Azure Cloud transcoding and streaming workflow, powered by PERSEUS™

Azure Cloud transcoding and streaming workflow, powered by PERSEUS™

This post was co-authored by Roberta Cambio and Fabio Murra at V-Nova, together with Anil Murching and Vito Flavio Lorusso at Microsoft. Our thanks to Daniele Sparano and Anna Silberman at V-Nova for creating the decoder MFT, to Nick Drouin and Jit Gosh at Microsoft for their assistance, and to Rick Chappelle and Tony Huang at Imagine Communications for helping put together the Zenium components.

Microsoft Azure has demonstrated its readiness to serve as the cloud-based live encoding, hosting and streaming platform for events as large as the recently concluded Rio Olympics. As demand for premium video services on all platforms (mobile, tablet, gaming console, …) explodes, there is a need to ensure that transcoding and delivery of video using Microsoft Azure is performed in the most efficient way. One of the avenues that we are pursuing is the deployment of compression technologies that can reduce bottlenecks typically associated with delivery of video over IP.

V-Nova PERSEUS™ is an encoding software solution that enables video to be transported and stored faster and more cost effectively.

PERSEUS™ is software-based and designed from the ground-up to offer a step-change in overall performance, reducing the bandwidth requirements for video storage and transmission. PERSEUS is a codec format designed to be inherently hierarchical, a natural way to encode information and one that leverages the massive parallel processing capabilities of a cloud service such as Microsoft Azure. In doing so it sidesteps the complexity of block-based compression algorithms, also avoiding their inherent blocky artefacts.

PERSEUS compression allows higher resolution detail to be carried on top of existing video delivery formats and is entirely scalable for upcoming, higher resolutions.

Through deployments such as FastFilmz, PERSEUS has already been demonstrated to enable premium video services that would not otherwise be viable.

In this post, we will present an on-demand streaming workflow on Azure Media Services leveraging PERSEUS from V-Nova.

The PERSEUS streaming workflow

Today, a live and on-demand multiplatform streaming workflow can be built on Azure Media Services to stream to a Windows 10 device with the click of a few buttons (or a few lines of code.) This same proven platform and set of APIs can be used along with a technology provider like V-Nova to provide a PERSEUS-enabled service to your customers. Such a workflow could have the following components:

  1. Transcoding and packaging of mezzanine files using Imagine Communication’s SelenioFlex powered by PERSEUS
  2. Streaming of the resultant MP4 files from Azure Media Services
  3. Playback of the content on PERSEUS-enabled Windows 10 devices, e.g. Surfaces, laptops and Xbox

The integration of PERSEUS plug-ins into the workflow is equally as easy. An encoder plug-in is added to the Imagine Communication SelenioFlex transcoding engine running on a virtual machine. Playback is achieved through the PERSEUS Windows Runtime Component, containing the PERSEUS Decoder, which has been integrated into the Video Playback sample universal app available on the Microsoft Developer Network.

This shows how only a few added code lines and the embedding of the PERSEUS Windows Runtime Component allows virtually any Windows App to support PERSEUS video. As an alternative solution, the PERSEUS Decoder is also available from V-Nova as a Media Foundation Transform DLL that, once installed in Windows 10, can enable any existing MFT-aware (Media Foundation Transport) desktop player application to support PERSEUS.

The benefits of PERSEUS adoption for OTT video services have already been described in a report by informitv. A PERSEUS-enabled live and on-demand streaming workflow powered by Microsoft Azure delivers the following additional advantages to broadcasters and telco operators who struggle with bandwidth-constrained scenarios:

  • Better quality of experience. Lower data rates mean many more users able to benefit from a full 1080p HD experience across all of their Windows 10 devices. It also means lower impact on mobile data bundles for each program or movie streamed. This has been shown to unlock latent demand, encouraging users to consume more video due to the improved accessibility and quality-of-experience (QoE).
  • Reduction of costs. The reduction in data rate, especially for the highest profiles, provided by PERSEUS represents a material improvement in network efficiency for the service provider without impacting visual quality. The net results can be lower streaming costs and buffering for PERSEUS streams delivered through Microsoft Azure Media Services.
  • Ultimate flexibility. Leveraging the power of the cloud, PERSEUS services can be rolled out progressively and selectively to the devices in those applications scenarios that require it the most, e.g. mobile devices on unreliable networks. PERSEUS inherent retro-compatibility ensures that the playback capabilities of all other devices is not affected.

If you would like more information on deploying a PERSEUS-enabled solution for your video service, email Also, come visit us at the IBC 2016 show, September 9-13 at the Microsoft booth MS1 in Hall 15 or the V-Nova booth in Hall 14 booth K17.