Multicast Technology as Enabler of Your Great Content

Thanks to multicasting and compression techniques such as MP3, today virtually any garage-based start-up can venture into the broadcasting business very cheaply and in a matter of days, without the need for the heavy capital-intensive investments that plagued the industry since it’s birth 120 years ago.

So anybody with a good strategy can seriously become a contender in the high-stakes game of media broadcasting and content providing. If we were to reduce the success factor to one thing then, assuming the garage boys employ the muticast technology which would put them ahead of 95% of the competition out of the gates, it the actual value of the content itself.

It is probably a matter of common sense, but you can have great competitive advantages, but if what you propose is not up to the standards expected by your audience, there is nothing else than blood on your books. Low cost doesn’t mean no cost!

So when the focus turns to content, newcomers must focus on just a few things:

  1. Make the content worth watching/reading/listening to;
  2. Make it unique, in the inimitable sense
  3. Make it specific to the target market segment
  4. Format it appropriately

The first point is self explanatory: make something people want! Second, it must be something people credit you for, and has to become like your trademark. Your audience should know immediately or with little effort that the particular piece of content they are consuming comes from you, or is at least linked with you.

The third point is just a matter of efficient employment of your resources. Make whatever you make ad-hoc for the consumer, narrowing down your target as much as commercially smart. Of course you would like to target the whole world and rely on the law of big numbers for at least some degree of success, but that’s what everybody else is doing, filing miserably…. in reality the more you are bale to tailor your content to a specific niche, the higher the likelihood of getting recognized and appreciated. From that point onwards, it becomes much easier to expand your audience, as long as you do it smartly.

The last point is about how you want to present your product and how you want it to be perceived. The last thing you want is your precious content blocked by some parental control filters like instructed on this website, only because you called the your product in the wrong way (i.e. formatting). It happens many times; as quoted from Forbes, “marketing is not a battle of products: it’s a battle of perceptions“.

 

Staggered Layered Audio Protection

SLAP (Staggered Layered Audio Protection) is Multicast Technologies transport mechanism to reduce the effect of time correlated packet loss on an audio stream. Multiple encodings of a stream are delivered to the client in a time delayed manner.

Consider the following example (XX denotes packet loss).
+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+
160kbps MP3 stream   | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | XX | XX | XX | 6  | 5  |
+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+

Normally, when an MP3 player hits this gap in the stream, there will be an audio defect. However, with SLAP this gap is repaired transparently.

+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+
160kbps MP3 stream   | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | XX | XX | XX | 6  | 5  |
+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+

+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+
32kbps MP3 stream   | 10 | 9  | 8  | 7  | 6  | XX | XX | XX | 2  | 1  |
+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+—-+
As you can see, the packet loss occurs at the same time in both substreams. But, since the second stream was intentionally delayed to compensate for such loss, packets 7, 8, and 9 can all be recovered from the 32kbps substream! This approach not only allows for much better overall data integrity but also for a simpler to manage error-correction protocol and consequently an outstanding signal reliability over the long term.

With SLAP in place, it is finally possible to guarantee a certain level of quality to broadcasters.

For more information on SLAP please review the review IRTF paper available here.