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EBU and VRT launch MPEG-DASH trial

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Belgian broadcaster VRT have used the London Olympics to launch the first full-scale trail of the MPEG-DASH adaptive streaming standard, the organisation has revealed.

The demonstration features a live video stream encoded using the MPEG-DASH ISO Base Media File Format Live Profile, delivered through Belgacom’s Content Delivery Network to a range of device categories including tablets, smartphones and PCs running iOS, Android and Windows operating systems. The trial will be available for the duration of the Olympics on the VRT Sporza website to users in Belgium only.

The demonstration is based on an early version of the DASH-264 interoperability guidelines, specifically developed by the DASH Promoters Group for interoperable deployment of the MPEG-DASH standard. DASH-264 provides a general interoperability framework aligned with the HbbTV 1.5 specification and other consortia recommendations.

“The EBU strives for open, efficient and interoperable broadcast services and we believe MPEG-DASH is a means to these goals,” said Lieven Vermaele, EBU director of technology and innovation. “On a daily basis, our members face the challenge of distributing large libraries of audio and video to an audience that uses a multitude of devices and technologies. MPEG-DASH is a comprehensive solution for them.”

For the trial, encoding is provided by Elemental, Harmonic and Media Excel. Streaming origins are provided by Wowza and CodeShop, which is also providing encryption. Web clients for PC and Android are supplied by Adobe and BuyDRM is providing applications for iOS and Android, incorporating its DRM solution.

Separately, the EBU has published a new subtitling specification, EBU-TT part 1. EBU-TT, or Time Text, is a follow-up to the longstanding EBU STL specification. The new format is XML-based, which makes it ‘human-readable’ and more suited to modern integrated file-based production methods, according to the EBU. The organisation describes EBU-TT as a simplified version of the W3C Timed Text specification. The spec was developed by the EBU’s XML Subtitles group, chaired by Andreas Tai of IRT.

Part 1 defines a a structure for the interchange and archiving of subtitles. Part 2, which is being drafted, will provide mapping guidance for users who want to migrate from EBU STL to EBU-TT. Work has also started towards a specification for live subtitling.

Tags: EBU, technology