Portugal’s ZON chooses Harmonic for multiscreen

Portuguese cable and satellite provider ZON has chosen Harmonic’s portfolio of transcoding solutions as the enabling technology for a range of new multiscreen services being offered on ZON Online. Harmonic ProMedia Carbon file-based transcoders — managed by the Harmonic WFS file-based workflow system — and high-density ProStream 4000 real-time transcoders are now providing ZON subscribers with access to live streaming television, and video-on-demand (VOD) services on TVs, PCs, tablets, and other IP-connected devices.

“ZON wanted to extend its television experience through an over-the-top media portal, and Harmonic’s transcoding systems provided us with an efficient way to achieve that, without compromising quality,” says Nuno Sanches, product development director, ZON. “Our users can now watch live programming and video on demand on a wide range of devices, having both our award-winning user interface and the same image quality over the Internet and in the traditional cable service.”

ZON VOD services are powered by Harmonic ProMedia Carbon transcoders, which handle a variety of critical operations including SD/HD conversion, PAL/NTSC conversion, logo insertion, colour space conversion, colour correction, and closed-captions extraction. The cable and satellite provider’s multinode ProMedia Carbon transcoding farm, which can easily be scaled up as its needs increase, is integrated with Microsoft PlayReady digital rights management (DRM).

Harmonic’s file-based WFS controls the ProMedia Carbon transcoding farm by providing automated processing of high-volume transcoding tasks, failover support, job distribution management, job prioritisation, load balancing, FTP transfer, status monitoring, and job notification. With an extensive API, WFS manages the complete video asset transformation process by integrating additional third-party and Harmonic processing nodes, providing maximum flexibility, scalability, and cross-vendor interoperability to ZON as it continues to increase subscribers and online offerings.

The high-density ProStream 4000 transcoding solution supports ZON live television services by providing simultaneous processing of up to 48 video inputs and transcoding of up to 18 multiscreen profiles and 12 SD or four HD broadcast profiles per 1 RU. Built-in multi-encapsulation enables ZON to reach any viewing device by encoding once and then packaging to a variety of video formats, such as Apple HTTP Live Streaming and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. The ProStream 4000 is integrated with a Microsoft PlayReady DRM server.

The DVB cable and satellite headend at ZON features existing Harmonic headend solutions that seamlessly work alongside the new ProStream, ProMedia, and WFS transcoding equipment. The solution enables the provider to utilise the primary output of a Harmonic Electra 8200 SD/HD MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC encoder for HD MPEG-2 variable bit rate encoding in its satellite operation, as well as the secondary output for SD MPEG-4 AVC constant bit rate encoding for network personal video recorder (NPVR) services.

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