Harmonic’s Role in the Cloud and UHD

Jean Macher

The media industry has changed so much in a short time as technologies, platforms and consumer habits evolve. “There are so many transformations in our industry for our customers, content producers, broadcasters and distributors,” said Jean Macher, director of market development, broadcast, at Harmonic.

One of the most important transformations is the ongoing transition to move video operations to the cloud. Last year, Harmonic introduced the VOS Cloud comprehensive software solution, and VOS 360 dedicated end-to-end video cloud service. Both of these pure native cloud solutions run on public or private clouds, and Harmonic focused initially on workflow for OTT in the cloud.

“This year we’ll show new features like time shift, ingest and new workflows,” Macher said.

Two new workflows take VOS beyond the OTT space: playout in the cloud, where the company is bringing all the expertise it has developed through its established Spectrum playout solution to VOS Cloud and VOS 360; and a second new workflow called “Distribution 2.0.” This is the ability to take video signals from a site or premises to the cloud, then distribute it back to another site over the public internet. Broadcasters may have less spectrum after the auction and re- pack, but they still need to find room for all of their existing MPEG-2 channels while making room for ATSC 3.0 signals.

The answer is better MPEG-2 compression. “This is where we come in with our Electra X2, which is our full-software encoding appliance with PURE codec and FlexStream stat mux,” Macher said. “This is how we can optimize all the MPEG-2 channels and reduce the bandwidth needed to run them… It’s about making room, freeing up capacity for ATSC 3.0.”

OTT delivery has become as important as broadcast delivery for many customers, according to Macher. One demo will involve IQ, a booster for Harmonic’s codec that increases compression efficiency by as much as 50 percent by modelling and leveraging the human visual system.