Xylostream Technology have recently started working with Hitomi Broadcast and will be showing the XD4000 decoder on the Hitomi stand (2.C17) at IBC this year. Hitomi Broadcast have developed a state of the art audio and video alignment tool that produces a time marked test pattern and tone sequence that enables synchronisation for 4K contribution links. At IBC Xylostream will be showing the XD4000 HEVC decoder which is targeted at 4K contribution links enabling HEVC to be used to contribute live sport. The decoder supports 4:2:2 and 4:2:0, input data rates at up to 100Mbps, frame rates up to 60fps, 10 bit colour depth and provides a 4 x 3G-SDI output. As it is a hardware based decoder latency is kept below 200 ms. To find out more come to see us in Hall 2 Stand C17.
2016 has already seen fantastic announcements from Sky and DirecTV amongst others covering their plans for 4K channels. There is no doubt that sport and other live event coverage will be a key driver for consumers. Those that have been tracking 4K trials will be aware of some of the tribulations: contributing 4K using MPEG-4 has been fraught with difficulties. This is primarily because the legacy units being used were never originally designed for this purpose – generally consisting of a combination of 4 HD encoders and 4 HD decoders to deliver just one channel. The problem has been keeping all of this kit running and running in sync! Now it’s time to say “Move on” to MPEG-4 as HEVC can get the job done in a single unit working on the full frame, and with a 50% reduction in bandwidth to boot. For more information, see Xylostream’s Contribution solution page:
Visitors to the NAB show will be able to meet with Xylostream at their booth in the South Upper Hall, SU9214, from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st April. Xylostream will be launching the first HEVC contribution solution for Ultra HD with support for 4:2:2 and up to 12 bit colour depth. The XD4000 provides 4 x 3G-SDI outputs for standard interfacing to the studio plant
Interfacing 4K has been a bit of challenge for the industry, especially when it comes to moving around uncompressed video in a studio. The mainstay for the past 3 years has been 4 x 3G-SDI but on one hand this is physically cumbersome and on the other it goes against the trend of moving all interfacing to IP. Yesterday, TV Technology ran a great article comparing the two proponent groups of next generation IP infrastructure: ASPEN and AIMS. Xylostream’s Ultra HD encoder, the Excel 4000, utilizes COTS hardware and a modular structure: supporting a new IP or indeed SDI standard just means replacing the 4 x 3G-SDI module with the equivalent standardised solution for IP or 12G.
Last week at CES the UHD Alliance announced its specification for Premium Quality video content. This is great news as it is the beginning of clarifying how content delivery and consumer devices are working towards a focused set of options that consumers will be able to understand. The Ultra HD Forum is likely to provide similar advice for more generic and live delivery over video networks. The ITU is also in the process of recommending different options for HDR. The good news is that Xylostream’s encoder, the Excel 4000 already supports the Video Useability Information (VUI), Supplemental Enhancement Information (SEI) and ability to cross-carry other ancillary data from SDI to TS which will all be needed for ensuring decoders and displays have the right information to show off the content in the way it was intended.
Delivering a solid consumer proposition is critical to the success of Ultra HD and Xylostream was keen to join a new grouping promising to ensure Ultra HD is pulled together in a concerted manner and not left to fragment. Consumers want a better experience that works and don’t want the confusion of better resolution , colour gamut, dynamic range and frame rates thrown at them in all possible combinations. Avoiding fragmentation and focusing on the right solutions is important for Xylostream and being a member of the Ultra HD forum is all about making sure the supply side of the industry is working towards the same common goals.
Light Reading has reported plans announced by HEVC Advance to reduce the licence fees for use of its HEVC patents under the headline “HEVC gets its groove back”. HEVC Advance CEO Peter Moller is quoted as saying: "We have received significant market feedback, particularly on content fees and will adjust fees to support widespread use of HEVC" - good news for everyone considering using the HEVC codec. To read the whole article click on the link below:
As at previous exhibitions, Xylostream used the ViXS Golden Reference Decoder to demonstrate live distribution of 4K TV. Showing our encoder running live has always been an important factor in convincing visitors of our strength in compression technology and using a “consumer-style” STB has really supported the idea that the whole chain is ready. The ViXS set top boxes have been extremely reliable and are very easy to set up via the remote control. Demonstrating as much of the HEVC ecosystem has always been a target for Xylostream and this can only be achieved by working closely with our partners, such as ViXS.
Xylostream recently exhibited at IBC 2105, the annual broadcasting exhibition in Amsterdam. The company demonstrated live HEVC encoding of Ultra HD using the Excel 4000 encoder. This year the company also unveiled two new products to help anyone interested in exploring Ultra HD create their own Ultra HD test environments. The first product, the XP4000, is an inexpensive baseband Ultra HD video player, the first item required for any Ultra HD testing. The second is an HEVC decoder for Ultra HD which has been designed for multiple applications including off-air service monitoring, decoding for contribution links and laboratory use. For more information have a look at the products page.
Xylostream's participation at IBC 2015 has been highlighted by Broadband TV News. The article highlighted how Xylostream has introduced new products at IBC to help operators develop and deploy their Ultra HD services. To read the whole piece please use the link below.
Xylostream recently attended the SMPTE/IET event “Contribution Networks for Broadcasters, past, present and future”, presented by John Ellerton of BT’s Media & Broadcast division. This provided an excellent insight into the acquisition of content from events and content exchange between broadcast sites. John reported on BT Media & Broadcast’s involvement in the recent UHD coverage of the World Cup Cricket which was contributed from Australia to India for onward delivery to consumers, all in UHD. Read more about how UHD was handled through the chain here http://www.mediaandbroadcast.bt.com/wp-content/uploads/BTMB-Star-4K-cricket-Datasheet.pdf.
Xylostream is currently the only provider of HEVC encoders suitable for contribution bit rates and is keen to replace the current work around using four independent HD MPEG-4 encoders and decoders together with complex proprietary synchronisation.
Xylostream participated in the recent SES Industry Days event in Luxembourg, which was showcasing new technologies for Satellite Broadcasting Industry.
The Excel 4000 Ultra HD encoder was on display in the demonstration area showing live HEVC compression of the superb content commissioned by SES. Visitors were able to adjust bit rates from 10 -60 Mbit/s to suit both Contribution and Distribution applications and see the end to end set up from p50/60 playback to STB and UHD display.
Apart from the pristine quality of the Ultra HD picture on display at the Xylostream booth, a major highlight was the BBC and Samsung HDR demo showing how the BBC’s HDR solution can be applied to Ultra HD, so that both HDR-capable and standard screens can be lit up using the same transmission.
SES did a fantastic job covering a broad range of new technologies being introduced by their technology partners and broadcast customers alike. It was particularly exciting to see all the progress being made on SAT>IP: it’s clear that SES, and other satellite operators like them, intend to address all the screens in the home, not just the main TV set.
Make sure you check inside your April edition of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal for the SMPTE Ultra HD wall chart, supported by Xylostream. Alternatively, take a look here https://www.smpte.org/publications/journal and, if not already a member, consider signing up!
Xylostream’s Graham Cradock recently spoke to Advanced Television’s Euromedia team about the growing opportunity presented by UHD and the delivery challenges that our HEVC compression products overcome. Euromedia’s Ultra-HD Special recounts the state of play for the technology around the world and looks ahead with technology and market forecasts. It was published in association with the DTG and can be found here: http://joom.ag/u6rb
Xylostream recently exhibited at NAB, the global exhibition for all things television in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. The company exhibited with General Dynamics Mediaware, an Australian company that is focused on the development of compressed domain digital video processing products. Xylostream demonstrated the Excel 4000 Ultra HD HEVC encoder and showed how the company’s single slice approach to encoding for Ultra HD preserves the inherent clarity of the high resolution video. Various approach have now emerged for HEVC encoding of Ultra HD, but it is clear that the software based platforms are struggling to cope with the processing demands of the HEVC Ultra HD combination. The Xylostream approach using a FPGA accelerated high performance computing platform manages to get the best from both the flexibility of a software approach and the processing power that a hardware solution provides delivering stunning results.
With Mediaware, Xylostream also demonstrated an end to end ad splicing solution for HEVC using the Mediaware InStream solution. The demo showed advertisements being spliced into the HEVC output from the Excel 4000 on frame accurate basis demonstrating that HEVC really is ready to deploy on a commercial basis.
With Ultra HD being one of the key themes of NAB 2015 Xylostream was delighted to welcome visitors from around the world to the booth for a demonstration of Ultra HD as it’s meant to be.
Take a look at Xylostream’s contribution in the TVBEurope feature that looks at the challenges facing widespread adoption of UHD (http://www.tvbeurope.com/archive/, or p40-43 of the printed edition). In the article James McKeown, executive editor TVBEurope, looks across the whole chain of Ultra HD television from acquisition to delivery to the home. The general consensus from all contributors is that UHD is here to stay, and at Xylostream we very much subscribe to this view, witnessing increasing operator investment across the production chain. But the final point in James’s article is nevertheless worth repeating: all the investment in production values to create content with “wow factor” is meaningless if the encoder selection comprises output picture quality. Choosing Xylostream means preserving the “wow factor” that will delight your viewers.
Xylostream will be exhibiting at the NAB Show on Booth SU6505 with General Dynamics Mediaware. The main demonstration will be based on the Excel 4000 live Ultra HD encoder. Visitors will be able to see for themselves how the unique approach taken by Xylostream using software running on a FPGA based High Performance Computing Platform delivers stunning video quality at realistic bit rates.
NAB Show: www.nabshow.com
TV service operators work hard to maximise the benefit from technology when creating new services. In some recent Ultra HD service launches, this has been very much about “first mover advantage”, where operators have been able to mop up the initial set of premium customers with early deployments of Ultra HD set top boxes.
With fast changing technology this can lead to “islands” of customers left on an old version which can be expensive to upgrade or service. This has happened in some cases with early Ultra HD set top boxes which were limited to 30 frames per second. A “real” Ultra HD service, that is expected to wow viewers with pristine picture quality and be a clear step up from HD, will need to support High Frame Rates (HFR) of at least 60 frames per second.
To make sure the population of 30 fps STB are able to view an up to date HFR Ultra HD transmission, Xylostream has implemented Temporal Scalable Video Coding (SVC) within its Excel 4000 HEVC encoder. HFR streams from the encoder consist of base layer data which can be decoded to present video at 30 fps and an additional HFR helper layer which allows next generation STBs to decode and present the full 60 fps video.
This development was a straightforward implementation in Xylostream’s platform which is based on a unique software methodology. It is also an important proof-point for future upgrades over the next several years, as broadcasters and operators plan to deliver some content, primarily sport, at 100/120 fps. At that point, potentially 100m Ultra HD TV sets will have been sold and potentially all of them limited to 50/60 fps : temporal SVC should be a key part of any operators launch plans!
Xylostream Technology exhibited at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam in September 2014. The exhibition was used to show the Xylostream Excel 4000 at IBC for the first time. Xylostream had one of the very few if not the only live Ultra HD, 10 bit 50fps demonstration at the whole show. Visitors where delighted to be able to see live HEVC encoding of Ultra HD and to watch as the various parameters where changed on-the-fly resulting in a change to the encoded output.
Visitors to the NAB show this year were able to see Xylostream’s first demonstration of the Excel 4000 live HEVC encoder for Ultra HD. Xylostream has combined the power of software with standard hardware acceleration to build a product supporting 4K p60 at 10-bit. The demonstration was on the Mediaware booth, where the two companies combined demonstrations to show both 4K HEVC encoding and seamless, frame accurate ad insertion into the compressed stream.