Ritesh Trivedi, Assistant Manager, Viacom 18
Television broadcasting is the transmission of audiovisual contents through terrestrial, direct-to-operator (DTO) and direct-to-home (DTH) – most common is the terrestrial transmission. Television is the most popular electronic medium for entertainment and education for masses. Recently, cloud computing has shown a phenomenal penetration in every aspect of our life. This paper is intended to find out the scope of cloud computing in television broadcasting.
Role of Computers in TV Broadcasting
The major activities involved in TV broadcasting are content collection, editing, and processing of data in a suitable electronic format for transmission over a communication channel. Nowadays, DTOs and media houses develop and manage their digital content in the whole country.
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Scope of Cloud Computing in TV Broadcasting
Generally, a traditional TV broadcaster used to have their infrastructure for content collection, editing, graphics designing, modification, and processing in a suitable electronic format of data suitable for transmission over communication channels, which necessitate a huge capital investment for the installation, operation, and maintenance. Apart from these, it is also necessary to have skilled manpower for managing all these for day-to-day operations and maintenance. For example, in the very first stage of broadcasting, i.e., editing and graphic designing are mainly software based activities, and for this the broadcaster procures the required software and time-based license, which must be renewed after expiry. Cloud computing offers an equal opportunity to meet the challenges of data storage, digital content delivery, and computing capacity for business; hence it enables broadcasting companies to use cloud computing for cost-effective quality IT service. The organization utilizes cloud services which are basically pay-per-use system. Those applications can be accessed and run via a common browser on recommended computers. It is just opposite of installing software program on an individual computer maintained by the broadcaster. It also provides the opportunity to get latest versions of the software since it is automatically done by the cloud service provider. The same can be done in other divisions for their automation, remote monitoring, and control applications. In fact, cloud computing has capability to enable SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS in TV broadcasting.
Cloud Computing and Its Models – SaaS, IaaS, PaaS
DTH uses digital technologies for TV broadcasting, which requires numerous computing. TV channel technical workflow is divided into five divisions as follows:
1. Source and content formation division. This division is intended to collect audiovisual data from different sources like field, studio, etc., and perform all kinds of editing and graphics-related works.
2) Content management division. Main activities of this division are to manage and schedule the content going to be aired.
3. Data compression division. In this part of transmission, chain analog signals are converted into digital signals and encoded into suitable formats of broadcast standards.
4. Satellite communication division. Final stage of transmission from where all audiovisual data are transmitted over satellites.
5. ISMS (integrated subscriber management system) deals with managing the subscriber, authentication, conditional accessing, antipiracy, etc. This is having more significance in CAS (conditional access system) or scrambled channel in DT. Most of the operations in the above-mentioned stages and other auxiliary sub-divisions are computer based; as a result, TV broadcasting requires huge IT infrastructure such as hardware and software for data storage and processing. In India, digitization of cable industry has completed its first phase in four metro cities and the second phase will require more computing facilities in operations
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing, alongside infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service PaaS.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Traditionally, a TV broadcaster keeps his tools and content in local facility, but after introduction of digital technology it is possible to create content in file-based format in spite of the tape format. Cloud-based infrastructure is capable of handling the hardware requirements of TV broadcasters to store these bulky media files. These cloud-based systems are capable of providing regular backup for these large meta data, which
was almost difficult in the traditional manner. Cloud enables running of many virtual machines on one host computer with no real impact on functionality, which leads to huge cost saving in IT infrastructure.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). PaaS provides a computing platform for developing and running software such as operating system, programming language, database, and web server.
These days a number of cloud-based operating systems are available in the market, which can run on Windows or Linux-based computers. Hence the cost saving is quite impressive for cloud deployment apart from other related benefits.
Even though the concept of implementing cloud computing technology in TV broadcast industry is relatively new, examples are found across the globe, showing gradual move in this direction. It is also a matter of fact that cloud-based tools for common business concerns are already in use by the broadcast industry.
The study leads to an affirmative notion about cloud technology in the TV broadcast industry. Cloud-based technology is found ideal for streamlining the routine tasks and serving as an easy-to-use tool for the broadcasters to create and deliver audiovisual contents with maintained quality standards. Apart from that, the cost-benefit analysis shows cost saving of 29 percent for deployment of cloud.