Virgin Media Deploys Harmonic Software for TV Everywhere Effort

Harmonic announced that Virgin Media, the United Kingdom’s leading provider of cable television, broadband, phone, and mobile services, has deployed Harmonic’s ProMedia family of integrated software solutions to power an innovative new multiscreen service called Virgin TV Anywhere. Harmonic’s real-time multiscreen video processing and encoding technology enables Virgin TV Anywhere customers to watch up to 45 live TV channels on a wide range of devices, including TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Leveraging Virgin Media’s powerful new infrastructure, customers can also manage recorded programs and control TiVo set-top boxes through a state-of-the-art Virgin TV Anywhere app.

Neil Drennan, director of TV engineering at Virgin Media said, “The world of digital entertainment is moving fast and consumers are always looking for compelling ways to take advantage of the connectivity built into today’s gadgets. Harmonic’s ProMedia software solution optimizes our multiscreen operational workflow, helping us put fantastic entertainment at our customers’ fingertips.”

ProMedia Live transcodes MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC H.264 content to multiple high-quality adaptive bit-rate streams optimized for the Virgin TV Anywhere service. By effectively handling metadata information — such as language, captions, and ad insertion signaling — upon input and output, the ProMedia family provides a complete video preparation solution. ProMedia Live is also integrated with Harmonic’s ProMedia Package to perform sophisticated encapsulation and encryption processes from a unified management system. By relying on a powerful integrated headend for its multiscreen services, Virgin Media is now able to support AppleHLS and Adobe HDS streaming to a broad range of customer devices.

Harmonic’s NMX Digital Service Manager controls both ProMedia Live and ProMedia Package systems, enabling Virgin Media to seamlessly monitor and control its multiscreen video and audio services. Through a comprehensive user interface, Virgin Media is easily able to create and modify network topology and channel lineups, in addition to setting encoding parameters. The system’s highly scalable and extensible architecture will enable Virgin Media to easily support hundreds of live television channels as well as introduce additional services like start-over and catch-up TV.

“Harmonic has been Virgin Media’s go-to technology partner for a variety of high-profile television events and services over the years. With this latest installation, we’re excited to bring cutting-edge multiscreen services to subscribers in the U.K.,” said Ian Graham, vice president of sales, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Harmonic. “Based on its integration, flexibility, and scalability, Harmonic’s award-winning ProMedia Suite is the industry’s trusted solution for high-quality multiscreen production and delivery.”

Virgin Media’s operations center also features existing Harmonic infrastructure solutions that seamlessly work alongside the new ProMedia Suite and NMX systems, including Electra 8000 encoders, ProStream 1000 multiplexers, and NSG 9000 edgeQAMs for increased efficiency, reliability, and scalability.