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Thread: Encoder/decoder suggestion for video over IP delivery?

  1. #1
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    Question Encoder/decoder suggestion for video over IP delivery?

    Hello, wish you a Very Merry Christmas


    My team used TCX455 so far only for web streaming but in new year we are expecting first projects that demands signal delivery to TV. Once when it comes to feed delivery over IP which encoder and decoder you will suggest? Based on your experience and based on price:quality ratio?

    Something that narrow selection: SDI, HD, H264 are 'must have' features. Moreover, I've heard about a 'reference' request, I guess it means reference frames feature? Is this available in all new devices?

    I made first look at Makito here http://www.haivision.com/products/makito but there are few models as Makito, Makito X, Air, Barracuda, KulaByte... Even I'm not sure does a system require one encoder and one decoder or two same devices 'Makito F-290-1', one on each end? Simple at the moment it's a little confusing for a newbie. :-)

    There is Tandberg also, and probably few more good choices but I have no idea about pricing and how devices acts in real projects. So I'll be grateful for every piece of the knowledge you'll share.
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    anyone? :-)
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    none :-)
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  4. #4
    NewTek System Integrator PIZAZZ's Avatar
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    Haivision Makito encoder/decoder solutions are what we have used.
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    Teradek Cubes with MPEG TS license should serve you very well! 6000USD for a bundle.

    Keep in mind: to get good results you need to be able to deliver a bitrate of 2mbps (megabits per second) for SD, and 4mbps for HD in H264. This also means your connection between your encoder and the decoder at the TV-station must be good and able to sustain this during your broadcast. Dedicated encoders will drop severely (big blocks, connection lost, ...) when they cannot pump their set bitrate continously over your connection. So you will have to look for dedicated leased IP-lines because the public internet rarely will be able to give you such sustained (!!) speeds. In some cases the public internet might work, but you have no control over that. Leased lines are supposed to give you a guarantee (SLA, Service Level Agreement) so you know the provider guarantees you he (should) deliver this bandwidth.

    Other 'trick': solutions a la LiveU. These are 3G/4G bonding backpacks. But you can use them solely over a pure LAN-connection (no 3G/4G used at all). Why use them instead of a 'dedicated' encoder like Teradek or Makito? Because their encoder parts are designed to adapt to fluctuating bandwidth. Even when bandwidth drops all of the sudden from for example 4mbps to 2mbps, it still keeps going. These LiveU-type encoders will keep going (you might loose resolution or some frames, but when the bandwidth is restored, you will again have full quality). They are designed to keep going as good as possible, no matter what the bandwidth conditions are.

    Using this saves you the cost of a dedicated line (which can be considerable). If you know the internet connection at your broadcast location is good (UPLOAD speed is the factor here!), and the same goes for the TV-station that will receive your feed (download speed over there), then I would risk it. I've done this for election shows: make sure no one else uses the cable modem at that location, connect the backpack to it, and 7 hours of drop free and very cheap video over IP.

    LiveU has a rental department, so I would also check these out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandw View Post
    Other 'trick': solutions a la LiveU. These are 3G/4G bonding backpacks. But you can use them solely over a pure LAN-connection (no 3G/4G used at all). Why use them instead of a 'dedicated' encoder like Teradek or Makito? Because their encoder parts are designed to adapt to fluctuating bandwidth. Even when bandwidth drops all of the sudden from for example 4mbps to 2mbps, it still keeps going. These LiveU-type encoders will keep going (you might loose resolution or some frames, but when the bandwidth is restored, you will again have full quality). They are designed to keep going as good as possible, no matter what the bandwidth conditions are.
    Those backpacks are awful. Our newsroom tries to use them all the time, and just about every time they do it fails, has massive delay or just looks like garbage. Google the news fail when someone tried to use that for a pool feed for the Aurora shooter… same things happens to us all the time. We had a breaking news cut in the other day which basically (due to massive delay) was just the reporter fixing her hair for 30 seconds until they dumped out. Everybody is buying them, but they don't seem to work very well.

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    There are a lot of fun tools out there for IP point to point delivery. If you need to deliver to a TV station, it would be best to start the conversation with their engineers.

    We own a few of the teradek cubes with bond. The firmware is on an aggressive update cycle with new features coming out monthly.

    We do a lot of events in ballrooms. A pain point is always the unknown quality of the hotel provided Internet. One workflow that we are testing out is to send the output of the tricaster through a teradek cube/bond with multiple Internet connections. This includes wired and 4g cards. In the latest firmware it is possible to designate the connections as Primary or backup. Thus, if the hotel network starts dropping packets, the bond will transition over to the backup connections. It is also capable of lowering the streaming quality when network conditions demand it.

    We actually walked around CES last week to test the functionality of bonding with only 4g cards. Here is the raw streamed file. It isn't a perfect experience. We haven't figured out if we want to do a 4g bonded live remote on behalf of a client. Most of us are not in the business of selling something that might work.

    Another fantastic workflow with a tricaster and teradek cubes is to send a video/audio feed over the wired network of a building. We setup a tricaster in the keynote space and then one in the expo hall. Both were switching shows and streaming to the Internet. We were able to send 720p output of the keynote tricaster to the expo hall floor over the convention center cat5 wired network. Thus the expo hall tricaster could cut to the keynote space anytime they wanted.
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    hm, seems there are two discussion here, I'm not sure have I explained idea completely. Indeed, it is about video delivering between stadium in one city to TV house in another city, over network (IP). I know some guys even here in my village-like-country are trying to do that, so I start to think which equipment and network prerequisites are enough to accomplish video over IP delivery.

    In first I was asking just about minimum-expensive encoder+decoder pair that would be able to do this. And as pdxJoe told, we have to exclude any "solutions that might work", event it is maybe a little less expensive.

    And another aspect - Internet infrastructure - Jandw mentioned leased Internet lines, I've heard about VPN Setup, but I have no experience what are the preconditions. Will o.e. 5/5 Mbps dedicated line both on production and TV side be enough? Or is there something more that should be done in order to improve chances signal not drop in any moment during broadcast.

    PS - is 4Mbps line really enough for HD? With which encoders?
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    Kris: I specifically said 'backpacks over LAN'. Over 3/4G can indeed Be tricky. But over LAN these backpacks are very good encoders. Beause they know to compensate. And so they can Be used over public internet.

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    stijef, what is the broadband connectivity like in Croatia? Traveling internationally, I know the expectations of price, availability, and speed are very skewed if taken from an American perspective.

    I ask because the calculus we make here on what is a viable solution economically may be completely different over there. Perhaps you have more competitors driving down broadband price or state subsidized broadband, which would allow for affordable broadband Internet connections to be purchased....
    Last edited by csandy; 01-18-2013 at 02:34 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxJoe View Post
    A pain point is always the unknown quality of the hotel provided Internet.
    One issue with the cube is that many hotels (most) use third party Internet providers that require a password be entered into a web browser - then lock to the MAC address of the computer on which the browser is loaded.

    So you authenticate with your laptop then find that your Cube's MAC address is rejected by the hotel Internet connection and you are SOL....
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    The cube is definitely a solution to look into for IP video delivery. It's a very flexible solution, since you can encode in a cube and decode in a cube decoder, or in a VLC/ffmpeg if you need more flexibility. Like pdxJoe said, once you have a cube you start finding new uses for it. Wireless interview camera, remote participation, IP video delivery.. there's tons of uses as long as you have a good quality network (QoS recommended) at your disposal.

    For HD delivery, the CUBE allows up to 10Mbps, which can give you near blu-ray quality. 5Mbps is barely enough for "broadcastable live" 720p, but for fast paced changing video (difficult compression) compression artifacts will become noticeable. We usually do a very high quality streaming at 2.5Mbps 720p, for long takes it looks amazing, but when takes change rapidly the feed pixelates very fast.

    Mobile broadband is very unreliable. I've used it with success in several occasions, but mainly in remote locations (no other people competing for bandwidth) and for low def encoding (up to 1Mbps). I'd only use it as a "plan C" and then for non critical broadcasts. You should ask a local internet provider for a guaranteed IP stream of 10Mbps from the TV station to the remote location. If you have a direct line of sight from the production unit to the TV station, maybe a PTP link from http://www.ubnt.com/airmax will suit you. It's incredibly reliable for such a low cost solution.

  13. #13
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    Great stuff there Nacho

    I love my Ubiquity wireless gear. So glad I stumbled on them.
    Jef Kethley
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    Take a look at Qvidium (budget) or Harmonic (high-end).

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    The Harmonic units are very menu intensive compared to other products, ie. Tandberg. They are less expensive than a Tandberg. Tandberg encoders have been one of the "A" line products used in remote broadcasting, either in the production truck, and the uplink for a number of years.

    That being said, the company that I work for has recently adopted the Harmonic series of product as a new plant standard, the decision was largely based on cost savings... They certainly get the job done, but the engineers still like to complain...

    I made a reply post a couple of weeks ago, mentioning another product but that post seems to have been removed. (maybe I crossed a line in posting, so pm if you like and I'll send you the link to the product).

    We have also field tested LiveU and Dejerro systems. I agree with Kris, in that delay time due to buffering (in our experience upwards of 30 to 40 secs.) makes them impractical for use in a production scenario when they are to be inter cut with other cabled cameras (SDI, or fibre). Typical of live broadcast production. Where they would work would be for a live stream feed to a web page, or to a site if it was the only live content, and not to be integrated with other real time video feeds. imho. Of course our recommendations and sage advice from a technical operations perspective still did not sway the news dept. from wanting to try them live... (sometimes you just have to let people hit their head for themselves to understand that it does hurt).

    Personally, I would not want to tie up a Tricaster unit to do the playout or delivery on a program... I know it would be depend on the length of program material to be fed and the frequency of such... one time, once a week, once a day ??? I would rather have the Tricaster available for production, either studio or field, travel, set-up , rehearsal, editing... leave the program delivery to another method or device and keep the Tricaster available for production assignments.

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