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BT, Broadpeak intro multicast tech to enhance network video streaming

UK’s leading network provider teams with content delivery network firm to enhance live video streaming quality and reliability using adaptive bit rate and multicast-assisted unicast delivery technology

BT Group is working with content delivery network (CDN) firm Broadpeak to launch a service for live video streaming that they say will be critical to coping with growing network demand and safeguarding the future of the TV industry.

The news offering is based on BT Group’s Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery (Maud) technology, which aims to improve the viewer experience and increase the efficiency of the complex network journey that content takes to reach them.

Unlike traditional systems-based unicast delivery, Maud technology uses multicast delivery to group single streams into one shared stream, improving content delivery efficiency and reducing costs for broadcasters, CDNs and internet service providers.

A further advantage over “ordinary” multicast streams, according to BT, is that its integration is made completely transparent to the video player application, which means content service providers don’t need to modify their customer apps to take advantage of the technology.

In addition, by using what is said to be up to 50% less bandwidth during peak events, Maud reduces energy usage through the reduction of the number of deployed caches. And by efficiently delivering live video streaming, it allows broadcasters and video service providers to deliver a higher quality of experience. A number of major broadcasters and content companies are trialling the technology throughout 2024.

For its part, Broadpeak is providing BT Group with components to create what the firms say will be the world’s first Maud-enabled network, including its nanoCDN multicast adaptive bitrate (mABR) technology, a widely deployed service across the world for video streaming.

Maud’s architecture is attributed with taking mABR one step further by integrating seamlessly with content provider player applications, eliminating the need to modify customers’ apps.

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The nanoCDN will integrate into BT Group’s consumer smart hub routers and use multicast capabilities to group individual streams together in the network core, before converting them back to unicast at the edge for consumption by player applications on user devices.

“As more live events move online – or to online only – we are seeing a big increase in traffic,” said Howard Watson, chief security and networks officer at BT Group. “Maud is a revolutionary development in how live video is delivered over the internet. It will improve video streaming experiences for viewers, delivering a more reliable, consistent picture and increasing content delivery efficiency for broadcasters and video service providers.

“We’re excited to partner with Broadpeak, a technology provider with a successful track record for multicast ABR innovation and deployments, to leverage their technology as part of the Maud solution,” he added.

Jacques Le Mancq, CEO of Broadpeak, said: “We are very excited to support BT Group with the launch of such an impressive live video streaming initiative. Maud answers the critical requirements for enhanced video quality, simpler content delivery and increased sustainability, making it a game changer for broadcasters and video service providers.”

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