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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 21, 2013

Thomson Upgrades Flextream Video Bandwidth Optimizer

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Thomson (News - Alert) Video Networks has introduced the ability to integrate variable bit-rate data streams within video pools in the Flextream 2.0 for pay-TV companies. Thus, whenever the data bit-rate decreases, Flextream 2.0 automatically reallocates the freed bandwidth to the video, to optimize bit-rate usage within a multiplex.

The Flexstream 2.0 statistical multiplexing technology automatically controls the company's ViBE MPEG-2/4 SD or HD encoders by dynamically allocating video bit-rates according to quality targets and service priorities. The result is the ability to optimize bandwidth utilization and improve video quality, which is a continuous requirement for satellite, IPTV (News - Alert) or cable networks.

Flextream 2.0 also extends this technology to intermittent data streams; instead of reserving a fixed amount of bandwidth within the multiplex for passing these streams, Flextream 2.0 dynamically adapts the video pool bit-rate based on the quantity of data to be transmitted, up to a predefined threshold. Ideal for asynchronous data components or services, Flextream 2.0 supports broadcasting EMM, EPG, and interactive applications such as HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV), system software updates, and playout of VOD programs.

Flextream 2.0 also applies a complementary approach to Opportunistic Data Insertion (ODI). Instead of adapting the data bit-rate to the audio/video services, it adapts the video pool bit-rate to the amount of data to broadcast (up to a predefined threshold). It also comes with monitoring utilities that notify operators when the data streams exceed their maximum allowed bit-rate.

"Flextream 2.0 is the latest example of Thomson Video Networks' ongoing innovation in compression and multiplexing technology, demonstrating our commitment to offering the most cost-effective solutions and delivering the highest video quality," said Eric Gallier, vice president of marketing at Thomson Video Networks.

Flextream 2.0 is available as a software option for Thomson Video Networks' NetProcessor video processing equipment, as well as the company's ViBE EM series of broadcast encoders. Flextream 2.0 can also be deployed easily on existing Thomson headend platforms.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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