Harmonic looks to multiscreen space

Harmonic looks set to have a busy IBC, with additions to its Omneon Spectrum media server product line among other innovations already announced. But, according to Tom Lattie, vice president of product management, when it looks at sport it’s the opportunities presented by multiscreen that really light the blue touchpaper.

Of course, the company has already announced its ProMedia software family for IBC which optimises live and file-based multiscreen video production and processing via a broad range of functions (including transcoding, packaging, and origination), but Lattie takes it all further.

“What we’re seeing in the multiscreen space is that people want to see the replays in their mobile or web app, and if you look at how the Olympics ran last time they were using a lot of editors to produce rough cuts in the old style way,” he says. “We think there are some interesting things you can do to mark the places for those rough cuts and build an almost automated workflow to allow people to watch events in a multiscreen fashion but also provide more enhancers such as highlights.”

As Lattie explains, with the Origin server the company has already enabled such ‘start over’ concepts as jumping back to the beginning of a programme. But he reckons that there’s more that can be done with multi-bitrate delivery protocols

“We believe, and we’re talking to some customers now, that you can take it all a step further; because the chunks are small enough and because the manifests are dynamic enough, you can envisage a sport multiscreen workflow where you can give us the timecode at the beginning and end of the roughcut and, without any other type of video processing, we can make a custom manifest within the Origin server which allows people to look for highlights within the broadcast. That really cuts down on the workflow because you don’t need editors to go in and mark in and out points, transcode files, publish to the web and so on.”

Lattie won’t be drawn on who those customers Harmonic is talking to currently are, but his citing of the last Olympics as a good example of the previous way of doing things with massed phalanxes of editors suggests that the company is aiming suitably high.

“People are still thinking about doing innovative things but in very old ways. We think there’s another way of doing it,” he concludes.

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