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Ericsson chooses Elemental for first EVE integration

Video compression specialist Elemental used its press event at the NAB Show on Saturday to announce the integration of Elemental’s software-based encoding platform with Ericsson’s recently announced Ericsson Virtualised Encoding (EVE) platform, initially unveiled at the recent TV Connect show in London.

Speaking at the Las Vegas event, Giles Wilson, head of compression at Ericsson, said that quality would remain important as video became available on more and more devices, but that the explosion in the number of video-enabled devices massively complicates the task of delivering services.

“It’s a much more complex environment than service providers previously had to deal with and now they have more choices about how to do it,” said Wilson. “It’s a highly complex environment for the operator.”

Wilson said that EVE is designed to provide a single abstraction layer for service creation and to provide support for all video compression codecs.

EVE is essentially a management layer that uses software agents in different products to provide resource allocation and scheduling.

“We’ve designed this to work with Ericsson’s hardware but we’ve chosen Elemental as our first third party partners for EVE,” said Wilson. “This [choice] is based on our belief in high-quality compression.”

He said Ericsson believed that Elemental provides the highest quality software-based compress in the same way that Ericsson delivers the best in hardware-based compression.

Speaking at the same event, Keith Wymbs, VP of marketing at Elemental, said that the company is also using NAB to follow up on its recent demonstrations of real-time 4Kp30 HEVC and 4Kp60 HEVC video compression and its Sochi Winter Olympics demo with Russian pay TV operator NTV+ of 4K video over satellite by demonstrating real-time 4K video online using MPEG-DASH adaptive bit-rate streaming in partnership with Sony and Level 3.

“Here at the show we’re taking real time 4K HEVC, wrapping it in DASH and pushing it out over a CDN,” said Wymbs.

Elemental also used its NAB press event to reveal that TV everywhere enabling technology provider MobiTV is using Elemental Live and Elemental Server to deliver more than 40 HD television channels – including live news and sports and a variety of full-episode on-demand shows — for streaming or download to hundreds of devices through multiple pay TV, wireless and OTT partners.

Speaking at the press event, Bill Routt, chief operating officer, MobiTV, said that his company had partnered with Elemental because it shared the company’s vision that video is moving to IP-based multiscreen delivery.

Routt said that the video ecosystem is becoming very fragmented with a wider variety of providers fighting to establish a relationship with customers based on their ability to deliver video services.

He said MobiTV believes that the connected home will be enabled by mobile devices – and mobile service providers – primarily.

“We think an HDMI dongle is the best way into the home for service providers and wireless carriers have an opportunity to win the living room if they move fast enough. They have relationships with customers and a nationwide sales network. They can subsidise hardware and we think they are uniquely positioned among the available ecosystems to win the living room,” he said.

Elemental has also teamed up with French set-top box provider Sagemcom at NAB to showcase 4K HEVC delivered to a Broadcom-based set-top. The company is also using the show to demonstrate delivery of 4Kp60 HEVC video to a reference set-top in partnership with ViXs.

Other NAB demos will include media services provider Globecast using Elemental technology for a new OTT offering and a joint announcement with Akamai, also for OTT.

Also speaking at Elemental’s press event, CEO and co-founder Sam Blackman used the occasion to proselytise the benefits of cloud-based video processing. Blackman said the use of hybrid workflows employing hardware for day-to-day needs and software-based systems for spikes in demand allowed broadcasters to spin up resources to meet peaks in processing requirements and save on investment in dedicated infrastructure.

“Anything you can do on premises you can also do in the cloud,” said Blackman. “Today is the consummation of what we’ve being doing for the past few years. Software is at an inflection point. Today we’re at the dawn of a new codec change. Ericsson thinks there will be 15 billion IP devices that can consume video over the next few years. Software architectures are progressively going to dominate the video market.”