Give me a connection fast enough and I shall move the world
Richard Heitmann, VP Marketing at Aspera, looks at new video transport solutions in the age of IP
Aspera pioneered high-speed, secure file transfer over commodity Internet WANs back at NAB 2004. In the years since, the media supply chain has come to depend upon high-speed transfer in virtually every workflow. Cloud computing and storage are now ubiquitous, and the pace of production now demands instant-on transfer services.
At NAB 2016, we celebrated our biggest ever presence at the show, with a portfolio of new high-speed transfer software, including FASP 3.6 and updated workflow automation solutions for the broadcast and media industries.
Live and near-live streaming of broadcast-quality video content over IP networks has traditionally relied on linear transport over satellite and dedicated fibre networks - high quality but limiting for today’s use cases.
Satellite uplinks and dedicated fibre are often not available on demand, and can require large capital investments and long start up times. In addition, the linear feed format can be difficult to customise and integrate with modern file- and cloud-based workflows.
New transport solutions
Internet broadband bandwidth is increasingly available at production venues, opening the possibility for new live video transport solutions. Various products and services have been introduced, using technologies such as forward error correction over UDP, peer-to-peer distribution and “inverse” CDNs.
However, none provide the same universal quality and “zero-delay” experience of traditional live satellite transmission because they can’t guarantee arrival rates over long distance or wireless Internet WANs having high round-trip time and packet loss, without adding significant start-up delay or costly workarounds.
To address this gap in the market, at NAB 2016, Aspera launched FASPStream software, a new turnkey application software line that enables live streaming of broadcast-quality video globally over commodity Internet networks with glitch-free playout and negligible start-up time, eliminating the need for expensive and limited satellite-based backhaul, transport and distribution.
Aspera’s FASPStream software line represents the world’s first open video transport solution capable of high-quality, live streaming over commodity Internet WANs. It uses the FASP bulk data protocol to transport any live video source (local multicast, unicast UDP, TCP, or growing file source) and ensures timely arrival of live video and data independent of network round-trip delay and packet loss. Less than five seconds of start-up delay is required for 50 Mbps video streams transported over 250 milliseconds round-trip latency and three percent packet loss, sufficient for 4K streaming between continents.
At NAB, we successfully demonstrated the FASPStream solution with the transport of three live camera streams from South Africa, China and New York, USA to the Aspera booth for live decode and broadcast playout, as well as IP-based playout through local desktop media players.
The feed from New York was sourced from Broadway Video, a global entertainment and media company that’s partnering with Aspera to provide unique and innovative solutions for point-to-point and consumer-facing live video delivery that eliminate costly satellite and fiber circuit backhauls and distribution infrastructures. According to Rob Weigand, COO of Broadway Video, application of FASPStream to these novel workflows ensures critical uptime and reliability.
Bringing FASPStream to market in a turnkey product after our first decade creating FASP file transfer marks the beginning of a new chapter for Aspera where streams and files interoperate for exceptional transport quality and efficiency over today’s networks. Internet content delivery has exploded, demanding open file-based solutions in application software that are up to the challenge, and we’re dedicated to making this a reality. The potential savings and efficiencies in both contribution and distribution architecture has the potential to revolutionise the way that live and near-live video is transported.