Player optimisations for hybrid video and the shift to linear OTT
For over 15 years, castLabs has been pushing the boundaries of video technology to address the challenges our customers face. This urge to go beyond the limits has led us to develop some groundbreaking new features for our PRESTOplay cross-platform video players – aimed to facilitate the move from broadcast to an either hybrid or pure OTT future.
Some of the most noteworthy features include our fast channel zapping that offers comparable zap times to traditional TV while streaming linear OTT content; hybrid Android TV playback that allows you to securely play OTT, IPTV, and DVB content all from one player, as well as hybrid nPVR that makes switching a stream from multicast or broadcast to OTT seamless.
Fast channel zapping – how does it work?
As the popularity of OTT delivery is constantly growing on linear TV channels, the facilitation of OTT adoption for PRESTOplay has become one of our priorities. Thanks to our scalable fast channel change solution for MPEG-DASH, users are given the same feel experience when streaming compared to watching via DVB or IPTV. This fast channel change demo relies on an optimized packager provided by Broadpeak and an enhanced update to our PRESTOplay for Web Apps video player operating in MPEG-DASH, remaining fully compliant with the standard specifications.
As a result of optimisations introduced in PRESTOplay, customers can enjoy watching OTT content on a completely different level. Pre-loading and updating manifests for more than one live channel allows content channels to be ready for playback at all times. Restructuring manifests helped us to limit the number of frequent updates. Pre-fetching and storing DRM licenses for the content allows us to avoid license loads during the tune-in process, and finally using fragmented/chunked segments that contain multiple moof/mdat boxes reduces decoding time on PRESTOplay.
This allows for sub-second zapping, which can even achieve under 250 milliseconds (based on a viewer’s internet bandwidth of course)!
Fast channel zapping is also available for PRESTOplay for Android – contact us to view a demo.
Hybrid playback on Android TV
In addition to our work on fast channel zapping, we’ve built a versatile and OEM-agnostic hybrid player. It’s able to support CAS protected DVB and IPTV playback, as well as multi-DRM protected OTT streams, all from the same player – helping to simplify the transition to OTT and avoid managing multiple video players across a broad ecosystem of devices.
New features added to PRESTOplay for Android include:
- Support for the Android Tuner Framework
- MediaCas APIs
- RTP/UDP broadcast/multicast playback
- Modern and lightweight DVB stack tailored to the Android Tuner Framework
- Widevince CAS support
With one single player being leveraged to support OTT as well as broadcast playback, operators can deploy broadcast and IPTV enabled devices as simply as deploying OTT devices. As a result, you not only reduce maintenance effort, but also cost and time to market.
To ensure unrivaled control and flexibility in the TV viewing experience, we also decided to add hybrid nPVR (network personal video recorder) to PRESTOplay for Android. One of its key advantages is the ability to switch from multicast or broadcast to an OTT stream with frame-accuracy. This feature enables:
- Pausing live IPTV or DVB streams and continue watching seamlessly, as VOD
- Seeking back just like regular OTT streaming and return to live IPTV/DVB playback when desired
- Performing ad insertion, for example, by showing an ad via OTT during IPTV playback