Which encoder and encoding settings to apply to get proper quality for my videos ?

If you cannot upload your video sources, here are some recommendations to maximize video quality for your intermediate file without requiring too long transcoding process. These are the settings we apply for this demo TV channel


Codec: H264 / AVC

Codec Engine: x264 (as found in Handbrake, Sorenson Squeeze, Telestream Episode, ffmpeg, …)

2 pass-encoding

x264 Preset: slow or slower

H264 Profile: High

H264 Level: 4.x


Reference Frames: 3+

Resolution: 1920×1080 or 1280×720

Interlacing: none (Progressive mode)

Display Aspect Ratio: 16×9

Color Space: 4:2:0

Bitrate: Variable, 5Mbps+ for 720p, 8Mbps+ for 1080p

Framerate: fixed, same as source (or 25 in PAL countries, 30 in NTSC countries if cannot choose same as source)

GOP/default Keyframe period: framerate x 10 (eg 250 for a framerate of 25 fps)/10 seconds


Codec: AAC (Low Complexity)

Bitrate: 256Kbps+

4K content protection cracked: “HDFury, never heard about it” Really ? The myth of content protection

HDFury 4K protection DRM

It seems the whole TV/video industry discovered today that 4K contention has been cracked. Yes, it has been cracked, and long time ago. Yes that means that any iTunes, Netflix or Amazon 4K show can easily be copied, then shared on the internet (public or Tor), even if they have “the best DRM”. It has been cracked for so long, that there have been many devices sold since August 2015 (only a few months after arrival of first supporting devices) to remove that “highly secure HDCP 2.2”. As usual these protections frustate consumers more than pirates. They are asked by people which don’t know anything about content protection but marketing by DRM selling companies, and those DRM selling companies of course never heard about such devices that allow to remove protections. Right, HDFury products for example have been on the market since 2010, and at the time already received coverage in Engadget, a-not-so-famous blog as you might know. They have been created mainly to remove headaches to customers which just want to connect a device to a screen, and which don’t care about which level of protection they have on their screen or monitor, but just want to use it. Sure that also allows to remove any protection, and you just have plug any $99 HDMI capture device to record the stream in pristine quality.

There’s no protection scheme which can avoid copy, no matter how expensive it is. If it’s not cracked now, it will be in a few weeks or months, at best. Thing is though, most, if not all of them, will cause headache to consumers (not being able to watch content on chosen device, doing some casting Chromecast or Apple TV-way). We never promised to provide such a protection to our customers nor we encourage them to take it even if we know it’s useless just to do better margins (content protection is the are where margins are highest in TV industry). If you want a good enough protection (so only proven pirates will circumvent it) and not get customer dissatisfaction with your service, token-based protection is the right one to choose. No compatibility issue and quite affordable. And remember, a paying member is rarely a pirate. It most often come from people having free access, quite often from inside as was shown with Tarantino’s Hateful Eight recently (‘Hateful Eight’ Pirated Screener Traced Back to Top Hollywood Executive)

Oh and they are on sale on Amazon and any electronics shop for years !


Channel in a browser, natural step after Channel in a box in the OTT era

iReplay TV Channel in a browser UI

At iReplay.TV, we like to pitch our service as a Channel in a browser solution. Where does this come from ? In 2012-2013, many “Channel in a box” solutions were unveiled in the TV industry, promising that we don’t need multiple equipments for transcoding, play out and broadcast of a single channel, but making a single 1RU or 2SU servers enough to handle the whole process, making much easier and faster to get a TV channel “on air”. In current years, this idea made progress and the same units can now process multiple channels at once. Still they require space, electricity, network and human resources to maintain, and are still sensitive to hardware failures.

With the progress of HTTP-based broadcasts with OTT, it just makes sense to move the whole process to the cloud, and simply manage one or several TV channels from a web browser. With a paradigm shift about how TV channels could be managed in the OTT era (when delivery is file-based, whole process should be too), iReplay was born from this idea, also keeping in mind that UI was essential in the process to ease operations not only for historical broadcasters, but also for new entrants, pure players embracing the multiple benefits of OTT to get their own TV channel to reach their audience.

Which benefits does it bring compared to the more traditional Channel in a box approach ?

# No hardware/network to maintain nor upgrade, no datacenter management required.

# Remote management: manage your service from any location, any human resource

# Easy operations, no technical expertise required with our optimized web UI: mostly click, drag and drop operations for ingest, live streaming, broadcasting.

# No limit by capacity of hardware: Operate as many channels as you want from a single web interface.

# Compatible with any device with a browser (PC/Mac, tablet, smartphone)

# Compatibility with other cloud tools (such as Telestream Wirecast for production or Wowza for live streaming ingest)

Read more about Channel in a box on TVTechnology’s Benefits of ‘channel-in-a-box’ begin to resonate

Get your TV Channel in a browser demo on iReplay.TV

Worst Case scenario: live streaming from Antartica

Live streaming from Antarctica

Can a live streaming be performed in any condition, and what are limitations ?

Faced to some bad connectivity circumstances (Poor 3G or 4G networks), broadcast between countries or continents with limited peering (eg: between Europe and China), we considered this challenge to broadcast for Wild Touch Expedition from Antarctica to Europe with great interest.

If it’s now easy to perform a live streaming from a smartphone or a mobile transcoder attached to a camera or mixer, main issue is network quality, as usual for OTT (IP broadcast over non managed network). What could be worse that an Internet connection from Dumont d’Urville station in Adélie land ? Not much except areas not covered by any cellular network:

  • Shooting scenes that require hardware which can resist to very low temperatures (such as Streambox transcoder and signal extender), even it is now Spring in Antarctica;
  • Unavoidable latency due to satellite contribution (especially as geosynchronous satellites can not reach poles) and potential satellite link failures;
  • Need for a low latency to be able to chat during live streaming
  • Need to support peak traffic as session would be streamed on partners platforms (Arte, Nikon, BNP Paribas, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, CNRS) but also on Al Gore’s 24 Hours Of Reality  (which was later cancelled due to Paris attacks).

About iReplay’s scope: if we kept adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) as this offers the best reach on all devices (PC, mobile, tablet, TV), we chose a lower “keyframe period” than usual to get both acceptable video quality and latency (due to transcoder/decoder buffers, and necessary segmentation). To reduce latency, a PC/Mac video player with lower latency than standard. Many tests have been performed before actual live streaming, to make sure that prerequisites are satisfied, adapt every transcoder parameter (3 transoders were used. 1 in Antarctica – Streambox – , 1 transcoding satellite feed towards our adaptive streaming server delivering streams for viewers). Despite difficult conditions latency was about 4 seconds on iReplay equipments, making an end-to-end delay of about 11 seconds which is about half of what is seen on most IPTV broadcasts (eg “Direct: décalage, latence et délai en video et TV numérique, idées fausses et explications” for a French IPTV example).

To meet traffic expectations a 2 level architecture has been set up: direct distribution from transcoder/streaming server to avoid latency (CDN will add latency by caching content from origin server before delivering to viewers) for as many users as possible, and Peer to Peer to support connections that can not be supported by origin server during peak hours. As for CDN, P2P is adding latency to playback as players are trying to find other viewers which already downloaded segments, segments which have to be downloaded from other users or streaming server.

As usual for latency, it’s not a real problem for interaction, as interaction has to be done using communication standards (phone, voice over IP/Skype) rather than streaming ones. But even so, latency is still visible on an event in Antarctica.

You can watch live streaming in same conditions as it happened last Friday as recording is coming from streaming server (and not from source) here: http://www.wild-touch.org/liveantarctica-un-duplex-exceptionnel-en-direct-de-lantarctique/. Eventually, experiment was satisfying on the streaming side, even if signal failed for a few minutes on source side during event.

If you want to know more about the expedition, please connect to official website, where you can find many photos and videos. An iMAX movie, exhibition in Lyon and some photo books will be available in 2016.

If you like Luc Jacquet works (famous for his March of The Penguins movie), you can also watch “La Glace et Le Ciel” movie.

DJing – 24×7 thematic TV channels

DJing (pronounce “DeeJaying”) is a music channel specialized in Electronic Music, a genre which is gaining traction especially in Europe, US and Asia during the last years, but it gets little exposure on mainstream TV channels. From beginning, point was to address all screens, all countries, with an easy scheduling so it can be autonomous for days or weeks. After setting up the main 24×7 channel, some custom developments have been made (personalized TV channel) and others are planned in coming months.

Key features

  • Random-weighted schedule for videoclips
  • Startover (playback of current videoclip from beginning)
  • Data-insertion (news and geo-targeted agenda from website)
  • Targeted preroll on live and startover
  • CDN for delivery in Europe, US and Japan
  • Geo-targeted (per country broadcast)
  • For-pay personalization of music TV channel (with option for in-stream custom content)
  • Available natively on desktops, mobile, tablets, plans for Xbox, Roku, Connected TV apps
From concept to production it took less than one month to get first DJing music TV channel up and running on all screens. Personalizing channel in different countries was then a matter of one week additional development and CDN finetuning for delivery. But the most exciting part has been the development of a personalized channel for users wanting to build their own EDM TV channel in less than 2 minutes for their home parties, by selecting their favorite artists. Quite showing the benefits of TV 2.0: on every screen, worldwide, targeted, personalized.