Big Data

Cloud-based transcoding system delivers low-latency video

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Vantrix360-logo-final-colorHow can thousands of people with different kinds of devices and different network connections watch the same video at the same time?

The answer lies in transcoding, the process of converting media files from one format to another.

Vantrix Corporation develops media-processing software for cable operators, broadcasters and content owners. The Vantrix Transcoder is a powerful, software-defined solution that cost effectively meets demand for video on any screen. The glass-to-glass system allows for capture, cloud processing and viewing in a low-latency manner. It adapts the video stream to users’ devices to ensure videos run seamlessly.

Watching broadcasts in near-real time

The worst thing for a video is latency — stalling or stopping. People get very frustrated.

Imagine watching a sporting event in which the real-time factor is of utmost importance. If there’s a delay, you might hear your neighbor screaming “Goal!” when you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a spoiler.

The ultra-high-density transcoding solution from Vantrix reduces the latency as much as possible because it’s scalable and deployed in the IBM Cloud.

A main driver for selecting IBM was global reach. Vantrix can deliver a packet, frame or video element within 200 milliseconds across the world. For viewers, it’s almost like being there.

A virtual-reality camera, no image stitching required

Vantrix developed its own 360-degree camera, which delivers a video feed that’s half spherical, similar to what people see with their eyes. The same cloud-based transcoding process is used to adapt this very large video stream to any user device, but to see the full video, viewers would use a virtual reality (VR) headset.

Most VR broadcasts use multiple lenses and have to “stitch” images together, which means they lose quality and in the live use case, introduce latency.

The Vantrix camera doesn’t require image stitching, so it can deliver higher-quality video, more quickly.

Watching sports with a VR headset

If viewers are watching sports with a VR headset, not only can they see the field or court, but they can also look sideways and see the bench with the players, or see fans. They’re not confined to the choice of the broadcast. It’s a more natural way to watch a game, because viewers can control their own experiences. They can look anywhere they want as long as they want.

With this format, broadcasters can deliver additional information. For example, viewers can call up a digital overlay on top of the video with statistics about players or another game being played concurrently.

Vantrix transcoding video

Many big broadcasters are exploring ways to personalize their broadcasts. For example, they can customize ads. When someone is watching in VR, broadcasters have 100 percent of that person’s attention, so ads have much more impact.

With analytics, broadcasters could determine where viewers are looking so they can tell an advertiser where to move a logo to get more eyeball seconds as the original spot. That means more people see the ad and more revenue for the broadcaster.

Remote security monitoring

Another common application for Vantrix’s 360-degree camera is security. The camera captures far more activity than a traditional camera that doesn’t have “peripheral vision.”

The recording system has a buffer leading up to a trigger event, and the footage is recorded and stored safely in the cloud, meaning if the burglar destroys the camera, the video prior to the incident is already stored in the cloud.

Any trigger or event can be played back securely by whoever has the access and rights to look at the video, from wherever they are.

If the event happened in New York, for example, the transcoding service can stream it to L.A. With a fast Internet connection and strong cloud services, viewers won’t have a big delay in terms of from when it happened to when they can watch it.

Transcoding as a service

The Vantrix Media Platform software already has a very robust set of application programming interfaces (APIs). Vantrix used the IBM Cloud Platform to both develop a multitenant version of its software and to fully integrate its APIs into the IBM Cloud ecosystem, enabling video transcoding as service for IBM Cloud developers.

Learn more about IBM Cloud streaming video.

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