The GridCast technology was designed to address the following challenges that content distributors have faced with existing Internet video solutions:
- How to serve TVs and computers using the same delivery technology
- How to efficiently—and cost effectively—deliver to millions of simultaneous viewers
- How to match or beat the broadcast-quality viewing experience
- How to be "network friendly" for viewers and service providers
- How to enable real "streaming" features such as seek, skip ("trick play"), and delivery across multiple media protocols (including Windows Media, Flash/FLV, Flash H.264, and Silverlight)
- How to co-exist with and support existing CDN delivery
GridCast is a CDN overlay technology with two core components. When combined with a commodity CDN, these components create a scalable, end-to-end system:
- The Grid Streaming Edge, made up of active GridCast Connectors (GCCs). Viewers can install this small, one-time software download onto their PCs or Macs, or it can be embedded in home networking gear or set-top boxes.
In addition to managing multiple simultaneous delivery streams to ensure performance, the GCC also combines those streams into a single delivery stream across any number of media protocols and their associated players and rendering devices, such as UPnP, Windows Media, Flash H.264, and Flash FLV. Any device, TV, or computer that supports these types of media protocols can render video received by the GCC. In essence, the GCC is a viewer's own local streaming proxy server for many devices and software-based video players in the home. It is this functionality, unavailable with traditional progressive download, that enables key cost and network efficiencies. It also provides DVD-like controls to the viewer with an unheard of scaling capability, because the streaming server is local rather than expensively shared among thousands or hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Grid Network Control (GNC) is the nerve center of the GridCast service. Through its Grid Core Routing (GCR) service, GNC is tightly coupled to GridCast Connector (GCC) actions. No GCC can execute a job without authorization from GNC, which in turn was authorized by a content owner. The GCR also provides content routing services to GCCs and can be configured in collaboration with service providers to enhance routing based on topology or other criteria. GNC also hosts other supporting services including transcoding, ingestion and storage, reporting and analytics, and in the near future, dynamic video ad insertion. It is virtually hosted across multiple datacenters in the United States and its architecture is set up to ensure that the failure of any one data center does not interrupt any viewer video play.
Learn more about: