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Changing the way operators deliver TV

UNIVERSAL Compression Platform

  • Overview
  • Features

Appear TV is proud to introduce our next generation compression portfolio, the UNIVERSAL compression platform. Taking advantage of new powerful silicon components and algorithmic enhancements Appear TV are raising the performance bar to a new level.  Through years of experience in the broadcast market it is recognized that each market segment and operator will have different compression needs. Some markets, such as DTH, require to maintain high video quality whilst being challenged with increased service offering in an already tight bandwidth constrained network. Other markets, where bandwidth is of less concern, focus on service density per encoder/transcoder looking to improve cost per channel. A common denominator across all markets is the desire to launch OTT service offering in order to stay competitive, securing the business by reducing churn of subscribers.

With the new UNIVERSAL platform the very same hardware can be used for different compression scenarios providing ultimate flexibility with the possibility to re-use the hardware for a different application. The only divide in the platform are the physical interfaces for the inputs setting a hardware divide between the encoder and transcoder variants. Although implemented in hardware, software alone dictates what the card does. This means a change in software can transform the module into a superior high video quality encoder, a high density encoder, or an OTT (multiscreen) encoder. The same applies for transcoders. Expanding on Appear TVs universal head-end philosophy, the UNIVERSAL compression family provide absolute flexibility with outstanding video quality, setting new standards in the compression domain.

High Video Quality Encoding (HD/SD-SDI Encoder)
Appear TV’s superior High Video Quality Encoder is aimed for use with the most demanding Tier 1 applications producing extraordinary video quality at low bitrates. The encoder support all common MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) distribution profiles for both SD and HD. Input is digital HD/SD-SDI with embedded audio, supporting up to 8 stereo pairs of audio per SDI input. With enhanced audio processing capacity the module can handle multichannel encoding including Dolby® Digital 5.1 and Dolby® Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 encoding.  In High Video Quality mode the encoder utilize all its resource for encoding 1 HD service or 2 SD services. The encoder operates in three different encoder rate control modes: Constant Bit Rate (CBR) Capped Variable Bit Rate (CVBR), as well as Statistical Multiplexing (Statmux). With pre-processing functions as de-blocking, skin tone detection, and noise reduction available, combined with dual-pass encoding, the quality certainly match that of the established players in the compression market, if not better. We encourage clients to contact us for demo to see for themselves.

High Density Encoding (HD/SD-SDI Encoder)
The High Density Encoder use exactly the same hardware as the High Video Quality Encoder where the computational power of available resource have been split out to achieve a higher service density in the module, whilst still producing great video quality. The encoder support all common MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) distribution profiles for both SD and HD. Input is digital HD/SD-SDI with embedded audio, supporting up to 8 stereo pairs of audio per SDI input. With enhanced audio processing capacity the module can handle multichannel encoding including Dolby® Digital 5.1 and Dolby® Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 encoding.  In High Density mode each module supports encoding of 2 HD or 4 SD services providing up to 64 services per 4 RU chassis (XC5000). The encoder operates in three different encoder rate control modes: Constant Bit Rate (CBR), Capped Variable Bit Rate (CVBR), as well as Statistical Multiplexing (Statmux). 

High Video Quality Transcoder (HD/SD Transcoder)
The High Video Quality Transcoder is aimed for the primary distribution segment where high video quality at low bitrates is at paramount importance. This next generation broadcast transcoder module is an advanced, fully-featured MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) real-time, dual pass transcoder, delivering superior quality at low bitrates handling up to 2 SD services or 1 HD service per module. The input to the transcoder is via any of Appear TV's function specific input modules (DVB-S/S2X input, DVB-T/T2 input, QAM, IP, or ASI). The transcoder solution is able to transcode digital video data in all common distribution profiles for SD and HD. The module performs a full decode and re-encode of content ensuring optimal quality is maintained throughout the transcode process. The transcoder module is able to transcode H.264 to MPEG-2, MPEG-2 to MPEG-2, MPEG-2 to H.264, and H.264 to H.264. The transcoder operates in three different encoder rate control modes: Constand Bit Rate (CBR), Capped Variable Bit Rate (CVBR), as well as Statistical Multiplexing (Statmux).  With increased audio transcode capacity the module can handle multiple audio channels including Dolby® Digital and Dolby® Digital Plus. Having pre-processing functions as de-blocking, skin tone detection, and noise reduction available, coupled with full dual pass encoding support, the transcoder provides the best possible performance for high quality distribution.

Many Tier 1 broadcasters use 4:2:2 contribution feeds as a high-quality source for the DTH compression stage. Appear TV has included 4:2:2 decoding into this top-specification transcoder enabling transcode of H.264 4:2:2 (8 or 10 bit) contribution format directly to 4:2:0 distribution format, eliminating the need to have seperate IRDs and encoders for the purpose. The High Quality Universal Transcoder is the key to provide the most demanding Tier 1 operators with an unbeatable compression option from Appear TV.

High Density Transcoder (HD/SD Transcoder)
The High Density Transcoder sets new boundaries in service density handled by a single transcoder module. Supporting transcode densities of up to 4 HD or 16 SD services per module enables transcoding as high as 250 services per 4RU chassis (XC5000) producing impressive video quality across all services. The input to the transcoder is via any of Appear TV's function specific input modules (DVB-S/S2X input, DVB-T/T2 input, QAM, IP, or ASI). The transcoder solution is able to transcode digital video data in all common distribution profiles for both SD and HD. The module performs a full decode and re-encode of content ensuring optimal quality is maintained throughout the transcode process. The module is able to transcode H.264 to MPEG-2, MPEG-2 to MPEG-2, MPEG-2 to H.264, and H.264 to H.264. With increased audio transcode capacity the module can handle multiple audio channels (up to 24x MPEG/AAC stereo pairs) including Dolby® Digital and Dolby® Digital Plus. The transcoder operates in three different encoder rate control modes: Constand Bit Rate (CBR), Capped Variable Bit Rate (CVBR), as well as Statistical Multiplexing (Statmux). 

Statistical Multiplexing 2.0
With the enhanced algorithms in the new UNIVERSAL compression suite follows Appear TV's second generation multiplexing technology. The new statistical multiplexing soluiton is based on a multi-pass look-ahead architecture providing superior bit rate estimates and improved accuracy in estimating video quality outcomes. With ultra-fast refresh rate the bitrate allocation process has been accelerated significantly; video quality and bitrate requirements can be assessed and re-allocated up to every 10 ms. With this solution, spending excess bandwidth on simple video sequences is avoided. Instead, available bandwidth can be utilized on more demanding video sequences and free up capacity for additional new TV services. 

Multiscreen OTT Encoder / Transcoder
The innovative multiscreen compression offering from Appear TV is a major part of the UNIVERSAL compression portfolio. The Multiscreen encoder/transcoder modules simultaneously prepares multiple signals from any source in any format for distribution to high definition televisions, high resolution computers, and low resolution web and mobile devices. Both the encoder and transcoder variant can process up to 4 individual tv-services per module, producing multiple resolutions per service that are key frame aligned on output, allowing the viewing device to seamlessly change resolutions without distruption in the video being viewed. The multiscreen encoder accepts HD/SD-SDI inputs directly and can be fitted in Appear TV's XC5000 chassis alongside multiscreen transcoders for adaptive bitrate compression to MPEG-4 AVC (H.264). By utilizing premium hardware design operators get full assurance that the highest standards of video performance are maintained regardless of service density. In contrast to competing software alternatives the hardware guarantees dedicated resource per service, meaning the video quality will never be compromised with addition of new tv-services. In addition, the hardware based multiscreen encoder/transcoder solution provides the operator with both rack space and power consumption savings compared to software based solution.  

The evident benefit of Appear TV's UNIVERSAL solutions is the possibility to generate all of the outputs required to serve both traditional broadcast and OTT from a single unified head-end platform. 

  • UNIVERSAL Hardware Encoders/Transcoders for broadcast and OTT:
    • High Video Quality Encoder/Transcoder for broadcast
    • High Density Encoder/Transcoder for broadcast
    • Multiscreen Encoder/Transcoder for OTT
  • Based on the UNIVERSAL hardware architecture:
    • Full flexibility in changing an encoder or transcoder between being a broadcast encoder/transcoder or multiscreen encoder/transcoder. 
  • Full decode and re-encode transcoder architecture
  • Modular platform, available in 4 RU and 1 RU variant
  • Encoding of up to 32 HD or 64 SD channels in one 4 RU chassis
  • Transcoding of up to 250 SD / 64 HD in one 4 RU chassis
  • Input options for encoding:
    • HD/SD-SDI with embedded audio
  • Input options for transcoding:
    • IP unicast/multicast
    • ASI
    • DVB-S/S2/S2X
    • DVB-T/T2
    • DVB-C / ITU-T J.83 Annex A, B and C
    • 8VSB
    • ISDB-T/ISDB-Tb
  • Encoding and transcoding of:
    • MPEG-2 HD and SD
    • MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) HD and SD
  • Rate control:
    • Constant bitrate (CBR)
    • Capped-variable bitrate (CVBR)
    • Statistical multiplexing (Statmux)
  • MPEG-2 supported encoding profiles:
    • MP@ML (SD)
    • MP@HL (HD)
  • MPEG-4 supported encoding profiles:
    • MP@L3.0, HP@L3.0 (SD)
    • MP@L4.2, HP@L4.2 (HD)
  • Audio support:
    • MPEG-1 Layer 2
    • AAC-LC
    • HE-AAC v1/v2
    • Dolby® Digital / Dolby® Digital Plus pass-through
    • Dolby® Digital / Dolby® Digital Plus decoding (downmix)
    • Dolby® E decode (future release)
    • Dolby® Digital / Dolby® Digital Plus encoding
  • VBI/VANC processing
  • Frame rate conversion
  • Logo insertion
  • Self-managed redundancy options:
    • 1+1 redundancy
    • N+1 redundancy on module level
    • Switch/Management redundancy, removing all single points of failure (XC5000 only)
  • All components replaceable and hot-swappable
  • Intuitive web-based user control
  • Dual redundant hot-swappable power supplies
  • Monitoring of power and fans
  • SNMP trap generation
  • SOAP/XML interface for external control


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