Honeycomb constructs digital delivery service with Telestream building blocks

Publicly launched in August 2016, London-based digital delivery service provider, Honeycomb, has put Telestream transcoding, workflow orchestration and automated quality control (QC) solutions at the heart of its state-of-the-art facility. Describing itself as a ‘second generation digital delivery service’, Honeycomb has been successful in disrupting the established content delivery business models within its first year of commercial operations.

Most recently, it was the first digital delivery service to deliver UHD commercials to Europe’s premier satellite broadcaster. The system at Honeycomb was supplied and commissioned by Telestream’s local channel partner, Boxer Systems. Now, Honeycomb is exporting its stunningly successful business model throughout Europe.

To achieve this kind of stellar commercial performance, Honeycomb has developed new and radically different intelligent automated workflows made possible by Telestream technologies and system solutions. The London facility uses three Telestream products to support its enterprise operations.

All media transcoding and workflow orchestration is performed using Telestream’s Vantage Media Processing Platform. At the same time, Telestream Switch is used as a video player for manual reviews of critical content. And Telestream Vidchecker is used to perform the core of Honeycomb’s QC operations, ensuring compliance. Currently, Honeycomb is QC checking and successfully delivering more than 3000 commercials each month through its Vidchecker systems.

“The first generation delivery services removed physical media from the delivery process, but their processes require expensive infrastructure and a lot of high-cost manual processes,” commented Craig Russill-Roy, Head of Broadcast at Honeycomb “Since 2007, the costs of production and editing have tumbled, but the costs of delivering the ads had stayed at much the same level, and this was becoming a barrier to growth for advertisers.

“By embracing the automation of key media processes, and by using cloud computing technology, we can offer truly disruptive media delivery services that not only cost much less than the current services, but offer a much faster service to our clients,” he added. “Today, our average process time for delivery of a commercial through Honeycomb is 20-30 minutes, while in ideal situations we can deliver an ad from the editor timeline to the broadcaster, including a full QC and compliance check, in 10 minutes!”

As a video transcoder, the fact that Vantage is a future-proof platform gives Honeycomb confidence that they can support any format or standard that emerges – UHD, HDR, WCG and HFR formats are all supported in Vantage. At Honeycomb, Vantage is often used to create SD commercials from HD originals, or to transcode from the editing format to the broadcaster’s required delivery format.

“We have performed many tens of thousands of transcodes through Vantage and not had a single failure, rejection or quality complaint from a customer,” explains Russill-Roy. “Vantage workflows are powerful and easy to develop. In just one year, we have created over 300 Vantage workflows, and we’re happy to share these with any other Vantage user. Vantage is a true enterprise-class platform and it is easy to virtualise on the AWS computing platform.”

Honeycomb selected Telestream Switch as its preferred video file player since it plays any file format, and allows operators to check subtitles and metadata. “Switch is an ideal complementary tool to the Vidchecker Auto QC, and is so low-cost that we can install it on every desktop in our facility,” explains Craig Russill-Roy.

“We like Vidchecker since it offers fast and accurate automated QC of files, and is easy to use,” he continued. “Also, its automated correction options and the fact that the PSE Flash Pattern tests are included at no extra cost is great. The ability to customize and brand our PDF QC reports is another plus for Honeycomb. With Vidchecker, we can create QC reports in any language that our operators and customers understand.”

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