In recent years, media companies are focusing more on OpEx models and increasingly moving elements of their broadcast workflows over to cloud-based infrastructure. Despite this industry shift, frame and format conversion is one element that still tends to depend on physical infrastructure. However, deploying frame and format conversion in a cloud-based system can bring many advantages.
Broadcast organisations need to transport live linear and OTT content globally from point-to-point or multi-point, while maintaining the highest quality, low latency feeds. Different regions use different frame rates, and the conversion process is usually done either at source or destination, using specialist hardware with high up-front costs. Frame and format conversion workflows are complex, often requiring huge amounts of processing power, not to mention specialist internal resources.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of using the cloud, in contrast to a traditional conversion approach.
Benefits of conversion in the cloud
Regardless of whether conversion is required for occasional use, or for 24/7/365 live broadcast deliveries, a cloud-based model for frame rate conversion avoids the high up-front costs of traditional models. A cloud-based system for conversion also enables content owners to convert at a different stage in the process. Rather than using expensive single-use equipment, companies can convert via a cloud-based service provider at a mid-point in the distribution chain. In addition, many simultaneous instances can be created allowing broadcasters to scale beyond their current capacity and only pay per hour for use. A single instance for 24 hours or 24 instances for 1 hour would cost the same.
A cloud-native frame and format conversion, running on available CPU cycles in cloud compute engines, reduces dependence on specialist hardware. Not only that, but this approach also mitigates the risks associated with the current global supply chain challenges because the reliance on hardware and physical components is removed or reduced. This is crucial, because one of the legacies of Covid is a global reduction in the supply of raw materials and manufactured components. In an industry traditionally reliant on hardware, any upgrades and expansion have proved challenging. The demand on a stressed supply chain has brought major disruption to media and broadcast organisations around the world.
The benefit of using a cloud-based model, means that the cost of conversion is cut to a fraction of traditional installations. The infrastructure can be spun-up and spun-down as needed, which offers flexibility, as well as a more environmentally conscious approach. With traditional set-ups, the processing capabilities cannot be fully utilised whilst the physical infrastructure is sitting idle, whereas cloud economics allow the broadcast industry to maximise its resources. The logical option for companies is to adapt as much of the existing media infrastructure as possible to software-based strategies.
Software-based frame and format conversion
Facilitated by a network of technical partners, our solutions and toolkits combine protocol-agnostic, multi-cloud compatible infrastructure, with low-latency global reach. In order to deliver broadcast-grade live content without compromise, Livelink and Network 1 now feature software-based, motion compensated, frame and format conversion. These IP delivery solutions, deploy ATEME’s in-house developed, motion adaptive processing, particularly beneficial for fast-paced broadcasting sectors such as live sport. Content owners can now process live video in real-time, using an algorithm that interpolates video information to reformat content.
Cerberus Tech’s cloud-based model avoids the high up-front costs of a traditional CapEx approach and allows for true cloud-based, end-to-end delivery. By harnessing the work of the ATEME video research and development team, our responsive solutions offer customers more agility and interoperability. Using a new on-demand pricing structure, we can cut the cost of conversion to a fraction of traditional installations. The ability to move infrastructure into a stasis mode, means companies can reduce costs and work in a more sustainable way, with no wasted resources.