Just three weeks ago, MediaKind defied doubters as its tentacles wrapped further around the Deutsche Telekom contract with wins in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and this week the rebranded Ericsson Media Solutions business has come out claiming a world first – streaming a multi-channel 6K 360-degree live basketball match for the German operator.
Given the fragility of certain areas in the video ecosystem today, of which VR is arguably the single most overhyped and underperforming market of the bunch, we see MediaKind’s emphasis on these technologies as an unnecessary flexing of muscles as opposed to a genuinely significant breakthrough. We say that simply because no network in the world could currently support such a feat at scale. Although, as is often reiterated here at Faultline Online Reporter, we would love for MediaKind to prove us wrong and make some serious marks on emerging markets like 360-degree video.
MediaKind’s virtualized software-based encoders powered the 360-degree live encoder, hosted on Google Cloud and available to users of the Magenta VR app in Germany, while Magnum Film handled production and on-site acquisition. But it was the mention of Dutch firm Tiledmedia which really caught our attention, with MediaKind saying the announcement bears the first fruit from an 18-month long project with Tiledmedia, using its ClearVR SDK to support low latency streaming.
This is interesting as MediaKind was only formed less than six months ago, so for over a year Tiledmedia has been secretly working with Ericsson Media Solutions and this implies MediaKind is more advanced when it comes to VR technologies than we had initially suspected. Tiledmedia brings together its ClearVR SDK with ClearVR Cloud and ClearVR Packager, creating ClearVR streams for customers who don’t want to build their own encoding chain. ClearVR Cloud takes a stitched VR360 or panoramic video title as input, then splits this into tiles, encodes it and packages it for CDN delivery. For its software streaming library to operate, it requires specially packaged containers of VR360 or panoramic content to be placed on a CDN.
A technological absence of note is AWS Elemental, which we have always assumed to be the work horse behind Deutsche Telekom’s old Entertain2Go service and therefore also powering the IPTV and OTT versions of its EntertainTV platform, both of which were recently rebranded to Magenta TV. Unfortunately, AWS Elemental has never admitted its involvement at Deutsche Telekom despite our advancements and MediaKind also refused to comment.
MediaKind says the DevOps approach to deployment and operation used its software-based probes to monitor every point of data traffic flow and cloud processing operation, creating customizable and detailed operational dashboards using common cloud visualization tools. It also handled orchestration to deploy, scale, and tear-down the entire public cloud-based 360-degree live encoder workflow as needed.
Magenta VR launched last year as part of an effort with Digital Domain for developing XR, MR, AR and VR experiences, including licensing and production of exclusive content, although the US visual effects company has been mysteriously left off this week’s press release. We have again reached out to MediaKind for clarification but the company’s promise to follow up our queries has been consistently unreliable.
The event itself involved Deutsche Telekom’s T-Labs research unit hosting a multi-camera live stream of a match between Telekom Baskets Bonn and EWE Baskets Oldenburg from the Telekom Dome in Bonn.
Angel Ruiz, CEO, MediaKind said, “Consumers are always seeking new ways to experience their favorite sports content. Through the rapid evolution of 360-degree technology, we have the potential to push boundaries and take the consumer to the heart of the game itself. The success of this world first live sport event using 6K 360-degree video with ClearVR tiled format is a major milestone for our team of engineers and our partners who turned this around in a short space of time. This demonstration encompasses MediaKind’s singular goal: to enable our customers to create and efficiently deliver immersive media experiences.”