Statistical multiplexing is now available with the AWS Elemental MediaLive video processing service. Although this solution covers streaming to connected TV and multiscreen devices, the statmux feature is relevant to broadcast television and means customers can now deploy linear video processing and playout in the AWS Cloud for broadcast, cable, or terrestrial distribution.
AWS Elemental MediaLive with Statmux lets broadcasters and content providers build and manage broadcast video workflows on fully managed AWS services. One key benefit, according to AWS Elemental, is cloud flexibility – notably the ability to add, remove or update live channels based on evolving audience and business needs, and easily introduce new codecs, prioritise resources on a per-channel basis, and take advantage of multiple codecs and resolutions.
This solution also supports a unified headend. As AWS Elemental points out: “For content providers that distribute traditional broadcast video as well as multiscreen linear video, Statmux for MediaLive can deliver both through a single architecture. With the increasing importance of OTT delivery, having one system to manage all encoding can dramatically simplify operations.”
When announcing MediaLive with Statmux, AWS Elemental gave a reminder of what statistical multiplexing is – a solution for live broadcast workflows that allocates bits in real time among multiple live video channels. “It instantaneously adjusts the bitrate of each channel in the statmux pool to make the best use of total available bandwidth and combines the encoded outputs into a single transport stream. This maximises network efficiency by optimising picture quality for a group of channels within a fixed total bandwidth.”
In very simple terms, you can figure out that if you have a slow-moving DIY show alongside a news bulletin with a ‘talking-head’ news anchor currently on screen, these channels can achieve a good picture quality with reasonably low bandwidth, which means you could allocate more bits to a drama that is showing explosions.
AWS Elemental contrasts the flexibility of its cloud-based approach to the use of on-premise hardware encoders – systems that can take months to procure and configure, the company says. “They require extensive engineering to operate reliably, and cannot be repurposed once deployed.” Using Statmux for MediaLive you can build broadcast distribution workloads in minutes within the cloud.
Statmux for MediaLive allows broadcast operations teams to tune quality settings on a per-channel basis without disruption to assure that the highest-priority channels maintain the highest quality. Excellent picture quality and built-in resiliency are other benefits. Resources are automatically allocated across multiple [cloud] availability zones for high availability and fully managed failover. Integrated Amazon CloudWatch monitoring enables real-time views of video metrics and multiplexer performance.