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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] How The Winter Olympics Were Streamed Online

    Dan Rayburn | Monday March 17, 2014

    Last week hosted a webinar with Microsoft and iStreamPlanet talking about the backend technology and platforms that powered the online streaming of the Winter Olympics.

    During the Q&A portion of the event, the companies gave out details on server technology, protocols, encoding bitrates, transport services and other pieces of information. Below are their answers to some of the most frequently asked questions during the webinar.

    Q&A With Microsoft & iStreamPlanet

    Question: How many peak concurrent connections were recorded during the Sochi Olympics?

    NBC Sports hasn’t officially confirmed their peak concurrent viewership numbers, but the New York Times did report that the USA vs. Canada men’s hockey game viewership peaked at 850,000 concurrent viewers before the end of the game.

    Question: What was your highest & lowest bit rate per device?

    The highest bit rate was 3.5 Mbps (1280×720) and the lowest bit rate was 200 kbps (340×192). Alex Zambelli’s blog contains additional information about the Olympics encoding specifications.

    Question: How many total GBs of live video were delivered from opening to closing ceremonies?

    NBC Sports reported that 10.8 million hours of streamed video were consumed during the Sochi Winter Olympics, of which 80% were live streams consumed via and NBC Sports Live Extra apps. Those numbers are cumulative and NBC hasn’t officially stated how many hours or gigabytes of video were actually delivered.

    Question: What is the latency you have for the live streaming?

    Latency depends on multiple variables in the workflow, including the geographical distance between the content acquisition and the content delivery, the encoding buffer size, the duration of the media segments (fragments), CDN caching and edge structure, and the player buffer duration. Typical end-to-end latency observed in HTTP-based adaptive streaming can range anywhere between 15 seconds to over a minute.

    Question: Why use Flash Player and not Silverlight since you guys used Windows Azure Media Services?

    The customer will often determine the playback platforms and formats and in this case NBC Sports chose Adobe Primetime and Flash for the client experiences. Both Aventus and Windows Azure Media Services are capable of delivering live video in multiple HTTP-based adaptive streaming formats, such as Smooth Streaming, HDS and HLS.

    Question: What kind of redundancy was used to ensure that feeds continued streaming despite any technical failures?

    There were multiple levels of redundancy built into every aspect of the live video workflow, from the content acquisition to the content delivery. A few examples: content was acquired via IP over fiber networks but for key events satellite back up was ready. iStreamPlanet replicated the streams at Switch SuperNAP and sent them to Azure U.S. East and West data centers for geographical redundancy. Finally, within each data center Aventus used full VM redundancy to ensure uninterrupted publishing even in the case of partial channel failures.

    Question: Can you give us some detail about the transport services necessary to convey the live streams from ingest to CDN?

    The live feeds from Sochi were delivered over a private IP network from Sochi Olympics Broadcasting Services (OBS) to NBC’s facility in Stamford, CT; to iStreamPlanet’s data center at Switch SuperNAP in Las Vegas, NV; and to Microsoft’s Windows Azure U.S. East and West data centers.

    Question: What is the orchestration layer used to deploy and configure additional channel instances in the cloud?

    Aventus has built in orchestration layer to deploy and launch Aventus channels while the details of the Azure cloud orchestration layer used to launch Window Azure Media Services channels will be made available when Windows Azure Media Services officially launches their Live service.

    Question: How much consideration is given to content protection/DRM and how is it achieved?

    Our customers give a lot of thought to content protection and content security since most of the content we stream is considered premium content. Aventus supports PlayReady DRM and AES-128 encryption although NBC Sports chose not to use these technologies for live streaming the Olympics. NBC Sports used CDN token authentication in addition to TVE authentication to prevent unauthorized access to video streams.

    Question: What KPIs were used in the monitoring? Was the dashboard simply viewed by humans?

    Both Aventus and Windows Azure Media Services relied on their own telemetry systems, respectively, to monitor system performance. Due to the high profile nature of the event additional human monitoring was provided by iStreamPlanet and Microsoft operations teams.

    Question: Where were the ad triggers inserted (SCTE?) and did the player insert ads or the stream leaving the cloud? Was Freewheel the ad insertion tool?

    iStreamPlanet built a video CMS tool used for ad insertion. Ad markers were inserted into encoded streams via Aventus web-based API, and converted to HLS and HDS-compatible ad markers by Windows Azure Media Services. Ad insertion was then performed client-side by the respective player apps.

    Question: What was the origin encoder at iStreamPlanet? Elemental? Cisco Media Processor? Digital Rapids?

    None of the above. The Olympics video feeds were ingested and transcoded to multiple bitrates and packaged into Smooth Streaming for delivery to Windows Azure using iStreamPlanet’s proprietary video encoding solution Aventus. Aventus is a cloud-based live video encoding solution, built for the cloud from the ground up, capable of delivering live events and live linear channels in a scalable fashion while utilizing commodity x86-64 hardware.

    Question: How was Android supported? Was RTSP in the mix for the native android browser or was HLS in Chrome utilized or was an app solely relied on?

    Android was supported via a Google Play store app which consumed HLS streams.

    Question: What server technology was used to deliver the live multiprotocol streams?

    Windows Azure Media Services was used to dynamically remux video into Apple HLS and Adobe HDS format for delivery to compatible devices.

    Question: What processing is done at Switch?

    In the case of the Olympics the streams were aggregated and replicated at the Switch SuperNAP data center and then sent to Azure U.S. East and West for processing. iStreamPlanet also uses Switch SuperNAP for hosting its own private Aventus SaaS offering.

    Question: Was there a way to prevent viewers from recording live or on demand content?

    Using content protection solutions such as PlayReady DRM it is possible to restrict media playback to only secure playback platforms over certified output paths (e.g. HDCP/HDMI). This type of content protection was not used by NBC Sports for streaming the Sochi Olympics.

    Question: Was this technology used solely for NBC or was it the streaming infrastructure for all global streaming (i.e. CBC in Canada, Network Ten in Australia, etc)?

    iStreamPlanet Aventus was used solely for NBC Sports live streaming video coverage of the Sochi Olympics.

    Question: What device or appliance was used to deliver the video from NBC Sports Stamford to iStreamPlanet?

    NBC Sports used Ericsson video encoders to create broadcast-quality MPEG-2 Transport Streams for delivery to iStreamPlanet.

    Question: Where there any major issues or failover situations during the games? I know the infrastructure was built to span multiple datacenters for redundancy.

    The solution performed extremely well and there were no failovers required, however, the solution was architected to fail over to new VMs and servers with minimal to no interruption to the streams.

    Question: What kind of CMS was used and how do they relate to each other?

    iStreamPlanet worked with NBC Sports to create a custom CMS for the Olympics to perform ad and slate insertion. Other CMS solutions were used by NBC Sports to manage live and on-demand video assets.

    How The Olympics Were Streamed Online: Q&A With Microsoft & iStreamPlanet - Dan Rayburn -
    Última edição por 5ms; 17-03-2014 às 15:16.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    10.8 Million Total Hours of Online Video Delivered during 2014 Olympic Winter Games

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Akamai Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, was integral in helping NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, deliver a massive 10.8 million hours of online video as part of its production of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Akamai provided high-definition video streaming, site performance and security services to support NBC Olympics’ mammoth 18-day undertaking from Sochi last month.

    More than 8.5 million hours of video was consumed through “TV Everywhere” authenticated live streams on and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. According to NBC Olympics, its live stream of the USA vs. Canada men’s semifinal hockey game on Friday, Feb. 21, generated more than 2.1 million unique users, which it believes is the most-watched authenticated stream for any Internet event.

    “We were pleased with the performance of Akamai’s digital media, site performance and security solutions, and the role they played in helping us present an unprecedented Winter Olympics experience across platforms and devices,” said Rick Cordella, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “We set numerous streaming and online user records over the course of the Games and resoundingly demonstrated the ability to enable millions of viewers to watch all Winter Games competitions when they chose, on any screen they wanted.”

    “Our work in helping NBC Olympics deliver the Sochi experience is a testament to the scale and reach of Akamai’s Intelligent Platform and the viability to stream live and on-demand video from events around the world at high quality to connected devices of all types,” said Bill Wheaton, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Media Division, Akamai. “We are proud to have been a part of NBC Olympics’ Sochi digital experience and to have helped viewers enjoy the most comprehensive presentation of a Winter Olympics to date.”

    NBC Olympics leveraged Akamai’s Ion site performance technology to help a Winter Olympics-record 61.8 million unique users enjoy fast, personalized experiences when visiting its digital properties during the Winter Games. Ion’s acceleration and optimization capabilities make real-time decisions based upon the requirements and complexity of the given connectivity and situation, helping to deliver positive, reliable experiences across devices, browsers and networks, even during peak usage times.

    To help protect against defacement and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are particularly common during high-profile events such as the Winter Games, NBC Olympics implemented Akamai’s Kona Site Defender. A cloud-based site and web application security solution, Kona is designed to help prevent defacement, data theft and downtime, and mitigate DDoS and SQL injection attacks by extending the security perimeter beyond the data center. NBC Olympics did not report any compromises in the performance of its digital properties as a result of malicious traffic during the course of the Winter Games.

    To learn more about how NBC Olympics leveraged Akamai in its digital production of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, sign up for the free, live webinar, “Delivering Events of Olympic Proportions,” featuring speakers from NBC Olympics, IDC Research and Akamai. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 25th, at 12 P.M. EST.

    Akamai media delivery solutions helped more than 25 broadcasters worldwide deliver live and on-demand video from Sochi, continuing the work it has done with Summer and Winter Olympic Games rights-holders since 2004. For more information about Akamai’s work on the Sochi Games, visit

    Akamai is showing its full range of digital media storage, processing and delivery solutions at the 2014 NAB Show, booth SL4525, in Las Vegas, April 7-10. Demonstrations will underscore how live and on-demand online video content, including 4K, can be delivered at the quality and scale necessary to meet increasing consumer demands and expectations.
    Akamai Helps NBC Olympics Reach Record Digital Audience

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