Streaming TV to the PC
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Streaming Applications 2
Video Streaming Formats 3
The Benefits of IP for Streaming 3
Streaming Scenario and Optibase Solutions 4
Streaming TV to the PC – Optibase White Paper
Research shows that broadband penetration in the form of DSL and broadband cable is growing
steadily. The DSL Forum reports that during the first half of 2002, there was a 36% rise in the
number of DSL lines worldwide. Most of the increase is a result of a rise in business subscribers. In
the US, cable is ahead of DSL in the penetration race, with nearly 2/3 of all broadband
This broadband landscape is causing Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Storage Service Providers
(SSPs), Netowork Service Providers (NSPs) and Application Service Providers (ASPs) to re-
evaluate the range of services they provide. By introducing new services that include delivering TV
or video to consumers’ PCs, service providers can increase their revenue potential.
This white paper will examine how service providers can take advantage of the rise in broadband
deployment by adding TV to the services consumers get on their PCs.
There are several video based applications that fall under the umbrella of “TV to the PC”.
Time Shifted TV and NPVR
Network PVR (Personal Video Recording) and time shifted TV let viewers store a TV program for
viewing at a later time. They differ slightly from a technical perspective. nPVR is based on the
concept of unicast streaming.When consumers at home play back the program they “recorded” they
are in fact requesting that a video server at the operator’s head-end, stream them the program in
unicast mode. Time shifted TV works on a nVOD model. Consumers can hook into a multicast
stream of a program that the operator schedules for transmission at specific intervals eg, every 15
minutes. Because nPVR works on a unicast model, it is more bandwidth consuming than time
shifted TV. On the other hand, it affords consumers greater flexibility, since they can request the
program at any time, without having to wait for scheduled on-demand streams as is the case with
time shifted TV.
This service lets viewers at home see reruns of missed TV programs on their PCs. The business
model for this type of service can be similar to that of publishing sites: micro-payments. Viewers
can make one-time credit card purchases for the specific program that they want to watch, or buy
packages of a few programs. Viewers can also have the option of having a monthly subscription.
Video Shopping Online
Another kind of web streaming application is streaming the shopping channel to viewers’ PCs.
WINDOWS MEDIA and MPEG-4 are both video formats that enable onscreen interactivity so that
viewers can click on the video to fulfill their purchase.
Video advertising online lets viewers purchase directly from the commercial. For example: movie
previews. Customers can click on the movie preview and buy tickets for that night’s show.
Many countries regulate the distribution of adult entertainment over TV networks. Streaming adult
entertainment to PCs can provide this service while complying with broadcasting regulations.
Streaming TV to the PC – Optibase White Paper
Video Streaming Formats
Windows Media from Microsoft
Microsoft Windows Media Technologies (WINDOWS MEDIA) is a set of tools and components
from Microsoft for the encoding, decoding and delivery of digital media. Microsoft’s streaming
format, ASF (Advanced Streaming Format), like the AVI file format, can carry audio and video
streams in many different formats, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.
Windows Media Services 9 Series is the server component of the Windows Media 9 Series
platform and works in conjunction with Windows Media Encoder and Windows Media Player to
deliver audio and video content to clients over the Internet or an intranet. These clients might be
other computers or devices that play back the content using a player, such as Windows Media
Player, or they might be other computers running Windows Media Services (called Windows
Media servers) that are proxying, caching, or redistributing content. Clients can also be custom
applications that have been developed by using the Windows Media Software Development Kit
Real Networks’ RealSystem® iQ™
RealSystemR iQT is an RTSP/RTP delivery system that supports many media types. In particular,
RealAudio and RealVideo are proprietary codecs and are not MPEG-4 compliant. Real Networks
does support MPEG-4 ISMA through integration with Envivio, which has integrated its plug-in
into the RealOne player. Through the integration, the RealOne player is ISMA Profile 0 and Profile
Apple’s QuickTime supports many audio and video codecs, among them mp3 and QDesign’s
Music Codec for audio, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and Sorenson’s codec for video.Though it does use
proprietary tools, Apple is a pioneer in the standardization of multimedia streaming. Apple’s
QuickTime was adopted by MPEG-4 as the basis for the MPEG-4 file format, and Apple is one of
the founders of ISMA (Internet Streaming Media Alliance). The recent codec from Sorenson,
Sorenson MPEG-4, is MPEG-4 compliant and works with Apple’s QuickTime.
The Benefits of IP for Streaming
The term IP refers to a transmission protocol – the Internet Protocol. The IP protocol is actually
part of TCP/IP, a group of Internet protocols, which enable communication over heterogeneous
networks. This means that when using the IP protocol different types of network can interface and
communicate with each other, regardless of the networking infrastructure. The IP protocol is used
for all Internet-based communication. Several factors have made TCP/IP very popular: it is well
documented, easy to implement, effective for transmission and versatile. In addition, because it was
developed with public funds, it is free of any licensing fees.
IP is a connectionless protocol. This means that data is not transmitted through a pre-defined
network path. Rather, data is divided into packets. A stream of data comprises many packets. Each
packet travels independently through the network to the same destination (IP address). At the
destination, the packets are re-assembled into the original stream. This type of communication is
very efficient, as each packet of data can find its way to the destination IP address in the fastest
way, bypassing areas of congestion. On the other hand, IP can be unreliable as there is no quality of
service mechanism that guarantees that all data does indeed reach its destination.
Streaming TV to the PC – Optibase White Paper
The IP protocol supports three main transmission modes: IP unicast, broadcast and multicast. When
using IP Unicast, each stream of data or video is sent separately to each recipient. In IP broadcast,
the stream is sent to all network nodes, regardless of whether they want to receive it or not. On the
other hand, when using IP Multicast, a single stream of data or video is sent to one group address.
All recipients can access the group IP address and receive the transmitted data. IP Multicast greatly
enhances transmission efficiency since it saves bandwidth considerably: Instead of transmitting
multiple copies of the same stream to multiple recipients, just one copy of the stream is sent to a
single group address which can be accessed by multiple recipients. IP Multicast is broadly
implemented in TV over IP entertainment solutions.
The following diagram shows the MGW 2400 streaming TV to both a PC (Windows Media
Player), and a TV via a set-top-box.
Empower your Network with Multi-channel Streaming
MGW 2400 encodes and streams up to six live Microsoft WMT
MGW 2400 is a multi-channel WMT compliant streams over broadband terrestrial and wireless networks
encoding and streaming server designed to such as ADSL, FTTx, satellite, cable, Ethernet LANs and the
enable the deployment of advanced Internet. It supports live WMT stream upload to Microsoft
Windows Media Server and IP multicast, unicast, UDP and HTTP
streaming media ser vices over the
protocols, ensuring efficient transmission over a wide range of
broadband Internet and corporate networks.
networks. MGW 2400 encodes up to six live channels concurrently
Service providers and IT specialists can at bitrates between 64 kbps to 2 Mbps. Such a flexible encoding
now offer bit-rate efficient WMT video range allows you to optimize video quality according to available
for live webcasting and corporate video bandwidth. MGW 2400’s IP traffic shaping was specifically
streaming. optimized to work with sensitive network devices.
At home, service providers can offer web Automatic control over
surfers the option to receive and view TV external Windows Media
streams or on-demand clips on PCs running Server
Windows Media Player. Setting up MGW 2400 offers a central management and control interface
a professional web streaming service is as for Windows Media Servers. This lets you transparently configure
easy as that. No special players. No special and control the Windows Media Server to upload multiple
multicast and unicast streams for each encoding channel directly
installations. Just start streaming and your
from the MGW 2400’s management application.
clients are ready to play your stream. WMT Server
In organizations and educational institutions,
MGW 2400 lets you easily implement live
multi-channel distance learning and business Satellite
TV applications that enrich your organization
without overloading your network.
TV Broadcast over IP to Home PCs
SNMP Management Features Video server upload for Web
MGW 2400’s SNMP remote management Multi-channel rack-mount video streaming streaming
enables the configuration, alarming, operation server
and monitoring of multiple streams from any Encodes, multiplexes and transmits up to 6
remote station. Additional management live Microsoft WMT compliant streams
modules enable HP OpenView ™ integration, Real-time uploading to Windows Media Distance learning
and advanced scheduling options. Server
Real-time multicast and unicast streaming Benefits
Reliable and Stable Multiple multicast targets per channel and
multiple on-demand live unicast per channel A wide range of bitrates (up to 2
Designed to meet the needs of mission critical
Saves encoded streams to file mbps) offers flexibility that can be
video networking and media streaming
SNMP management application achieved only with a hardware
applications, MGW 2400 operates 24 x 7 and
Half the end-to-end latency of software based encoding solution.
supports features that give it rock-solid stability
encoding Channel density allows you to
and reliability. MGW 2400 is a rack-mount,
On-the fly change of encoded video bitrate
standalone server. It has no moving parts and maximize return on investment by
runs on an embedded operating system. streaming multiple live channels
Encoding modules are swappable and can be
from a single chassis.
easily adapted to changing application needs.
A rack mount system running on an
embedded operating system with no
moving parts offers reliability and
SNMP management, including
monitoring and alarming, allows you
UD /IP U
to easily integrate the system into
your networking environment.
STB+TV MGW 2400 cuts video delay to almost
UDP Multicast half the delay of a software-based
HTTP Unicast WMT solution.