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RGB Packages 'TV Everywhere' Streams On The Fly

Video-encoding equipment vendor RGB Networks is touting a "just-in-time" packaging feature for its TransAct Packager for IP streaming protocols, which the company claims is a far more cost-effective solution for video providers to deliver large libraries of TV Everywhere content to an array of connected devices.

With the on-the-fly packaging capability, a service provider can deliver MPEG-4 H.264 adaptive bit-rate video-on-demand without pre-packaging all its video assets in four of the most popular adaptive streaming protocols: Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) and the newly-ratified MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG DASH).

That reduces the need for expensive enterprise-class storage -- potentially by an order of magnitude -- because it eliminates the need to store multiple assets at different bit rates for every target device and protocol, according to Ramin Farassat, RGB's vice president of product marketing and business development.

"If you have 10,000 assets, this technology doesn't make sense -- you would just buy disk space," Farassat said. "But as soon as you increase the number of assets, it makes sense."

RGB has not settled on pricing for the just-in-time-packaging feature of TransAct Packager, but Farassat said it will be a few hundred dollars per stream. That's compared with anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $10,000 per stream for enough high-performance storage to deliver content libraries of more than 50,000 hours (depending on number of concurrent users), according to RGB's analysis.

Two operators in the Americas are currently testing the real-time packaging features of RGB's TransAct Packager for VOD. The product is slated to be commercially available later this month.

Andy Salo, director of product marketing for RGB, acknowledged that some competitors do packaging on the fly, but "what is unique for us is we are doing just-in-time packaging where we create the manifests and the [video] chunks are delivered into the CDN immediately." The RGB solution also covers the major streaming protocols, including MPEG DASH.

The TransAct Packager introduces "very negligible" latency of just a few milliseconds of latency, Salo added. The product is available as software or in an Intel-based 1-rack-unit appliance that supports up to 500 concurrent sessions.

The system doesn't require any special agent on the client, Farassat said, gathering HTTP information such as browser type to determine the nature of the device. The TransAct Packager works with content delivery networks to adjust bit rates dynamically.

In addition, the TransAct Packager can encrypt content with industry standard AES-128 and also supports closed captioning (608/708) for HLS, SS and Adobe HDS.

RGB plans to demo the just-in-time packaging technology at NAB April 16-19 in Las Vegas.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based RGB has raised $63 million from venture capital firms including Accel Partners, Comcast Interactive, Focus Ventures, Granite Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners.