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Ericsson Unveils MediaFirst Content Processing
Firm's media unit continues to innovate while looking for a buyer; MediaFirst Content Processing promises low latency via distributed cloud infrastructure

Ericsson, which has put its media and broadcast services division under the hammer, continues to innovate, this time with what it claims to be the first software-based, multi-application media processing platform targeting the contribution market.

Choosing IBC as the launch pad, but like many companies hoping to cut through the noise by shouting about it now, MediaFirst Content Processing is presented as having superior low latency, and the ability to repurpose processing functions to deliver increasingly immersive video experiences.

The first application intended for the platform is UHDTV HEVC contribution decoding. By combining COTS servers with Ericsson hardware acceleration, service providers can efficiently future proof media processing applications, the firm contends.

Paired with Ericsson's AVP HEVC contribution encoders, MediaFirst Content Processing provides the an end-to-end solution for UHDTV or HD HEVC contribution. It supports either ASI or IP inputs and 4:2:0 or 4:2:2, 8-bit or 10-bit uncompressed outputs via a range of industry standard connections.

Arpad Jordan, head of media processing & delivery, media solutions at Ericsson, says: "MediaFirst Content Processing will offer a way for contribution service providers to deliver revenue-generating, immersive viewing experiences like UHDTV at an affordable cost. Better yet, they will be able to repurpose media processing applications and optimize cloud architectures."

Future applications will support emerging contribution use cases—VR perhaps—and enable the benefits of cloud within a distributed cloud contribution architecture, Ericsson said.

The company is also intent on pushing its Unified Delivery Network (UDN), a solution connecting content providers with the last mile reach of service providers for content delivery. Operated in partnership with Hutchison Global Communications, Telstra, AIS, and Vodafone, the solution offers a more managed service for telco video delivery than using public CDNs.

"Most notable operators have already built or bought their own CDN over the years," explains Yves Boudreau, head of ecosystem and partnerships, UDN. "Primarily this was used to deliver their own traffic. However, some have started wholesaling some capacity to select content providers. The major limitation to this approach is simple:  Even the largest of operators still only operate in one or a few countries: they aren't truly global. There are some exceptions to this rule, but most service providers are at best national. Content and application providers demand global coverage.  Ericsson UDN is a unique partnership model that tries to address this problem - operators can pool their assets and resources together to create a global platform deep in the operators' network to deliver higher quality and better performance."

We expect customer announcements around UDN at IBC.

These products and services emanate from the firm's media division, which is has been up for sale since May. According to Bloomberg, Ericsson AB is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its media solutions business. Separately, the Stockholm-based company hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for its broadcast and media services unit.

Bloomberg speculates that growth in Ericsson's media units has been hampered by a decline in legacy product lines that has outpaced the rising revenue contribution from new products. The business is tentatively valued at $534 million.

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