Microsoft Azure Media Services helps broadcasters share cross-device content

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 08 April 2014
Microsoft Azure Media Services helps broadcasters share cross-device content

Microsoft has exhibited how customers and partners in the broadcasting industry are using its technology to reach a vast and diverse customer base at the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas, US.

New capabilities to Microsoft Azure Media Services have been revealed at the event, which takes place from 5-10 April. A new integrated solution for broadcasters using the Skype service  – Skype TX – was also revealed

Broadcasters such as FansChoice.tv and Ooyala are able to focus on content rather than the delivery process thanks to Microsoft Azure Media Services.

FansChoice.tv is a collaboration between American Motorcyclist Association Pro, International Motor Sports Association and NASCAR. It turned to Microsoft Azure to help build and launch a new live-stream capable website, which enabled fans to view live races and access a range of on-demand content across a range of devices.

Ooyala helps broadcasters, operators and media companies develop by harnessing the power of big data. The company recently announced a new strategic relationship with Microsoft to help develop, promote and accelerate the deployment of next-generation internet protocol video services. To achieve this, Microsoft Media Services will be used in conjunction with Ooyala’s web-based video distribution, analytics and monetisation technology.

The cloud is becoming an increasingly favoured way for broadcasters to accelerate content delivery, but security must be prioritised. To help achieve the necessary levels of protection, Microsoft is offering a new license delivery service that helps customers apply Advanced Encryption Standard or PlayReady encryption to their video content.

“Media Services was built to meet the demands of every broadcaster, so organisations of any size, from NBC Sports to UK-based blinkbox, have access to a powerful and scalable cloud platform that grows with their business,” said Susan Hauser, the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group, in a blog post. “A recent example is the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which were delivered to audiences in 22 countries across four continents by broadcasters using Media Services to provide high definition live coverage of every event.”

Microsoft selected the NAB event to announce a new solution for broadcasters, to be made available later this year. Skype TX is a studio-grade software that delivers high-quality audio and video output, helping improve broadcast and media programming to users globally.

The new solution includes call handling management for multiple, simultaneous Skype calls on a single management interface. Skype TX doesn’t have the audio and visual distractions of call notifications and ads, and delivers HD-SDI video output and input. “The convergence of online, digital content and the myriad of new form factors have created new expectations,” said Hauser. “Customers can watch what they want, when they want, where they want on screen sizes from three inches to 80 inches and everywhere in between. Broadcasters need a solution that delivers on all fronts.

“With Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings, media companies can grow advertising and paid subscription revenues by extending the reach of their digital distribution capabilities and their brand, as well as launching new channels and services more quickly,” added Hauser. “They also have control over broadcast quality and the customer experience to create an offering that is consistent with their brand. With products like Skype TX, Microsoft also empowers content development collaboration between journalists and creative staff. In short, Microsoft is providing the tools that help broadcasters achieve their multi-screen broadcasting goals in a profitable, efficient and timely way.”

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