RGB Networks Launches Next-Gen MPEG-2/H.264 Transcoder

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RGB Networks has launched a new transcoding platform that it says will enable video service providers to keep pace with the rapid growth of multiscreen IP video services.

At its core is the company's Video Multiprocessing Gateway (VMG) Gen2, which uses RGB's MPEG-2/H.2.64 compression engine to offer an increased density and capacity to meet the challenges of multiscreen deployments.

According to the company, new video applications such as ABR streaming and transcoding modules deliver "pristine video quality" in VMG Gen 2. Additionally RGB claims that, by doubling the capacity of each transcoding module, it delivers superior operational efficiencies. A single VMG chassis, for example, can output more than 1,150 streams and more than 250 HD input streams.

In addition to new hardware, RGB’s Gen 2 solution offers a Linux-based control platform it calls TransAct Director.

“This workflow control product goes beyond device-specific GUIs and provides a multi-node, work- and signal-flow approach to operating high availability networks,” explains Nabil Kanaan, senior director, product marketing. “With more and more video, both live and on-demand, being made available for delivery in adaptive streaming format, operators are looking for a number of key technology attributes to help them scale."

“Operators are looking for high capacity and high density transcoding solutions that allow them to easily and cost-effectively scale their deployments," Kanaan says. "They want more 'converged' headend solutions that allow for both standard large-screen transcoding, as well as adaptive streaming-based technology; and they want standards-compliant technology (typically transport stream-based) in the core network and for network storage, and format-specific (e.g. Apple HLS vs. Adobe HDS) on the edge or created 'just in time.' This saves operator network and storage resources, and allows faster reaction to quickly-evolving consumer electronic trends.”

We asked Kanaan to speak to the issue of where operators should be locating transcoding/repurposing—on customer premises equipment, in the cloud, or a hybrid approach?

“Transcoding of streams or assets that are applicable to a large portion of the subscriber base is ideally performed in the network,” he says. “The main advantages center on operator control of video quality and ultimately the consumer quality of experience, as well as allowing a thinner client which is directly related to service uptime and the operator’s ability to respond to technology issues and avoid 'truck rolls' to customer premises.”

There are also some advantages to a hybrid scenario for cable (rather than a telco architecture) where processing is done in the network and segmentation/packaging is done on the customer premises.

“This approach mimics a switched digital video architecture in that an IP multicast session is opened in a narrowcast QAM architecture for all subscribers (one to many)," Kanaan says. "It avoids the need to perform unicast one-to-one delivery of a popular broadcast channel like CNN or local networks, which could possibly overload the last mile IP network (typically a DOCSIS network).

“However, the trend for cable operators is to upgrade these last mile DOCSIS networks to offer higher and higher bandwidth internet access, so that possible bottleneck is becoming less of an issue. Telcos have a natural advantage in that last mile architectures are switched and one-to-one customer addressable. Adaptive streaming further offers the ability to ensure customers get the best possible quality of experience based on the prevailing network conditions, accommodating such factors as quality of the DSL loop and distance from the central office.”

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