Streaming Media West 2017 kicked off Nov. 2 with a look behind the live linear streaming workflow of Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football. Prime Video captured the rights to stream the NFL’s midweek showcase earlier this year and broadcasted its first live event Sept. 28, relying on a cloud-based workflow driven by AWS and AWS Elemental components to carry live action and advertising to viewers worldwide.
During a show-opening keynote presentation and fireside chat, AWS Elemental CMO Keith Wymbs, Jim DeLorenzo, head of sports for Amazon Prime Video, and moderator Dan Rayburn, executive vice president of StreamingMedia.com and principal consultant with Frost and Sullivan, discussed the technology deployed for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. The discussion featured an in-depth look at the end-to-end workflow architecture and how it works.
Through its first five games, Prime Video Thursday Night Football live streams reached 8.6 million viewers across 187 countries and territories while supporting 600 different viewing devices, including an average viewer time of 51 minutes for Amazon Video’s Thursday Night Football events.
Among the contributors to viewing experiences discussed in the session were cloud-based server-side ad insertion, which allows delivery of appropriately personalized ads at bitrates and quality levels that seamlessly match core content; a workflow engineered for low latency and minimized time-behind-live performance; and user-centric features like viewer-selectable audio tracks.
For Streaming Media’s coverage of the session, read SMW 17: Amazon Reaches 7.1M Viewers for Thursday Night Football.
Few advancements in video demonstrate as dramatic an improvement in image quality as High Dynamic Range (HDR). In the midst of today’s intense competition for content, being able to offer a distribution platform that supports HDR puts video providers miles ahead of operators that don’t support upgraded distribution capabilities.
The good news is that HDR can be readily implemented using a software-based video workflow, without significant investment in storage or bandwidth. For content creators, broadcasters, and cable, satellite and OTT distributors, HDR offers immense opportunities, and a competitive advantage.
But the fact is that any new technology format, however innovative, can also present a rocky road to adoption if you haven’t mapped out the journey in advance.
If you know the potential roadblocks you can avoid them. In that light, here are a handful of considerations your HDR planning should include:
- Getting familiar with multiple HDR standards
- Knowing what upgrades are needed for linear facilities and software-based media production and distribution
- Successfully dealing with the intermixing of HDR and SDR content
- Identifying the technologies that enable HDR, and understanding their role in its implementation
This paper offers an analysis of HDR’s technological capabilities, the challenges to consider during planning, the business opportunities it helps make possible, and the impact it can have on the business of media and entertainment.
France’s Molotov TV has quickly positioned itself among the leaders in over-the-top (OTT) video services that are changing the way consumers enjoy TV. Since launching its subscription-based offering less than a year ago, Molotov has attracted more than a million subscribers to its high-quality content and engaging user experience.
Prior to launch, the company accomplished an impressive feat, securing agreements with all major French TV networks (pay and free TV channels) to aggregate and distribute their programming as live and video-on-demand (VOD/Catchup) content through the Molotov.tv app. Well-known for the quality of their programming, French networks invest more than $6 billion dollars annually in fresh content, putting an abundance of first-rate entertainment in the hands of Molotov’s users.
While its content catalog draws users to Molotov, an innovative, user-friendly viewing experience helps keep them engaged. The app offers users an at-a-glance view of all live, on-demand and upcoming programs Molotov has to offer at that moment, with an easy-to-navigate menu and search function that invites exploration. Smart design carries through to the viewing experience; users can watch the shows of their choice live, restart from the beginning or catch up to real time, and for programs they’ve already started, viewers can pause and resume from wherever they left off, across any of their devices. Molotov also incorporates cloud-based DVR functionality.
To power its dynamic offering, Molotov depends on high-performance, highly efficient video processing. Since the service launched, its viewership and content offering have grown, and its AWS Elemental deployment has expanded as well. Today, Molotov has multiple AWS Elemental Live encoders in operation, with AWS Elemental Conductor software managing the encoder cluster.
“To deliver the experience our customers demand, we can’t have any downtime,” said Sébastien Faure, Molotov’s head of video and deputy chief technology officer. “At the same time, we want our technical experts focused on driving innovation, not managing infrastructure. We’ve continued to expand our AWS Elemental deployment because their technology is ‘set it and forget it’; we don’t have to fuss with our encoders to keep generating well-formatted, high-quality streams for every viewer we serve.”
The Molotov.tv app is available for computers, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs running iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux as well Apple TV, Android TV, LG and Samsung Smart TV services. A free version offers 35 channels, while paid subscribers gain access to more than 70 channels for less than 10 € per month.