MainStreaming, the Italian video delivery network and streaming platform provider, lists a number of innovations that it claims increases the efficiency of caching, reduces pressure on origin servers and generally ensures a reliable QoE regardless of the pressure placed on digital services by high numbers of concurrent live viewers. The company uses networking monitoring to understand, in real-time, the connection quality between the network and every single user. If the current connection goes bad it can rewrite the routing table so the video can use a different connection between a cache and the end-user, during the same streaming session.
Video viewers are intelligently directed to a cache that already contains the content they want to see, rather than being randomly allocated to a cache that may not have the content and which will then have to request it from deeper in the network. When additional cache capacity is needed for a given piece of content, caches can replicate content, also avoiding the need for caches to make content requests from more remote servers (like origins or acquirer servers).
High capacity servers make it less likely that content files are absent at a cache – again avoiding requests to the next server layer. The MainStreaming approach should ensure origin servers are only asked for content once and eliminate the risk that origins are overloaded.
Live content, like a pay-per-view sports match, can even be given priority over on-demand content in the same home, if a service provider wishes to introduce such a policy. MainStreaming has implemented this QoS prioritisation in response to a specific broadcaster request last autumn. It means the bandwidth allocation for on-demand streams could be reduced in order to guarantee higher bandwidth for a live session.
MainStreaming provides an end-to-end, modular streaming solution that includes ingest, storage, media management (including encoding, transcoding and transmuxing) and content delivery, and the company addresses both on-demand and live content requirements. It harnesses 2,700 points of connection directly into telco operator networks globally.
Antonio Corrado, CEO at MainStreaming, reckons the overall impact of his company’s technology is to assure streaming QoE in circumstances where users would otherwise see slow start times or buffering or even black screens. “We want to enable broadcast quality streaming video – that is our goal,” he declares.
MainStreaming believes it has prepared the ground for an accelerated migration of content from broadcast networks to IP streaming. Besides targeting broadcasters for their digital services, and content owners looking to introduce direct-to-consumer offers, the company wants to help Pay TV providers introduce their full-flavour bouquets as well as their TV Everywhere or Pay Lite services online.
Sky Italy has already committed to using MainStreaming to stream real-time content to subscribers across its Sky Go, Sky Q and NOW TV platforms and, notably, to support the non-satellite service that will be delivered over broadband. Another customer is Denver Broncos. MainStreaming provides transcoding and distribution for the video the the NFL team offers on Facebook and Twitter.
A new funding round in May secured $6 million for MainStreaming. That means a total of $10 million has been raised by the Milan-based firm. This round was led by Indaco Venture Partners SGR, Sony Innovation Fund and existing investor, United Ventures. Video streaming is one of two markets MainStreaming operates in, the other being online gaming.