the web GUI), the URL can specify the buffered playback in
several ways: as a measured offset expressed as seconds in the
past (a normal delay); as a timestamp expressed as seconds from
Unix epoch (for example, play back last night’s 7 p.m. stream);
or to a sample dynamic player that allows the viewer to move
through the timeline.
As such, Traffic Saver offers a unique and revolutionary way
of serving time-shifted live streams that can be played with
all native web and mobile players without the need for custom
development or complicated SDKs.
HOW IT’S DONE
It’s just a matter of properly timestamping the segments (woe
to the server operator who doesn’t synchronize to an SN TPD
server)! That, plus a lot of clever coding to serve the right segment
to the right place at the right time!
You might think that sounds ordinary enough, but in fact it’s
a concept recently developed by DVEO—a hybrid server model
with segments coming from the cloud, and a playlist generated
by the Traffic Server. The rules you set for buffering, packaging,
delayed playback, DRM, ads, etc., provide the laws that this
“traffic cop” enforces. We call this “traffic cop” component of
Traffic Server the ATLAS Media Server.
We’ve flowcharted it all in the diagram. The streams are stored
as FMP4 segments (storage can be internal to the media server, or
external, as in an attached network drive). The buffer management
circle in the flowchart represents the process that enables the live
and VOD servers to properly respond to the user requests, usually
in the form of URL parameters, in accordance with the buffer
options the server operator has set. Ads and DRM are shown being
inserted from external servers. External API programming may or
may not set additional options, or may designate segments to keep
to offer again on VOD. The flowchart then shows the streams being
served to viewers, as well to a CDN for further distribution.
FURTHER BENEFITS: WHEN A CACHE
IS MORE THAN JUST A BUFFER
Having the segments organized, timestamped, and properly
“curated” by those intelligent scripts, we also get the following:
• Unified packaging—Since we can store the segment, we
can then add DRM or convert to another format on request
with little stress on the server resources. Did we mention the
development code name for this project was “Traffic Miser?”
And speaking of DRM, you can provide separate encryption
services per stream.
• Storage/CDN Savings—The Traffic Saver creates fmp4
segments (DASH and HLS) from the HLS inputs, converting .ts
segments to fmp4 segments (with or without DRM). We use the
same segment for HLS/.fmp4 and DASH. Not only is less storage
is needed locally, but if you’re for warding to a CDN, you only
need one segment for both HLS and DASH. For a high-volume
stream, that can pay for the Traffic Server many times over.
• Catch-up TV—Combine live/delayed HLS, rewind and fast
for ward … and bingo, the cached segments are already there
waiting to be served.
• Programmability—Like all the DVEO products based on
OnRamp, Traffic Saver has an API. Though normally we delete
the segments when they age past the buffer lifetime, you can
programmatically mark specific times for saving—which
means you can build your own network DVR. And while that is
just an example of how you can use the API to directly work with
the buffers, the API gives you control over the configuration
and operation of all parts of the streaming services. The
documentation to the API provides sample programs.
• Use the saved segments for VOD—Actually, we do that for you
automatically. The VOD server options are right there in the web
GUI. The Traffic Saver efficiently uses the segments for VOD.
Generate your own “Table of Contents” (with the help of the API)
and serve it on the public web server or on your own server.
• Insert “real-time” ads into the buffered playback. Just add
your ad server.
• Offload CDNs for local users—Full control over bandwidth,
etc.; the system can serve thousands of users, and can manage
each stream individually.
• Roll your own CDN—Create pull services from a master copy,
and serve (even add a delay to adjust for local time zones)
from a point closer to the audience.
You can think of Traffic Saver as a packager on steroids
that does heavy lifting like server-side rewind/fast forward
support using only URL parameters, traffic management for
your cloud-based content, offering savings on storage and
potentially huge savings on CDN fees.
As you would expect from a packager, it gives you
customization options for DRM (Verimatrix®, Widevine®, and
BuyDRM™), and serves your streams, including adaptive streams,
to the viewers you need to serve it to. You’ll find the stats, graphs,
and logs that you need to operate the server efficiently.
As IPTV takes over from broadcast, the importance of
providing analogous features so as to bring over the broadcast
holdouts only increases. For those that have already made the
move, every incremental feature differentiates your service from
DVEO® is a strong and well established supplier to leading Telco,
TV/OTT, and WISP operators around the world. We provide telco-quality encoders, decoders, transcoders, ad insertion solutions,
live media servers, and packet recovery technology… all with
support for HLS/fMP4 plus optional H.265/HEVC.