ingest acceleration, based on Akamai’s Media Acceleration technology, to support throughput of higher bit rates and also mitigate and circumvent poor network connectivity.
Low Latency: Akamai is introducing 10-second latency as part of Media Services Live, addressing the need for online and broadcast content to play back for viewers near-simultaneously. Particularly important for broadcasters and live sports and news providers, the feature dramatically reduces what has traditionally been a 30-second-or-more delay between broadcast signals and online streams.
Self-Healing Network: Akamai has incorporated multiple layers of redundancy into Media Services Live in which content is replicated to multiple locations across the network. The design allows for immediate failover if performance is in any way degraded.
Monitoring & Reporting: Akamai’s new Media Services Live includes near real-time reporting that affords customers critical insights into content and ingest performance. The capabilities replace the minutiae and time inherent to pouring over log files with at-a-glance visualizations of critical, stream-level metrics such as average bitrate, latency, packet loss and error rate among others. Users can set custom thresholds for key metrics that activate alerts when exceeded.
“Most broadcast video distribution solutions neglect the first critical link of the video chain, content ingestion. Packet drops or outages cause drops in quality or total loss of the feed. This crisis leaves operations teams scrambling to get the content back online as customers look for alternative sources for critical live matches or first-broadcast linear content,” said Sam Rosen, Vice President at ABI Research. “Akamai’s latest addition to Media Services Live – liveOrigin – uses multiple technologies and operational capabilities to bring broadcast-quality reliability and redundancy to OTT services.”
“Akamai Media Services Live is designed from the ground up explicitly to span the chasm between live streaming and broadcast television. Media Services Live is a solution that’s dedicated and optimized to support the unique and rigorous demands of delivering live and linear 24/7 channels online with features and performance capabilities that simply are not available from commodity storage and delivery services,” said Michael Fay, Vice President, Media Products and Operations, Akamai. “As OTT operators and broadcasters build their online businesses and expand their programming, linear channels and the related viewing experience is playing a key role in the ability to differentiate services. Having a platform that is able to support the quality of experience necessary to attract and keep customers will be critical as broadcast TV continues its shift online.”