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Ingest: You might think that sounds like eating, and you’d not be far off. First you have to acquire, capture, or import the video and audio you want to send to your audience. Simplestream in London offers a media hub service to its broadcast and media clients, taking in numerous satellite channels simultaneously using a DVB-IP gateway provided by Teracue. You might even consider transmitting your own content direct from the source. For example, during the Olympics, many of the world’s leading news agencies uplinked live from their cameras using a system from LiveU that transmits video over cellular. Ad-Recognition: Once you have collected the content you want to stream, sending it out over the Internet offers you the ability to target advertising to your audiences. For example, Culloma Technologies ad recognition and replacement service recognises advertisements in TV streams. It inserts markers into the stream to indicate the ad positions, which allows broadcasters to replace them with alternative ads — all in a matter of seconds and undetectable to the viewer. Stream: Next up, preparing the content to be viewable on whatever device the end viewer chooses. You can’t simply send the same video format to each device. It needs to be converted (transcoded) from its original form to one the device can read. For example, Encompass Digital Media owns and operates broadcast facilities around the world. With live streaming and video-on-demand (VoD) use soaring, Encompass London needed a solution that seamlessly integrated its Live and VoD playout needs — and do this for many clients at the same time. To handle both Live and VoD on the same platform, they chose to use the HERO product from Media Excel. This allowed them to manage the services for their many clients — including Channel 5 which streamed two new live channels from the Big Brother House this year — as well as daily VoD playout. You also need to ensure your transcoding solution is “future proof” and able to embrace new formats as they evolve, such as MPEG-DASH. Consider using a mix of hardware and cloud- based solutions too. Getting flexibility, scalability and versatility from your chosen transcoding platform is key. Distribute: Now you need to make your video stream available and distributed to your intended audience. You need to work with a content distribution network (basically a company that operates a large system of distributed servers) or and online video platform (a company that hosts and manages your video content for you). In 2012, Webcasting and live event solution provider Vualto worked with digital agency Five by Five and website designers Staak to create the first- ever live advert for gamers. The event was created and streamed lived from London’s Covent Garden to their target market. Deliver: And voila! It’s there on the viewer’s laptop or phone … well, whatever device they choose. The technology already exists to take advantages of the many opportunities OTT presents. However, you must ensure you work with someone who has a strong understanding of digital video media solutions to meet the challenges: content rights; security (managing digital rights); having the necessary bandwidth; ensuring the quality of the content remains high all the way through the process; and, providing content to multiple devices (and ever-evolving devices). Most important is ensuring you have professional support on this unmanaged network. So what’s next for OTT? What will our fictitious family of viewers look like in another five years? They’ll be demanding — and receiving — more convenience, freedom and empowerment in their viewing options. They will be able to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. Simply put: they will expect to be in total control of their viewing and interacting with their media. The end result will mean that content providers will have a more direct relationship them. And just maybe that family will be interacting with each other again … even if it is through the OTT applications on their devices. Lorna Garrett is the co-founder of Garland Partners Limited (GPL) and has been providing professional and profitable digital video solutions over the past 10 years. Contact her to discuss your new project. +44(0)24 7610 2020 or TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 84 DECEMBER 2013 | 51