Jared Timmins, SVP solutions at TVU Networks, says that the distinctions between broadcast and OTT are steadily becoming less relevant writes David Davies.
1. Can you briefly outline the scope of your role at TVU Networks?
I’m the global solutions team leader at TVU Networks. When I started in December of 2019, TVU Networks consolidated its solutions engineering resources all within my team. Our mission is to partner with our customers to help them quickly adapt to changes in consumer media consumption. We work with them to solve their workflow problems and create a technology toolset that allows them to move their business with confidence into the future. It’s a very consultative approach to customer relationships. Our aim is to identify opportunities for greater operational efficiencies and content monetisation throughout our customer’s workflows. We provide recommendations that utilise the next generation of media supply chain solutions and technologies, such as cloud-enabled workflows.
2. For the uninitiated, what would you say is TVU Networks’ particular USP as a video solutions provider?
TVU has the unique ability to create cloud technology solutions that allow for broadcast-grade quality and latency in user-definable workflows at a fraction of the cost of on-premise or monolithic, legacy media solutions. That’s at the heart of TVU and is what gives our company the reputation as the premium provider of cloud- and IP-based live video solutions.
There are technical breakthroughs specific to TVU that make our approach stand out when compared to others, such as our patented Inverse StatMux Plus (IS+) transmission technology. Thanks to the ingenuity of IS+, users can transmit 10-bit 60fps HDR video at as low as 3Mbps from a speeding car anywhere in the world with public cellular connections. Our H.265 encoding chip delivers full, broadcast-quality 4K.
3. TVU Networks is active in many different markets, so what positions do broadcast and OTT occupy in your portfolio of interests?
Media workflows and the utilisation of broadcast tools sets are becoming universal across industry verticals. Our history of innovation and commitment to solving broadcast and OTT problems are directly extensible to all verticals that are adopting media workflows. The distinctions of broadcast and OTT become less relevant as these tools are used broadly across a wide range of industries.
As an example, there’s our new TVU Channel cloud-based playout solution. It was initially designed for a huge broadcaster, but it can be used by any organisation looking to create a specialised video channel. With it, live and VOD programming can be scheduled from a web browser, and because it’s cloud-based TVU Channel can be deployed easily without complicated licensing or configuration. Building and managing channels is as simple as populating an Internet calendar.
4. As of 2021, how would you characterise the extent to which cloud has achieved mass global traction? And are there specific areas of applications where it is still trailing some legacy technologies?
The pandemic has sped up the IP transition for broadcasters and content creators by at least 18 months. The IP transition is just a peripheral transition as part of a larger cloud computing revolution. While baseband workflows are still relevant on-premise, more and more compressed IP cloud workflows are overtaking uncompressed, on-prem IP workflows. Once users adopt cloud-native software architectures, on-prem IP workflows – while still valuable for many high-quality utilisations – become less and less effective at solving the next-generation content proliferation needs of media enterprises.
Our customers are producing live, cloud-based broadcasts every day. From live news, live events, award shows, cooking shows - all without reliance on on-prem, legacy equipment. We’ve had solutions that address this for at least two years such as with our TVU RPS synchronised multi-camera remote production and TVU Producer cloud-based live production tools.
At this point, virtualisation is so advanced that every large-scale production uses cloud-based tools to some extent. Who’s touching what equipment for remote production is being completely re-imagined. Live, remote production environment is a collaboration. Our customers are living this day-to-day, producing broadcast grade, digital and social programming through this approach. The IP transition is just a peripheral transition as part of a cloud computing revolution.
The cloud is most certainly now, not in the future.
5. TVU One remains one of your flagship solutions. Can you tell us a little bit about its features and why you think it has resonated so strongly with news broadcasters in particular?
IS+ is the ultimate transmission algorithm. It enables TVU One to use less data and combat packet loss so that transmissions occur with virtually zero latency. Our TVU One mobile transmitters aggregate all available data connections – including cellular, 5G, WiFi, Ethernet and satellite – with sub-second latency to transmit broadcast-quality video from any locale. It features the HEVC video compression standard, and it’s 5G-ready now. It can send live, UHD-quality video with sub-second latency at 100Mbps over a 5G cellular infrastructure. It connects natively into our new cloud workflows and monetisation strategies, such as TVU Producer for live video production, TVU Partyline for live production collaboration, and the new TVU Channel cloud-based playout solution.
6. Can you give us a sense of what you are working on now in terms of new solutions?
We’ve built a comprehensive set of microservices that are allowing us to construct Lego-style solutions for our customers. TVU is entering a post-product period in our development where the services we have built can be uniquely assembled to solve new operational and technical challenges. This micro app approach can be compiled into new products like TVU Channel and the new TVU Remote Commentator, which allows sports producers and event organisers to add synchronised, real-time audio commentary using an Internet connection.
With TVU Remote Commentator, on-air talent can join the production from anywhere. The cloud-based videoconferencing platform TVU Partyline allows producers to run a virtual event of any size from a single platform over an IP network, whilst our TVU Anywhere mobile broadcasting app serves as an extension to TVU Partyline, turning a smartphone into high-quality live video delivery device.
But our solutions are no longer relegated to be product-centric. They are evolving at a never-before-seen velocity in innovation that allows us to solve customer challenges in real-time.
7. Finally, what are you most looking forward to about 2022?
That’s very hard to pinpoint into one thing, but I’m very optimistic about the democratisation of media creation and the creative applications we’ll see next year. If 2021 was an indicator of how fast things progress, I believe 2022 could blow the doors off what we’ve seen so far. I’m excited to be a part of a company pushing such a collaborative and innovative approach to media creation.