Ericsson Aims To Make Multiscreen Easy

From one hall to the next at the recent IBC2011, there was a fairly consistent theme: helping broadcasters get content out to multiple screens more easily, without multiplying workflows.

It doesn’t take much for the math to add up. A cable operator, for example, looking to deliver 500 channels to 10 types of devices and at five data speeds could find itself encoding 25,000 channels.

That is one reason that companies like Ericsson were offering products like the SPR1200 multiscreen stream processor. The hardware-based processor, working in combination with the Ericsson NPR1200 multiscreen network software-based adaptive streaming-segmentation and -encryption processor, can support an array of architectures and formats.

“Our value is to enable our customers to scale their services to be multiscreen,” says Matthew Goldman, head of compression technology for Solution Area TV at Ericsson. “The SPR1200 allows for 10-15 times the transcoding density of our competitors, and it has less of a footprint than current deployed systems.”

The biggest market shift, he says, is that serving content to the multiscreen environment of phones, tablets, and computers is no longer simply an “add-on” service. As the younger generation of sports fans comes of age, the TV set in the living room — long the communal screen — is not enough to satisfy their sports appetite.

“Kids don’t think the way that we older folk do,” Goldman points out. “They want place-shifting and time-shifting, and they don’t understand when they can’t have it for all content that is available on the traditional TV, instantaneously.”

As that demand for more flexibility in content consumption grows, so does the requirement to use technologies like adaptive-bitrate streaming that can ensure that a consumer can get content regardless of connection speed.

“And the value of a service provider is going to be as a content aggregator,” says Goldman. “Is the consumer really going to want to have a personal relationship with, say, up to 300 content suppliers? The aggregators have to build a seamless experience across all screen types.”

Helping the SPR1200 create that seamless experience is the NPR1200 software-based processor.

Adds Goldman, “It handles the fragmentations, digital-rights management, and is software programmable.”