TV 2 DANMARK (TV 2) has expanded its consumer products to support live and on-demand content consumption across a range of Smart TVs and other connected TV devices – used to stream video over the internet – via services like TV 2 PLAY. The streaming platform grew from 400,000 to more than 900,000 subscribers in just two years and is expected to reach 1.3 million subscribers by 2025.
From Provider to Innovator
Recognising the importance of scalability and reliability in accommodating this growth, the TV 2 teams transitioned from on-premises to cloud infrastructure with the help of Amazon Web Services (AWS). This new foundation has helped TV 2 refocus its operations from entertainment provider to a more proactive, innovative distributor.
TV 2 uses a number of AWS cloud services for its live-to-VOD workflow. AWS Elemental Live video encoding creates a clean feed of broadcast content from an SDI source with SCTE 104 markers indicating program start and end timecodes. Elemental Live populates the HLS manifest with SCTE-35 markers it decodes from the SCTE 104 markers,
SCTE-35 markers indicate where downstream systems can insert ads, local programs and other content and may be included in transport stream, DASH, HLS and CMAF outputs. So, while SCTE-104 messages serve as requests from an operator or automation system to create splice markers in a video stream, SCTE-35 messages fulfil these requests by supplying all data that a server-side ad splicer, set-top box or video switcher might need downstream when it receives the live compressed stream.
The complete feed is then written as HLS, an HTTP-based adaptive bitrate streaming protocol, to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). An AWS Lambda function parses the manifest and transfers segments between program start and end markers to another Amazon S3 bucket. Using Lambda means TV 2 can run code without provisioning infrastructure – code is uploaded as a .zip file or container image – and automatically respond to quantities of code execution requests at any scale.
Optimising Time and Performance
It’s also possible to optimise code execution time and performance with the right function memory size. Programs are then transcoded via AWS Elemental MediaConvert to deliver frame-accurate live-to-VOD assets. MediaConvert produces video output with broadcast-grade video and audio features suitable for broadcast. Users can submit jobs with their preferred video processing settings without spending resources to manage the transcoding infrastructure, and pay based on the duration of video actually processed and the features used.
For example, TV 2 generates relevant highlight clips for sporting events using MediaConvert to gather insights with AI and ML models. Also, using MediaConvert's quality-defined variable bitrate (QVBR) Auto, they can set an appropriate quality level based on content complexity and encoding parameters, without human intervention, and maintain video quality regardless of input quality. This makes it especially suitable for converting large content libraries for for broadcast and streaming.
“More than 50 percent of our customers are live users. When a viewer misses the evening news or the start of a major sports match at 5pm and wants to watch a replay, they need to be able to catch up as soon as possible. AWS allows us to deliver near-instant access to live content for on-demand viewing,” said Rahul.
TV 2 User Experience
Generating VOD files previously took TV 2 up to three hours. With the AWS workflow, the files can be delivered immediately. The infrastructure has also helped TV 2 accelerate ingest and transcoding of new content libraries for its VOD platform, while enhancing the overall quality of the content it distributes. Rahul said, “We’re transcoding large volumes of content from libraries we acquire more frequently now. At the same time, we can make the content available via VOD more rapidly to improve the overall platform experience for subscribers.”
To protect their investments in live sports rights, scalability, stability and flexibility are other critical factors. According to Rahul, TV 2 has achieved a higher uptime of almost 99.999% since adopting AWS.
Looking ahead, TV 2 will continue to focus on improving the subscriber experience through machine learning and learning about AWS tools that improve customer viewer profiles and real-time content recommendations. aws.amazon.com