Cloud-Based Sports Streaming: Elevating the Game

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In the world of broadcast television and streaming, a well-known maxim is “content is king.” TV operators fight over sports rights, with investments reaching billions of dollars. That’s because these rights define their content offering and brand perception for years. So operators across the globe have always looked for the best way to ensure smooth operations and perfect delivery. Increasingly, they are turning to cloud-based sports streaming as a solution.

Winning the Game in South Asia with Cloud-Based Sports Streaming

One Ateme customer is aiming to double its subscriber base in 2024. To achieve this, it needed a high-performance, scalable and reliable infrastructure. The best way to manage its sports streaming operation was therefore to leverage the cloud. The customer selected Ateme for its video infrastructure, which enabled streamlined operations with improved video quality and viewing experience. For this project, our customer had strict requirements for its sports streaming services:

Cloud-native solution

To get the highest performance, the proposed solution had to be built and optimized for operation in a public cloud environment. It had to be able to scale up and down as needed for sports events.

High availability

To ensure maximum uptime, the requested solution must have an Active/Active architecture with geo-redundancy.

Unified management

One of the main drivers for the selection of cloud-based solutions was the streamlining of operations. In that spirit, the customer requested a unified platform for monitoring, scheduling blackouts, and alarms for all sub-systems.

Advanced streaming functionalities

In its constant effort to improve the viewing experience, the customer looked for a solution that could support all modern streaming protocols (HLS, DASH, RTMP), with DRM protection and with the best picture quality and lowest latency possible.

Integration in the customer’s existing ecosystem

The proposed solution had to be compatible with solutions from the customer’s existing technology partners, namely Google for storage and Akamai for the CDN.

To meet these requirements, the customer chose an architecture based on Ateme’s TITAN technology:

Sports Streaming

With this architecture, Ateme allows the customer to run two completely independent, geo-redundant platforms. At the core of this system are synchronized pairs of TITAN Live encoders/packagers in each Availability Zone; all managed by a single, high-availability PILOT Manager for configuration, monitoring, and alarm management. These TITAN Live pairs create the ABR ladder, packaging and encrypting the content for OTT delivery. TITAN Live also creates recordings for Video-On-Demand (VOD) from live feeds, storing them in a Google Storage bucket for future delivery. Alongside TITAN Live encoders, each Availability Zone includes a TITAN Edge universal gateway for live signal monitoring.

Now, let’s zoom into each of the sub-systems to look at some architectural choices:

Sports Streaming

Flexible compute infrastructure with TITAN Live

For each Availability Zone, several instances of TITAN Live are deployed as needed. Each Main and Backup pair is synchronized and frame-aligned for seamless switching in case of failure of one zone. Each stream is transcoded into a six-profile ABR ladder, then packaged in both HLS and DASH to ensure compatibility with all devices. The content is also encrypted with DRM to protect it from piracy. TITAN Live automatically pushes recordings to Google Object Storage based SCTE-35 markers in the streams, for VOD.

Centralized management with PILOT Manager

PILOT Manager acts as the operation’s brain, offering a consolidated view of alarms and thumbnails of all systems in a single pane of glass. It also enables easy operation of more complex workflows by leveraging advanced TITAN Live functionalities with an integrated scheduler for blackouts, graphic insertion (logos, crawlers, etc.), and configuration changes in sub-systems.

Sports Streaming
Sports Streaming

Live monitoring with TITAN Edge

To monitor the input of TITAN Live, all input streams from all instances are sent to a single TITAN Edge instance. The high-density decoder processes all the streams for easy viewing on a single screen in the control room. This ensures that any issue with the input stream is caught immediately.

With this architecture, our customer can leverage the benefits of a flexible cloud infrastructure while benefiting from the advanced features and premium quality of a field-proven solution.

Cloud-Based Sports Streaming: The Results

The adoption of Ateme’s TITAN solutions within Google Cloud’s robust framework has elevated the sports streaming experience for millions of viewers in South Asia. Simultaneously, the customer benefits from flexible, scalable, and reliable operations.

In fact, this architecture, with geo-redundancy, cloud-native flexibility, and advanced streaming functionalities, delivers an unparalleled viewing experience. Furthermore, centralized management via Ateme’s PILOT Manager and live monitoring with the TITAN universal gateway ensure smooth operations and a high-quality streaming service. Overall, this collaboration has not only provided the customer with the desired flexibility: it has also resulted in improved video quality, lower latency, and a more stable video performance.

How do you ensure high quality while keeping operational costs down? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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