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Transforming Video Delivery with Headend Virtualization



Competition is fierce in the broadcast and telecommunications industry. Communication service providers (CSPs) and TV operators are feeling it most. From changing consumer expectations, more mobility, and new over-the-top (OTT) TV services. To stay in the game, they need to offer more choices, on more devices, minimize video payload on their network while keeping their piece of the revenue pie that others are taking from video

The video headend plays a key role in making it all happen. It’s the engine that powers video distribution. It takes in and manages video signals, then processes them for platforms like cable, satellite, Internet, mobile, and IPTV.

Traditional video headends are siloed mixes of dedicated boxes. Since it’s difficult to get pieces from different vendors to work in harmony most operators need a separate video headend to manage each vendor’s equipment. This creates a complex environment as they’ve added new services and technologies over the years.  It’s hard to manage, and even harder to adapt for change.

CSPs and TV operators understand this challenge.  They’re progressing from specialized hardware, and turning to virtualized, automated video distribution systems built on open architecture allowing them the freedom of choice to avoid lockinginto a single vendor platform.
Jun Yamasaki, HPE, presenting at Inter BEE 2017Jun Yamasaki, HPE, presenting at Inter BEE 2017

What’s Behind the Virtualization Revolution?

Avirtualized headend solution lets you take siloed, proprietary hardware out of the equation.  It consolidates software-based media functions such as encoding and transcoding onto a virtualized platform with a single interface to manage, monitor and launch live channels in less time. This allows faster time to market and a flexible, simpler operator experience while adding failover redundancy.

A virtualized approach also sparks innovation. An open architecture with published APIs gives you a platform to develop new capabilities (for e.g. Channel as a Service) that you can roll out quickly, propelling you in front of market changes and meeting new demands.



Virtual Headend Manager demo at Inter BEE 2017Virtual Headend Manager demo at Inter BEE 2017Swisscom Puts Virtualization to Work 

We’re already seeing leading telecommunications providers moving to virtualized solutions. HPE and Swisscom TV announced recently that Swisscom replaced its legacy headend system with the HPE Virtual Headend Manager. Swisscom virtualized the headend manager that processes live TV signals for distribution to Swisscom’s TV network, making it one of the first CSPs to transition to software-based infrastructure running on off-the-shelf hardware.

Get on the Fast Track to Virtualization

CSPs and TV operators need every advantage available to stay competitive in today’s market and therefore must transform to become more agile, efficient and innovative Digital Service Providers (DSPs). To learn more about how a virtual headend solution can help your organization tackle these challenges—and set up new opportunities—check out the “Fast tracking new services with virtual headend” white paper, and come see us at Inter BEE 2017 at Makuhari Mess in Chiba City, Japan.

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About the Author


I offer expertise in the transformation occurring in media and entertainment today due to the digital explosion and consumer demands for media everywhere and anytime.

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