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Bluewin TV based on IPTV technology

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Bluewin TV based on IPTV technology

  1. 1. Bluewin TV based on IPTV technology Mike Zumsteg Bluewin TV Project Manager
  2. 2. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Contents Components for an IPTV system Underlying technology, service applications view Triple-play services over IP Simply in touch – also at home Innovations featured in the new Bluewin TV service 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg 2 Contents The aim of my presentation is to explain the technology behind Bluewin TV. These are the various aspects I will be covering: First I will talk about the components that enable reception of a normal television programme on a conventional television set via an IP data network. I will then explain the individual application dimensions required to deliver the comprehensive Bluewin TV service. Because there's more to Bluewin TV than just television. Bluewin TV is available throughout Switzerland. Television coverage is currently 75%. Patrice Haldemann's Network Workshop will be discussing the IP network in more detail, so I will restrict my comments here to the distribution of the TV signal within the Swiss national IP network. One important aspect to maximise the Bluewin TV experience is correct home connectivity. Finally, I will say a few words about two innovations we have implemented to round off the TV experience.
  3. 3. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Components u-cast D-Server IP CoreNet MPEG2 SDI VC-1 xDSL Reception Encoder A-Server DSLAM m-cast Based on Microsoft's IPTVe software on HP server Tandberg hardware encoder for preparation of the live TV signals Swisscom IP core network and xDSL for transport 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg Linksys set-top box 3 Components We operate an IP based xDSL network. In order to transport a normal TV channel such as SF1 or Teleclub Cinema over the network, we first need to convert the television signal into a form suitable for transportation. The TV signals are received and collected in the headend station. Foreign channels are received over satellite. Teleclub programmes, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation channels and Swiss regional channels are received over terrestrial links. The receiver and encoder convert the television signals (images), the audio channels (sound) and Teletext information and bundle this signal information into IP packets. To encode the video signals we use the VC-1 encoding algorithm, which is very similar to the MPEG-4 algorithm. Put simply, the IP packets are handed over to the Microsoft TV application software. The A servers contain the entire IP transport stream along with the supplementary information required per TV channel, for instance whether or not the channel appears in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), or whether the channel requires data encryption compliant with Digital Rights Management. The entire IP signal is then broadcast throughout Switzerland as a multicast IP signal. "Multicast" means that individual signals are replicated in the network only at the different distribution points. This avoids the need to deliver signals from the feedpoint to each individual customer, making transmission more efficient.
  4. 4. This is where the distribution server comes in. It performs two important functions: 1. It allows end customers to change programmes quickly: As soon as a viewer zaps on the remote control, the distribution sender rapidly transmits a large number of IP packets - a so-called "burst". The viewer doesn't have to wait long until the entire picture is built up. 2. Because not every single packet sent within the IP network is guaranteed to reach the customer's home, the set-top box, which receives the TV signal, recognises a potential video packet loss and proactively asks the distribution server again for the missing packets, to ensure correct presentation of the images. The IP signals are delivered via the xDSL router to the set-top box, which converts the video and audio signals in a form that can be "understood" by the TV set. To ensure that the Bluewin set-top box is ready for future requirements, the TV set can be connected not only via the customary SCART socket but also over an HDMI socket: the new format for HDTV sets.
  5. 5. Underlying technology, service applications view Customer Centre STB mobileEPG webEPG Content consumption Set-top box Knowing what's on when and not missing anything EPG WebEPG mobileEPG Configuration support via the PC Customer Centre Underlying technology, service applications view I'd now like to turn to the four service components ; • Live TV • Video-on-Demand • Radio • Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). These four components entail two different phases: acquisition and delivery. Acquisition is the function that covers the collection of content and its preparation as IP packets. Delivery is the function used to distribute content. The acquisition phase of the video-on-demand service defines the film, trailer, price and release date of each film, and adds the copyright protection. On delivery, the Bluewin Video Store sorts every film according to language and genre. The same is done with every radio signal at the application level: content is first collected, then distributed in the correct format. All individual programme content is collected in the EPG acquisition phase and prepared in a form suitable for displaying on-screen. EPG delivery distributes the electronic programme guide at timed intervals
  6. 6. Since the electronic programme guide is updated twice a day, it is more up-to-date than a conventional TV guide. Because we are moving around in a Web-type environment, viewers can access a wide range of information on any particular content as and when they need to. Content consumption For actual consumption of content, the system uses the software client which runs on the set-top box. In addition to this software, an important piece of hardware is required. The system chip built into the set-top box is the heart of the system and the most powerful element. It is capable of reconverting up to four video signals and performing the entire recording function if required by the customer. Knowing what's on when and not missing out on anything To ensure round-the-clock availability of the EPG electronic programme guide, the EPG delivery function can be used not only on the television but also on a mobile device or PC. This has been made possible because for IP we have used a bidirectional data exchange channel throughout. Thanks to this channel our customers can access the "online-on-time recording" function. Configuration support from the PC This application simplifies operation of the TV service for the viewer. For instance, a customer can enter his list of preferred TV channels over the PC. Business support One example of this application is the way in which a customer's TV service order is processed. The existing systems have been further developed to produce significant enhancements. For instance, we needed to ensure the provision of regional programmes based on the customer's location. Since this application also uses bidirectional IP data channels, the customer can use these systems to order the Canal+ package directly over the television, and immediately start using it. Operational building blocks This covers all the applications required to ensure stable operation. Typical functions include the monitoring of all components as well as various firewalls to protect the service against unauthorised access.
  7. 7. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Underlying technology for techies 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg 7 Underlying technology for techies This slide shows the architecture from an actual implementation standpoint. In concrete terms, this involves… Installation of well over two hundred servers for the operational system Setting up a substantial number of customer and monitoring databases The IP links required for the acquisition of live TV, video-on-demand, radio and electronic programme guide content are in place and content delivery to the end customer is ensured by means of several Gigabit access lines to our IP core network. Applikation = Application Offene Zone = Open zone IP Core Netz -= IP core network
  8. 8. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Triple-play services over IP 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg 8 Triple-play services over IP Our IP network has been designed to handle all IP-based services. In other words, it is ready for Triple Play. There are a few main aspects I would like to discuss in this context: To guarantee uninterrupted use of IP services for our customers, each service imposes different quality requirements on the IP network. The most important criterion for a full TV picture is the packet loss ratio. Voice over Broadband (VOBB) services, for example, are highly sensitive to any variation in packet speed. In addition, packet prioritisation must be supported throughout the network. The order of priority is: 1. VoBB packets, 2. TV packets, and 3. Internet services. Another key aspect is the broadband access line itself. Bandwidth is separately prioritised and reserved for VoBB and the TV service. In other words, the built-in system intelligence always guarantees sufficient Internet bandwidth: wide bandwidth when customers are watching TV, and narrow bandwidth when they are merely accessing the Internet. Corenetz = Core network
  9. 9. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Simply in touch – also at home 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg 9 Simply in touch – also at home No matter how much care is taken transporting IP packets through the IP core network, IP service quality can be spoiled over the last few meters by an incorrect home installation. This is why we decided also to ensure that the home installation is implemented correctly. Installation of Bluewin TV by a specialist in the customer's own home is therefore a standard component of the package. Over the past few weeks our installation partners have been specially trained to ensure professional installation at our customers' homes. Here is an example of an in-house installation: A splitter is essential for higher bandwidths in general and VDSL in particular, so we have put together a comprehensive installation kit. The DSL router must be connected to the TV using an Ethernet cable or plastic optical fibre. At present we do not advise using Powerline and WLAN. It works, but in view of future multimedia developments such as HDTV, "clean cabling" is the best way forward. Needless to say, all other IP equipment such as PCs or Internet radio can be connected over WLAN or Powerline.
  10. 10. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology Pay per event How does this work for customers? No event 1 hour before Event After the event Rental 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg 10 Pay per event - What's actually behind it? For each evening of sport, our partners from Cinetrade define which matches will be covered live for our Bluewin TV customers. Various sports events are offered simultaneously on 11 different feeds. The games are recorded as normal linear programmes and played live on the platform. However, the EPG metadata are prepared in a form that allows customers to rent and watch each game for a defined time. The procedure is similar to renting a film from the Video Store. Thanks to our real-time business support systems, customers can select the channel directly after activating the rental. When the event is finished, the channel automatically closes down in the same way as it would for a rented film. Customers who want to watch live coverage of a number of games on the same evening also have the option of paying for two Champions League games and three ice hockey games, and can zap back and forward between five games. In short: Pay per Event is not only an attractive service but is also extremely easy to use thanks to its elegant implementation. Personally, I am convinced that customers will soon regard this service as indispensable.
  11. 11. Bluewin TV Media Conference: IPTV Technology EPG: Three options Features Simple navigation within EPG directly on the TV screen V1 STB Direct programming of video recorder at the touch of a button Clear overview of several channels EPG: V2 Web Comprehensive search options Video recorder programming 31.10.2006, Mike Zumsteg Simple search in EPG with various options V3 Mobile Video recorder programming Real-time synchronization of video recorder programming. Example: Programming via Web is also immediately visible in the EPG on the STB and vice versa. 11 EPG: Three options How do we make sure the customer knows what's on when, so that nothing is missed? It is not enough merely to implement an EPG on the TV. The key benefits of the entire application architecture I have just described are embodied in the Electronic Programme Guide and online recording function. They take full advantage of the various access options, because…. … we have not restricted the EPG delivery functions solely to the TV set. … in developing the service, we drew on our strengths and the leveraged the benefits of a comprehensive IP network. •EPG mobile: I can check the TV schedule wherever I am, at any time. If I'm going to be late, I can make up the time by remote programming. •EPG on the portal: Flexible, user-friendly navigation of content via a PC nterface makes searching even easier. •EPG on the TV: A list of everything I have already recorded makes it easier to keep an overview of content. In short: The EPG is a cross-platform application that is simple to operate but highly effective.
  12. 12. In conclusion These cross-platform applications show just how innovative Bluewin TV is. At the same time you can see that, even as we developed this product, we were thinking ahead and are prepared for technologies of the future. Many thanks for your attention!

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