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Net Insight launches device for contribution over unmanaged IP networks

Sweden-based technology provider Net Insight has launched video appliance designed to support contribution applications over unmanaged first mile IP connections.

According to Net Insight, the Nimbra VA 210 is designed to enable media service providers to address markets that are currently out of their reach, due to costs related to first-mile connectivity, enabling new channels for specialised content to be transported to users and subscribers.

Net Insight, which launched its Nimbra MSR product a couple of years ago, has recently done a lot of work on reducing costs for remote production. If production can be done remotely during large-scale international events, for example bringing back high quality camera feeds from the London Olympics to Sweden, this can save considerable amounts of money for broadcasters, the company said.

Now, according to Net Insight’s business development director Per Lindgren, driven by OTT content, the market is opening up for tier two or three live events with a big potential global audience but not necessarily a large enough audience within a particular territory to justify expensive investment in infrastructure. For these events, so far the cost of production has been prohibitive, especially for contribution, thanks to the high cost associated with live satellite or fibre links. Service providers are therefore increasingly looking at delivering coverage of such events over the internet, but with some Quality of Service.

The Nimbra VA 210 is designed to enable delivery of content acquisition at high quality over unmanaged IP networks. Combining this new product for first mile delivery to a PoP, with the existing Nimbra-enabled media service network is seen as a good way to deliver coverage of this type of event, according to Lindgren.

“This gives you high quality with low delay and so can change workflow…for tier two and three event coverage,” he said. “You will see a lot more live events.”

The Nimbra VA 210 uses two basic techniques: it provides ‘smart’ or ‘content aware’ Forward Error Correction within MPEG streams to protect the i-Frames on video feeds, and it combines this with “selective retransmission” over the UDP transport layer protocol. ‘Selective retransmission’ means that only packets that have not already been received are asked for.
“This reduces the overhead in retransmission,” said Lindgren.

By combining the Nimbra VA 210 with existing Nimbra networks, broadcasters can deliver events across large distances with less delay and better quality, said Lindgren.

Lindgren identified three markets for the appliance: delivery of sports events online to complement ‘higher tier’ sports broadcasting; newsgathering, where reporters use the public internet to deliver news stories; and to connect service providers’ remote affiliate sites and thus reach a greater number of smaller sites, increasing the target market for operators.

“When you go longer distances, the risk of quality degradation increases, but looking at [this product] for the first and last mile the benefit is strong,” said Lindgren. The Nimbra VA 210 can increase the number of sites over which live events can be covered, he said. It could also complement or replace existing SNG technologies.

“We are currently doing lab trials with customers,” said Lindgren. “We have several customers doing trials and we are seeing a lot of interest, both from the OTT but also to deliver new content over online platforms. OTT is becoming more interesting for live events. There is also the possibility to extend reach cost effectively to more remote facilities. It’s about improving QoS over unmanaged networks and improving packet loss.”

Commercial delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. The Nimbra VA 210 is a hardware platform, available both as a rack-mounted product and as a desktop-type product.

Lindgren said that while there were existing technologies within CDN systems to do some of this, this was the first time such technology had been integrated into telecom grade equipment and tied to the Nimbra platform and the Nimbra management system.