AWS Elemental Blog
AWS Elemental Blog
Submitted by James on July 20, 2018

The University of Notre Dame and its video production resource, Notre Dame Studios, serve students and the University community with live and recorded events and original programming. For the staff and students responsible for creating and delivering live streaming content, one of the most important days on the academic calendar is Notre Dame Day.

Each spring, Notre Dame Day inspires and entertains alumni, students, family, and friends with stories from around the world. The 29-hour live streaming broadcast of on-campus events features interviews, performances, and guest appearances, all in celebration of the famous institution.

In advance of this year’s Notre Dame Day, Notre Dame Studios was tasked with building a solution to broadcast high-quality video streams directly from central or remote sites across the 1,250 acre (505 hectare) campus. The new video solution would need to support a wide range of live programming - academic, faith, student life, and athletics -  to be distributed locally through campus channels or to be viewed on connected devices anywhere. This meant securing a video encoding solution that was small and portable, with minimal power and cooling requirements, yet with a comprehensive set of features. The system would have to be capable of living in or out of a racked environment and reliably streaming content 24x7, as well as easily installed in a variety of locations. And, the solution had to be simple, with only power, SDI, and Ethernet connectivity for quick setup and startup.

To meet its requirements, Notre Dame selected the AWS Elemental Live small form factor appliances. Measuring just 10.5 x 1.75 x 9.5 in. (26.7 x 4.4 x 24.1 cm) with a weight of 4.5 lbs. (2.0 kg), these systems are ideal for placing in rolling kits to transport equipment to event locations, as well as mounting in racks in a video operations hub. AWS Elemental Live software meets Notre Dame Studios’ requirements today with support for 720p high-definition video and the H.264 AVC compression standard, and is ready to meet future requirements with built-in support for 1080p and high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) compression. Power requirements are simple, and no extra cooling is needed. With AWS Elemental small form factor hardware, video production can now move anywhere it needs to go.

Live broadcasts of Notre Dame Day provided a challenging, high-stakes environment for Notre Dame’s new streaming solution. The compact appliances performed flawlessly, providing adaptive bitrate streams for distribution by Notre Dame Studios to a variety of diverse endpoints, including several content delivery networks and video services including Facebook, YouTube, CBS Interactive, and the website. With AWS Elemental, the University was able to bring Notre Dame Day events live from across the campus to Notre Dame global community. Now, Notre Dame Studios can benefit from a flexible, future-ready live streaming solution in service of its mission year-round.

For more on Notre Dame Studios and their deployment of AWS Elemental Live small form factor solutions, read our case study.

Submitted by Alyssa on July 17, 2018

Guest post by Juan Martinez Puig | Senior Product Manager, Irdeto

Blog originally published on June 26, 2018 on the AWS Media Blog. The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

Like many famous 4-letter words, CPIX conveys surprise, shock even, but not in a bad way. It stands for Content Protection Information Exchange, a rather bland term for a standard that brings very exciting changes for the media industry. Driven by the DASH Industry Forum, CPIX is designed to create operational efficiencies and slash the cost and launch time for your OTT services. Suppliers of video solutions such as Irdeto and AWS Elemental have already embraced CPIX and are at the forefront of its adoption.

As OTT matures, standardization is the next step

OTT technologies started in a fragmented way, like many innovations in media and other industries. At the beginning, cobbling together the best available vendor solutions was the only way to launch an OTT service into the market, relying on proprietary integration between the different components. But as OTT services became widely adopted, propelled by streaming video pioneers such as Netflix and Amazon, operators sought to innovate and become more cost-effective so they could retain and grow their subscriber base. The media industry took note and has begun to collaborate on standardization as the video ecosystem matures, to the benefit of not just the operators but also ultimately consumers.

As the first major breakthrough on standardization, MPEG-DASH significantly changed the economics of OTT operations. Such a push forward sounds great, but there is a catch: sometimes technology providers wouldn’t play ball. At least not until the market clearly demanded such support from all major players, like in the case of CMAF emerging to bridge the gap between Apple HLS and MPEG-DASH.

By mid-2017, thanks largely to collaboration and standardization, offering an OTT service that could reach virtually every multiscreen device was already much simpler. Now the industry leaps forward again in another giant step by introducing CPIX as a standard way for security information to be exchanged between packagers and digital rights management (DRM) headends.

CPIX, supporting both DASH and HLS to cover all devices

Unlike other previous standardization efforts, CPIX comes out of the gate already supporting both DASH and HLS. This enables operators who adopt CPIX to securely stream video to Apple devices and virtually every other connected device. CPIX is used to exchange keys and DRM policies between the DRM management headend and packagers. Until now, every packager vendor used its proprietary interface and sometimes DRM-specific APIs to handle this information exchange. This makes switching from one packager solution to another a very expensive and time-consuming project, often not worth pursuing unless the operator has become extremely unhappy with their current solution.

CPIX breaks the vendor lock-in for operators. By adopting this standardized approach, operators can more easily choose the packager and DRM management solutions that are right for them. CPIX allows operators to avoid custom integration since information exchange follows the same format from one product to another.

Preparing for wider adoption

Some work is still needed to make CPIX an easy standard to adopt, and the standard is undergoing fine tuning to achieve this. While many technology providers are still grappling with specific implementation approaches, AWS Elemental and Irdeto have already built CPIX support into their video solutions. With the ability to slash OTT costs and bring integration time down from months to days, CPIX is destined to become everyone’s favorite 4-letter word in 2018.

Submitted by Marc on May 23, 2018

If you’re looking for video encoding subject matter experts, the AWS Media Blog is where you’ll find them. From explaining how complex media workflows work in practice, to technical how-to instructions, to choice recaps of technology demos and tech talks from recent industry conferences, all information is presented in a consumer-friendly format. Some recent examples:

In this first of a series, AWS Elemental Senior Solutions Architect Nicolas Weil and Solutions Marketing Manager Kiran Patel explain in detail why latency is a challenge, for content providers and audiences, in live video streaming. “How-to” topics in the series include formulas, workflows, and technical walk-throughs to achieve low latency through:

  • Optimization of your video encoding pipeline
  • Selecting an appropriate segment duration
  • Building the right architecture for your application
  • Tuning video player settings

Read it now: How to Compete with Broadcast Latency Using Current Adaptive Bitrate Technologies: Part 1. And stay tuned for additional installments in the coming days.

In a related post, Patel explains origin storage and the role it can play in reducing video streaming latency while maintaining a high quality viewing experience at scale. Get the writes and reads needed with AWS Elemental MediaStore

Wondering how to configure your video processing with cloud services? AWS Elemental Product Marketing Manager Dan Gehred has authored a five-part blog series – with workflow examples and step-by-step instructions – about how to configure and connect various encoders to AWS Media Services, which you can read now:

  1. Connecting AWS Elemental Live On-Premises to AWS Media Services in the Cloud
  2. Connecting OBS Studio to AWS Media Services in the Cloud
  3. Connecting FFmpeg Using RTP to AWS Media Services in the Cloud
  4. Connecting FFmpeg Using RTMP to AWS Media Services in the Cloud
  5. Connecting VLC Media Player Using RTP to AWS Media Services in the Cloud

Keep an eye on this space for continued learnings from AWS video experts immersed in the media and entertainment industry.