Belgium's Alpha begins IPTV and OTT multiscreen video service rollout

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 06-06-2012

A refresh of video processing, server, and storage solutions has been at the heart of a major push by leading Belgian telco Alpha Networks into IPTV and OTT services.

The new Billi offering will also provide hosted service offerings, based on an integrated and unified framework that will allow Alpha to deliver high-quality HD video services cost-effectively to multiple devices, including connected TVs, PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

"The key to launching competitive multiscreen services was figuring out an efficient way to deliver live IPTV services to set-top boxes, as well as live and video-on-demand services to tablets, smartphones, and PCs, using OTT technologies," explained Guillaume Devezeaux, COO, Alpha Networks. "Through a single, integrated architecture, [Alpha’s] range of solutions delivers a richer multimedia experience to subscribers, while lowering our operating and capital expenses."

The Alpha Networks head end relies on a combination of video processing solutions from Harmonic to manage the complexity of IPTV and OTT applications and deliver SD and HD, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video with a reduced footprint. For live IPTV encoding, Alpha bought Harmonic ProStream 1000 with ACE high-density stream processers to transcode up to 60 SD or 20 HD broadcast services per RU. This was claimed to be able to reduce Alpha’s energy costs with no more than 10 watts per channel. ProMedia Live carrier-grade transcoding and ProMedia Package adaptive streaming preparation systems transcode and package multiple H.264 video streams for adaptive bitrate delivery of live multiscreen OTT content.

VOD content is delivered using Harmonic's ProMedia Carbon file-based enterprise-class transcoding solution, an Omneon® MediaGrid™ shared storage system optimized for digital media, and a ProMedia Origin HTTP streaming video server. The system leverages industry-standard protocols, including Apple® HLS and Microsoft® Smooth Streaming, to prepare and publish live, VOD, and NPVR content to multiple viewing devices while supporting a range of CDNs and encryption methodologies. This allows Alpha Networks to deliver content to a wide variety of customer devices while still maintaining streamlined system architecture.

Describing what exactly Alpha can now do with its new technology, Harmonic senior director, convergence solutions Thierry Fautier said: "Alpha Networks can provide Billi subscribers with a unique user experience, while offering international operators compelling, cutting-edge video services across IPTV and OTT delivery networks, making it an attractive business offering coupled with a future-proof solution."