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Caribbean's mobile TV system begins

Jamaica certainly has a lot to offer, but one thing it has lacked is a mobile TV service, until now that is. LIME has been working to create a mobile option in the Caribbean for some time now, and it officially launched at the end of last year. LIME is the Caribbean's largest telecommunications business in the region, covering all 13 countries and is part of one of the world's biggest communication providers, Cable & Wireless Communications PLC. Its mission to provide mobile TV to the area came down to aligning with a leading-edge encoding process, and that's where Envivio came in.

Envivio has spent decades fine-tuning its video convergence options and is no stranger to mobile, as its systems deliver direct to hundreds of different hardware devices, producing multiple millions of streams. Envivio's 4Caster C4 multiprofile video encoder is proving to be essential in deploying the LIME TV mobile service to the Caribbean region.

Envivio's 4Caster C4 video encoder offers options that make for an excellent fit with content provided by LIME. Not only does it directly support existing streaming technologies already in place, such as Microsoft Silverlight Smooth Streaming, Adobe Dynamic Streaming, Apple iPhone Adaptive Streaming and 3GPP Bitrate Switching Streaming (BSS), it also incorporates all current technologies, including DVB-H, DVB-SH, CMMB, ATSC Mobile DTV, 3GPP, 3GPP2 and the old standby, plain old HTTP streaming. The 4Caster C4 was important to LIME for the preprocessing options that it supported — we all know that taking a raw network feed and shaping it up for mobile is where a lot of encoders stand or fall. The unit offers a lot of the current options for output including spatial denoising filters, deinterlacing, brightness, hue, contrast and dynamic audio level adjustment.

Envivio's Antonio Llona says the 4Caster C4 performs encryption and provides statistical rate control without requiring additional external devices. This simplifies the headend design, lowers initial investment and lowers operational cost. In addition, the Envivio 4Manager Video Headend Management System allowed LIME to monitor remotely, as the headend is in a building not owned by LIME

LIME initially decided to implement a low-end, low-cost solution, but it quickly realized that approach would not work. Envivio then provided a demo system for LIME to test, and almost immediately was put on the air for live broadcast. Quickly after, LIME placed an order with Envivio for the headend, and the low-cost devices were replaced with an integrated 4Caster C4 and 4Manager system.

C4 features downscaling and cross-scaling, with options for SD to HD and HD to SD, as well as HD to HD. Aspect ratio comes into the mix with SD content, HD content and of course mobile device screen sizes. The C4 can do it all dynamically, however it does have a manual override as well. Most networks lock in their aspect ratios from the start and rarely change them on a live feed level, so the C4 can accommodate appropriately. One key advantage is that the 4Caster C4 encoder was directly compatible with LIME's offering of mobile devices. LIME offers a range of handsets, most notably the ZTE N290 and the Nokia 5330, and obviously compatibility was key in working with Envivio.

The end result worked, and with LIME and Envivio, the Caribbean mobile TV revolution has officially begun.