How hybrid video player solutions work

At castLabs, we’ve been working with video players since 2011 and for the majority of this time have been focused on supporting premium video distribution from conditional access system (CAS) protected mobile TV to digital right management (DRM) protected OTT.

Today, after seeing shifts in the market along with the evolution of the Android TV ecosystem, and to also provide additional value to our DRMtoday for Widevine CAS solution, we’ve been working on building a versatile hybrid player able to support CAS protected DVB and IPTV based broadcast services, as well as OTT streams, all from the same SDK. Our goal is to greatly simplify the development and reduce cost of hybrid services.

Widevine CAS on Android TV

How does the hybrid castLabs player work?

As a starting point, we’ve taken our PRESTOplay for Android SDK and added support for the Android Tuner Framework and MediaCas APIs. Furthermore we added support for RTP/UDP broadcast/multicast playback and built a modern and lightweight DVB stack tailored to the Android Tuner Framework.

We’re directly working with Android TV SoC manufacturers to ensure driver compatibility and to create an OEM-independent solution which can be integrated by the service provider via a system level service as well as our well-known PRESTOplay Android SDK. This means a single SDK can be leveraged to support OTT as well as broadcast content playback – previously, necessary device and OS customizations by the OEM are now history as well by relying on the Android Tuner Framework to support IPTV and DVB playback. Deploying broadcast and IPTV enabled devices is now as simple as deploying OTT devices. This is greatly reducing the cost and time to market.

Furthermore, through a common API framework, we‘re able to simplify the process of writing an application and support seamless switching between broadcast/multicast and unicast content midplayback without requiring any custom integration on app level.

Learn more about PRESTOplay for Android.

What are the benefits of this approach?

By taking advantage of our hybrid player, broadcasters are able to scale up their network infrastructure using multicast or broadcast distribution for high demand linear content while maintaining user experience parity between their unicast and multicast content without worrying about a dramatic increase in complexity on the device side. Using our player solution also can act as a stepping stone in the medium to long term when transitioning towards a more streaming-oriented future.

In addition to this, we help facilitate this transition by simplifying the building and maintenance of complex multi-device ecosystems to include STBs, mobile devices, smart TVs, game consoles, and more!

With a unified player solution across all these devices, operators can enjoy a player offering the same feel playback and single integrations with third party technologies like analytics or ad-insertion across all their broadcast, multicast, and OTT devices.

OTT and broadcast video delivery

Is the player limited to Widevine CAS on set-top boxes ?

While our hybrid player has originated from our DRMtoday for Widevine CAS solution, it’s built on the MediaCas APIs of Android and it thus supports any compatible CAS solution.

Away from Android TV devices, in some circumstances, our in-house professional service experts are able to look into bespoke solutions for Linux or AOSP devices, however this is case dependent.

Speak with us today

Contact us

Contact us to learn more about how our hybrid approach can help you achieve streamlined playback.


Posted by

James Hynard

James Hynard
Sales Manager

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