When broadcast meets computers
At a glance
|We provide broadcasters and network operators with broadcast-grade equipments using commodity hardware. We also offer services around our solutions.|
|2014-03-18|2014-03-20: OpenHeadend staff will be at TV Connect in London. Please contact us to schedule an appointment!|
|2014-01-15: OpenHeadend firmware version 3.1 is now available for production. It adds the transmit function, which allows to uplink a channel via one or several standard ADSL/SDSL link, and fixes bugs with ATSC support, snapshots, and the remux function.|
|2013-12-01: OpenHeadend firmware 3.0 is now available for production. It adds plenty of features, including the support for DVEO DVB-ASI input cards, source-specific multicast, ramdisk storage link, forward function, and a "proxy" (transcoding to low resolution) and snapshot feature in the file extraction panel. It also brings the traditional bug fixes.|
|2013-09-17: OpenHeadend was at the IBC 2013 and would like to thank all visitors. See you at IBC 2014 !|
|2013-09-11: OpenHeadend firmware 2.2 is released. It adds the much anticipated "remux" function along with transcoding to MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-1 layer II and AAC.|
|2013-05-21: OpenHeadend firmware 2.1 is released. It adds an exciting new "hint" function allowing to match a reference video sequence inside a circular file node in real time. It also adds the ability to check for still video frames in the monitor function, and the support for ATSC tuners in the demux function.|
|2013-03-21: We would like to thank all visitors of the TV Connect event in London.|
|2013-03-08: We have now released screencast tutorials to help you understand the features of the OpenHeadend server platform. They are available in the Services tab.|
The OpenHeadend platform allows to build equipments for broadcasters and network operators, designed to replace complex stacks of proprietary, expensive and closed professional equipments. Our areas of expertise include IPTV, catch-up TV and HbbTV. OpenHeadend systems can replace and combine:
|satellite or terrestrial reception, DVB to IP, with filtering on service ID and/or PIDs|
|play-out automation of files or directory, with or without playlists|
|IP video grid and monitoring with automatic switchover, supporting detection of missing PIDs or tracks, bad signal quality and still frames (configurable)|
|digital recorder with an innovative web interface allowing to preview and cut extracts (typically used for catch-up TV)|
|timeshifting server with configurable delay and support for daylight savings time|
|IPTV transcoder from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 AVC|
|HbbTV® test equipment, feeding the given transport stream file with a configurable AIT to a television set, using a DVB-T modulator|
Besides, our unique sequence recognition algorithm also allows you to detect a given sequence (ads, jingles, credits, etc.) within a live stream.
Flexible licensing model
Our system runs on standard PCs, that boot off our USB dongle (no installation required). Licenses are attached to the dongle: you only pay for the features you use!
Our unique workflow view allows to configure and run several functions on the same equipment.
Our systems run on any PC-compatible platform with a 64-bit CPU and a classic BIOS. We usually work with rack servers from well-known brands such as Dell® and HP®, but custom platforms should work too. We also have support for UEFI booting mode (and Apple® platforms).
We can recommend standard expansion boards (PCI, PCIe or USB) to use for certain features such as DVB or ATSC tuners. OpenHeadend equipments can also attach network storage using NFS or CIFS.
Please contact us for more information
We provide our customers with services related to our products:
|help determining the appropriate hardware configuration, including equipments and expansion boards (optionally we can also order and build the equipment ourselves)|
|installation and configuration|
|customization (specific development)|
As part of our training activity, we have released on Youtube the following tutorials that explain our to configure an OpenHeadend equipment:
|Demux tutorial: http://youtu.be/30OXads5OxU|
|Playout tutorial: http://youtu.be/Y9vkLy4iQo8|
|Monitor tutorial: http://youtu.be/H7vR4LpjcmA|
|Record tutorial: http://youtu.be/wgMgDRPNofA|
|Hint tutorial: http://youtu.be/xf7JJh2dkhI|
OpenHeadend has been created by long-term experts in both computing and broadcasting, in order to precede the major trends of the industry:
|IP technologies are increasingly replacing traditional broadcast connections. New TV head-ends are using Ethernet connections between encoders, multiplexers and gateways, in place of DVB-ASI. Most equipments also can be configured via IP (sometimes with extra costs).|
|PC hardware is cheaper, and becoming more reliable and more powerful than any custom design. Lots of vendors already base their platforms on an Intel™ motherboard (though they wouldn't admit it!).|
|Needs have evolved, and many customers do not use a lot of the features of a particular hardware platform (which they have paid for, though), and other features require additional equipments. OpenHeadend has a license-based model so you don't pay for a feature you do not use, and hardware is modular so you don't buy the interface card you don't need.|
|Professional workflows are becoming more and more complex, and require to stack lots of equipments performing single tasks. OpenHeadend solutions allow several processes to cohabit within the same, well-dimensioned, hardware; you can for instance demultiplex a DVB stream and transcode one of the service to MPEG-4, without the need for an SDI output.|
|Smart phones and tablets are increasingly popular and provide a friendlier user-interface than the traditional front panels arrows and small LCD screen. OpenHeadend products are able to create wireless configuration networks on the fly.|
OpenHeadend broadcast solutions can run on any supported PC hardware with optional input or output boards (DVB-S/C/T/ASI, SDI/HD-SDI, HF modulation, etc.). Customers may choose between buying individual hardware components from various vendors, along with OpenHeadend licenses, or purchasing an all-included product from us. Though our solutions are mostly software-based, they behave exactly as professional equipments would; in particular the low-level operating system is self-administered and is never accessible to the end-user.
Equipments are accessible for configuration or maintenance with an innovative Web 2.0 interface, or legacy SNMP commands. The components of an OpenHeadend solution are handled in a generic way, and classified into four categories:
|Links are raw inputs and outputs of your system: Ethernet cards, DVB-S tuner, SDI output card, hard drive...|
|Nodes are instances of inputs or outputs, referring to links: multicast addresses, satellite transponder, file on hard drive...|
|Functions represent the transformation process between nodes: demux, playout, monitor, record...|
|Operations allow configuring extra features of a particular function: demux of a SID to a node, inserting a logo while transcoding, adding an input to a PID to watch to a monitor function, etc.|
For instance a typical workflow, with channel acquisition, fallback playout, recording and timeshifting, would be:
OpenHeadend products support the following inputs and outputs (links):
|Network interfaces (IPv4): Ethernet, wireless LAN and 802.1q VLAN interfaces|
|DVB input cards, including DVB-S, S2, C and T, with or without conditional access modules, supported by the linux-dvb project|
|DVB-ASI input cards, from DVEO|
|Storage, including local hard drives and NAS using NFS or CIFS|
and node types:
Net nodes are unicast or multicast IPv4 addresses, bound to a network interface.
Net nodes can be remotely viewed or captured within the Web 2.0 interface.
DVB nodes allow the configuration of a transponder (frequency, symbol rate, etc.), bound to a DVB link.
The Web 2.0 interface can also be used for scanning all known frequencies, or accessing the MMI menus of a CAM module.
File nodes are bound to a specific storage area.
Within the Web 2.0 interface, it is possible to view or capture the whole or part of the file. Also it is possible to delete or replace the content of the file.
Circular file nodes
Circular file nodes are a specific file format allowing to record a stream 24/7, with automatic expiration.
Extracts can be viewed or captured from the Web 2.0 interface, which is useful for catch-up TV acquisition.
Directories are used to store TS files.
They can act as the output of extraction jobs. They can also serve as inputs to the playout function.
Nodes can be processed through the following functions:
Demux functions can take a DVB or net node as input, and dispatch components to net nodes.
Components can be filtered using service IDs or PIDs.
The whole transponder can also be forwarded to a net node.
Monitor functions can take a net node as input, check several characteristics of a stream, and decide whether to send the input or a fallback net node to an output net node.
Characteristics to check may include bitrate, presence of a specific PID, presence of a number of elementary streams of a given type, or presence of video frames (which are not still frames).
Playout functions choose from a number of input files which one to forward to the output net node.
Playout operations have a rank which decides in which order to play the files; transitions are seamless on an IP level (PIDs should be identical in all files and GOPs should be closed at the beginning and end of each file).
Alternatively, a playout function may also take a single circular node as input, with a given timeshifting delay.
Record functions take a net node as input, and record the live stream to a file or a circular file node.
Hint functions take a circular file as input, that represents a live stream. Hint operations then try to find reference video sequences (as file nodes) within the live stream, and marks them in the structure of the circular file. Such marks can then be used to improve the EPG data in the file extraction window.
Remux functions remultiplex a TS stream into a new TS stream, allowing to transcode some elementary streams in the process. Currently, remultiplexing from MPEG-2 video, MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-1 layer II and AAC ADTS are supported. Transcoding to MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-1 layer II and AAC ADTS are proposed.
Forward functions copy an input net node to an output net node. They are handy for multicast/unicast conversions.
A pair of transmit output/transmit input functions allows to send a TS stream in unicast between two machines, using one or several links and (optionally) packet retransmission (typically used for stream contribution over public Internet).
In addition, jobs such as configuration change or file extraction can be executed at certain times using schedules (punctual or periodic).