Appear gives Deutsche Telekom OTT “latency busting” boost | OTT | News | Rapid TV News
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Media processing and delivery technology provider Appear has revealed the part it has played in providing an off-the-shelf latency reduction in over-the-top (OTT) video performance for Germany’s leading telco, Deutsche Telekom.
dl magenta entertainment 9Sep2022
The partnership aimed to use “innovative” approaches to drive OTT latency down to levels said to be on a par with satellite and cable distribution. Indeed, Appear noted that Deutsche Telekom indicated a need to drive down latency as far back as 2019 and understood that any technological solution it deployed would need “unshakeable” reliability and incredible flexibility.

After initial work to drive down latency on the back of the value chain by optimising player buffer and segment sizes, Deutsche Telecom set about honing the rest of the value chain and decided to use Appear’s X Platform as the centre piece of its OTT value chain. Among the key facets of the X Platform were extreme density with an ability to fit several UHD channels with a large ABR bitrate ladder into one chassis, while maintaining very low latency and achieving the highest quality video over OTT.

Another key part of the project was the desire from Deutsche Telekom to build the value chain with “off the shelf” modularity baked into its design, with interoperable building blocks. With the pace of development in the OTT space being as rapid as it is, Deutsche Telekom understood there needs to be flexibility built into the system so that pieces could be upgraded and configured as and when is necessary. Unlike bespoke, purpose-built hardware, off the shelf units can be easily replaced. Creating a template that is easy to maintain, upgrade, scale and replicate.

The end result, after three years of implementation, product development and consultation was an OTT value chain that now sees use in production in the bouquet of a German broadcaster for validation and testing. Deutsche Telekom says it has already achieved latency figures on par with classic satellite distribution, given the same input signal, measured in both the production environment and in Appear’s Oslo testing environment.

“OTT is going to be a decisive battleground for operators. Though satellite and cable are currently more popular among German customers, the tides are turning. Customers want choice in how they interact with content, they want full control over what they watch and when,” said Koen van Benschop, manager TV headend at Deutsche Telekom Technik speaking about the collaboration. “The next generation of viewers are native OTT consumers, so to keep pace with them we needed to develop our OTT capabilities. We’ve worked with Appear for a long time, the modularity and flexibility of their hardware made them an obvious choice in this project. This is to say nothing of the unbelievable reliability of their units, which we’ve used for many years.”

“Latency is a killer when it comes to customer’s enjoyment of content,” added Appear CEO Thomas Jørgensen. “If you’re watching a key football match for your local team, the last thing you want is to hear your neighbour roaring in excitement 30 seconds before you get to see the action. That completely ruins the experience for them. Customers are often very forgiving of latency on handheld devices, but as it moves to the big screen that becomes unacceptable. Combining the established benefits of OTT with the live performance of cable and satellite will be crucial to winning over customers in the coming years.”