Super User

Super User

 

Website URL: http://www.obe.tv/

Warning: like Part One of this series, these posts are very technical!

After converting the old MMX simple IDCT of FFmpeg from inline assembly to external (as described in Part One) I was to look at making the IDCT faster. A naive approach is to convert from directly using the mm registers to using xmm registers. This can usually be done with minimal changes just paying attention to packs, unpacks, and moves. This can make things faster on Skylake and related microarches from Intel. A discussion of why is beyond the scope of this post. The point is that you can measure that functions are faster if they use xmm registers.

A lot of what we do with our C-100 and C-200 decoders involves decoding MPEG-2 video which is still prevalent in spite of being over 25 years old. We're often also using professional profiles like 4:2:2 which hardware decoders on CPUs and GPUs can't cope with. Looking at the decode process in perf shows a slow IDCT written in MMX (yes, really!), so we sent one of engineers, James to make it faster and modernise the code. Here’s how he did it in his own words (be warned, it is about to get very technical!):

London, 8th June 2017 – Open Broadcast Systems, an advanced broadcast technology visionary, has won the Rising Star Award at the TVB Awards 2017. The awards were held at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel, London on the 7th June.

The Rising Star accolade is awarded to any organisation or individual making a tangible difference within the industry and displaying standout values worthy of recognition. Recipients of the award must embody at least one of the following descriptions: A game-changer, disruptive force for good, problem solver, a bright young thing or an excellent idea/welcome addition to the broadcast fold. 

Open Broadcast Systems’ encoders and decoders have enabled the successful contribution and production of a number of broadcasters over IP. Recent projects include the delivery of live television broadcasts over the public internet for BBC Scotland and also other broadcasters. All products from Open Broadcast Systems run on standard ‘off-the-shelf’ IT hardware, something which is almost unheard of within the broadcast industry, yet drastically reduces costs and time-to-market, without reducing quality.

“It’s a huge honour to have been presented with the Rising Star award and acknowledged as a disruptive force within the industry, enabling our customers to deliver broadcast quality using IT, commented Kieran Kunhya, Founder and Managing Director, Open Broadcast Systems. “The biggest barrier for our kind of solutions is the industry mindset and we look forward to continuing to change that.”

London, 2017 – Open Broadcast Systems today announced that its solutions have delivered more than fifty horse races over IP.

Globecast works with a major horse racing operator to directly transmit race feeds to Globecast’s MCR in Paris, after which it is then distributed to consumers.

Due to an increase in demand from racecourses situated outside of France, Globecast worked to identify a solution which did not involve the need to manually install dedicated broadcast infrastructure.

Open Broadcast Systems’ French Partner Ekla Ingenierie was chosen by Globecast to provide over the internet solutions to transmit and distribute race feeds from numerous locations, both cost-effectively and swiftly. A real-time web monitoring platform was also by developed Ekla Ingenierie for advanced IP network MPEG TS monitoring.

“Since November of last year, three racecourses in Spain, the Netherlands and Austria have transmitted more than fifty races over IP completely error free, solidifying our belief that IP was the perfect solution to our problem”, commented Patrick Lorent, Ad hoc project manager, Globecast. “

Open Broadcast Systems’ French Partner Ekla Ingenierie’s cost-effective solutions are enabling Globecast to continue to grow and provide good quality feeds to its customers through new contribution broadcast technology

“These races attract over 3.3 million television viewers every month, so we’re thrilled to be proving that IP is a workable solution even for premium broadcasts”, explained Kieran Kunhya, Founder, Open Broadcast Systems.  

 

About Open Broadcast Systems
Open Broadcast Systems is revolutionising the provision of advanced broadcast technology, moving the industry towards a flexible, cost efficient, software-driven future. Its cutting-edge and end-to-end encoding and decoding software is accelerating the delivery of premium content over IP, improving quality at the same time as reducing costs. High quality solutions developed by Open Broadcast Systems deliver services to millions of people every day, including many major sporting and breaking news events.

Its products adapt to the pressures and challenges of the modern broadcast environment, agile solutions can be developed and installed in extremely short timeframes, without compromising on quality.

For more information, please visit http://www.obe.tv 

Media Contact:
Helen Weedon
Radical Moves PR
Tel: +44 1570 434632
Mob: +44 7733 231922
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Globecast

Part of the Orange Group, Globecast provides agile and seamless content acquisition, management and distribution services globally. The company constantly innovates in an evolving IP-centric environment to provide reliable and secure customer solutions.  Globecast has created the number one global hybrid fiber and satellite network for video contribution and distribution. This network enables multiplatform delivery including TV Everywhere OTT, Satellite, cable, Video on demand, CDN delivery as well as cloud-enabled media services. The company remains the trusted partner for coverage and international delivery of news, sports, and special events around the globe. Customers enjoy a seamless global experience on the ground from 12 interconnected Globecast owned facilities, including Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Paris, Rome, and Johannesburg. www.globecast.com 

Globecast Press contact:

Bazeli Mbo
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +33 1 5595 2604
http://globecast.com 

 

The advent of low-cost, long-range wireless links such as those from Ubiquiti Networks have revolutionalised internet connectivity for many, especially in remote areas. This case study will look at a 37 kilometre (23 mile) high data rate wireless link using the OBE C-100 Encoder and Decoder platform to deliver broadcast quality bidirectional video over IP.

Week’s 7 and 8 have been merged (again) owing to various trips abroad. One highlight was being able to visit the Mobile TV Group UHD/HDR truck. This truck was doing Basketball for FOX Sports and we learnt how they are working on testing HDR for various broadcasters. We also show how UHD streams were managed and the challenges with cable overload and managing 2SI (sample interleave) vs quadrants.

 

In Week 8 we started testing SMPTE 2022-6 with our colleagues @skynewstech:

 

We’re learning a lot about how to deploy software 2022-6 streams ourselves in a multivendor environment. More on this at our NAB BEITC speech "Don’t Just Go IP, Go IT".

London and Trezzano, Italy, 28 February 2017 – Open Broadcast Systems today announced it has appointed Video Signal to distribute its software-based encoding and decoding solutions across Italy.

Founded in 1994, Video Signal is a specialist distributor and integrator for production and video post-production technology. It is able to offer customisation to its customers across the region, delivering a bespoke system depending on unique requirements. It has managed large audio and video system deployments and multiple analogue to digital transitions.

Video Signal will manage deployments of Open Broadcast Systems’ advanced broadcast software, which enables reliable and uncompressed contribution over IP. The products, running as apps on standard IT hardware enable broadcasters and services providers to easily transition to IP. It also enables simple monitoring of all types of IP feed in one place,

“Our customers are increasingly looking to make the most of IP technology and the cost and resource efficiencies that brings,” commented Alessandro Trezzi, Founder, Video Signal. “Open Broadcast Systems’ technology enables video content providers to do more and quicker, thanks to those savings.”

“We are pleased to be working with Video Signal. It has unrivalled expertise and knowledge in the Italian market, meaning we can trust our solutions in the team’s capable hands,” added Kieran Kunhya, Founder, Open Broadcast Systems.

 

About Open Broadcast Systems

Open Broadcast Systems is revolutionising the provision of advanced broadcast technology, moving the industry towards a flexible, cost efficient, software-driven future. Its cutting-edge and end-to-end encoding and decoding software is accelerating the delivery of premium content over IP, improving quality at the same time as reducing costs. High quality solutions developed by Open Broadcast Systems deliver services to millions of people every day, including many major sporting and breaking news events.

Its products adapt to the pressures and challenges of the modern broadcast environment, agile solutions can be developed and installed in extremely short timeframes, without compromising on quality.

For more information, please visit http://www.obe.tv

 

Media Contact:

Helen Weedon

Radical Moves PR

Tel: +44 1570 434632

Mob: +44 7733 231922

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At Open Broadcast Systems, we have a lot of repetitive business processes that essentially involve the same simple tasks every day or every week. We like to follow the famous Japanese continuous improvement process of Kaizen, made famous by Toyota, where every employee from the factory floor worker to the CEO can suggest and enact improvements to their work to improve efficiency. But in the era of automation, we want to do more - we want to improve processes by several orders of magnitude and then have them done automatically. This lets us run with a much lower administrative headcount compared to similar companies, as well as move more quickly.

One of the hardest processes to improve was our ordering processes for Blackmagic cards. Owing to recent GBP currency fluctuations, our supply chain has had regular price changes, most of which we automatically calculate from USD or EUR and pull into spreadsheets.

However, all Blackmagic equipment from the UK distributor is priced using a master PDF price list pictured below:

It is, of course, easy for humans to read this datasheet but for a machine, it has a confusing mix of pictures, description, and a large number of subcategories of device. Note how there could be a single heading to list the subcategories or just a single device type. None of this is easy for a computer to understand.

Initially we tried basic PDF extraction tools like pdfextract but they struggled with the complex table structure. But then we found Tabula, software used by journalists to parse released documents. It was able to understand the document structure very well as we can see:

From there it was some very simple python scripting to extract prices and loading all this data into our supply chain spreadsheets. We can now run this as a batch job every day and have nicely updated prices.

We want to do this for as many business processes, from the simple to the complicated. However, we lack a lot of things to really make the most of automation:

  • • Banking APIs, we want to automate these processes. There’s lots of innovation in the consumer space here, but in the business world, we are still stuck with generating CSV files and all the problems that entail, and then manually uploading these
  • • Automated Language Processing in emails. The success of Google Inbox shows that it is possible to intelligently sort and suggest responses to emails. In our case, we get a lot of emails saying “Can I have a quote for X”. We’d like software that would understand this and create a quote (and send to a human to confirm). This is obviously a nontrivial problem (perhaps IBM Watson could solve it).

Most of this week involved visiting FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source European Developers Meeting, where we were organising the Open Media track in conjunction with colleagues from the EBU and OpenHeadend.

We had an all-hands company meeting in Brussels on the Friday hosted at the lovely Radisson Red Brussels complete with crocodile meat for lunch nearby. Interestingly, the hotel was solar powered from a Tesla PowerPack.

 

During the week, we spent a long time chasing and bisecting a Blackmagic playback bug on very long-running streams that occurred between two driver versions. We also started the number crunching to produce various reports. 

FOSDEM itself had many interesting speakers, but for us the highlight was Gerolf Ziegenhain from the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH. This was an incredible insight into how DFS manages Linux and other software that is safety-of-life critical. You would (understandably) think this is a very bureaucratic process but the speaker was able to eloquently explain the mix between the business requirements and the heavy technical knowledge DFS has. For example, they desolder and replace diodes on NVIDIA Graphics cards to improve reliability. Yet at the same time, it takes years of testing to roll out a new software release.

The broadcast industry has a lot to learn from this, many still think that IT hardware can’t be used for mission-critical purposes, yet as I fly to my weekend break in Berlin, it is IT equipment keeping me safe in the skies:

 

So, that didn’t last long...we’ve merged weeks three and four owing to various trips abroad.

We were pleased to attend the European Broadcasting Union Production Technology Seminar (EBU PTS) to hear about how broadcasters are looking forward to Ultra-HD and High Dynamic Range productions in the future, something we are also working on with a number of clients. Day Two culminated in the unique opportunity to watch Planet Earth II in UHD, WCG and HDR using a state of the art projector:

Day three was also very interesting since it was about IP production. We had a standards update about SMPTE 2110 from Wim Vermost. His key point was it must be implementable in software, unlike the current proposals which are heavily skewed to hardware implementations.

In a later session, we also heard from Sky UK about its plans to move its News and Sport MCRs to IP, in what appears to be the first public outing of this project. This ambitious project is something we have been working on with Sky for a while and our encoders/decoders form a significant proportion of the IP connected devices on the network.

The presenter described a workflow we are closely involved in, a reporter speaks at Downing Street, that feed is encoded and transported over IP, it’s then decoded to SMPTE 2022-6 uncompressed IP at the studio and routed as pure-IP.  Furthermore, this is a workflow that is entirely based on standard IT hardware, something industry “commentators” claim to be many years away.

In an unrelated development Sky also announced that it was planning to deliver its channels over IP, a major move for a nearly 30-year old satellite platform. We’ve been working with IPTV pioneers such as Free in France for many years delivering major channels to millions over IP. The technical decisions that Sky take remain to be seen, whether they take a traditional managed IPTV approach or an OTT approach and how this affects the viewer’s experience. Interestingly, the move to IP means that a number of our team can become Sky subscribers for the first time since they aren’t able to have satellite dishes at home.

 

Things we’ve been reading/watching:

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