Banish the Spinning Wheel of Death Forever!

If I said to a TV broadcast engineer “I’m going to interrupt your live broadcast signal, freeze the picture, insert a spinning wheel of death, and I’m going to do this frequently and at random” his/her reply would be unprintable! So why has this become acceptable for OTT delivery? The answer is that, until now, there hasn’t been a better solution. We have come to accept that getting “something” to our customers via the Internet is better than nothing. That random de-resolution and freezing are the only way. Despite the fact that the customer isn’t getting what they paid for, or expected. And they’re certainly not getting the best possible picture. In fact, we’re driving them nuts!

The problems are well known. Video has broken the Internet. The current private and public Internet was built for email and web pages. The exponential rise in video was not anticipated. Nor was the exponential rise in picture resolution and quality (4K, HDR, WCG, 8K etc. etc.) Consequently, Telco infrastructure lags significantly. Telco engineers describe it as “threading an elephant through the eye of a needle”. Overlay Content Delivery networks (CDNs) are one attempt to alleviate the problem. Models vary, from servers distributed into Telco exchanges to super-pops blasting from “above”. In the end, as consumer numbers, video views and file sizes rise exponentially, they just add to the problem.

Telco’s are faced with $100’s of millions in investments to upgrade. The argument rages as to who’s “fault” this is and who should pay: content owners or content deliverers. In the mean time, consumers are left peering at fuzzy pictures or screaming at the TV as their beloved movie/TV show freezes at the critical moment and a little spinning wheel says to them “we don’t care enough about you to fix this”.

Well OK that’s a bit harsh. But only a little bit! We would NEVER accept this in broadcast. “Broadcast quality” used to be a by-word for the best possible picture we can deliver. In OTT it has come to mean “the picture we can deliver”. The best solution we had was Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) and that is what everyone adopted. It worked – sort of. There was something else that worked a little too well: BitTorrent. BitTorrent works brilliantly but it has been fatally compromised by the illegal file sharers. But  as the saying goes, “the cure often grows next to the poison.

Secure Peer Assist (SPA) combines the best of peer to peer and top-down CDN and makes it secure. It uses spare capacity in the Telco network switches, PCs and your home network to fix this problem forever. By converting a world’s best practice DASH stream into progressive download, it allows movies and TV to reach your screen in true 4K, 8K and higher HDR video. It does this by sending video “slices” from neighbouring peers and filling the gaps with a top-down CDN. Securely. Multiple garden hoses become a fire hose. It also allows legal file sharing and pre-positioning of content. All of this requires a huge level of trust from content owners. SPA has been approved unconditionally by a major Hollywood studio and deemed novel and inventive by the patent office.

In other words, a better mousetrap now exists. We can now deliver movies over the Internet in all the glorious quality the producers intended. Without interruption. At ANY Internet speed. And there seems to be no limit, at least in the foreseeable future. The platform scales with demand. In fact, it gets MORE efficient as demand grows.

But wait, there’s more! The exact same technology platform also enables delivery and playing of AAA games, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). So now, on one compact, stylish, open platform you can download and play ALL your entertainment. Alongside any app or social media you want. The impossible dream has indeed come true. So “join the resolution” today! Register your interest at http://www.blust.tv/  Coming soon to a retailer near you!

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