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Ziggo: Video on Demand

Video On Demand, it appears so simple. But before a film comes onto the screen of the viewer by pressing one simple button, a lot of technique is required behind the scenes. Our Digital Services department organizes this.

On Demand files should comply with certain video specifications in order to stream them without problems. And that is the problem: there are numerous different types of files and structures in which film material is provided.

Want to get in contact?

Do you have a question or do you want information?
Get in contact with:

Guido  van de Walle
  • Guido van de Walle
  • Manager Postproduction & Digital Services
  • sales@united4all.nl
  • +31 357733100

Ziggo: Video on Demand

Video on Demand (VOD)

For many years, United Digital Services has been processing films for the online Video On Demand platform from Ziggo. Taking full care is what we do for them. As soon as Ziggo has concluded a contract to broadcast certain titles, United Digital Services facilitates everything to ensure that the viewer can watch the films correctly.

This starts with the obtaining films from the relevant distributors. Once obtained, it is first checked whether the film file is complete and equipped with all audio channels. In brief: if it is working correctly. Subsequently the file is converted to the correct video specifications for the platform of Ziggo. An example of what we do is compressing the heavy files. An average film easily ‘weighs’ 150GB and is converted to a file of about 13GB without losing any quality.

Metadata and subtitles

Next, the metadata is being processed. This consists of, among others, the names of the actors, a short description of the story line, the rental price and the license date. All information the viewer should be able to review before he/she decides to watch the film. This metadata is provided in a certain structure in a ready-made package, so the Ziggo's database can read it.

Subtitles are often provided separately. Sometimes it happens that these are not synchronized with the film. This can have various causes, but it is United Digital Services’ task to solve it. Subsequently the subtitles are ‘hardcoded’ into the film file and checked. It is also checked whether the audio is correctly synchronized with the images. If that is ok, it is ready for broadcasting and the complete package can be sent to Ziggo.

More complicated than it looks

Good. That was the simple version. In practice this process is rather complicated. That is because film files are not all provided in the same format. Except that a part is provided via internet, some files are provided on a hard drive or via tape. There is a large variety in file types and to make it even more complex, Ziggo makes use of multiple product structures. Therefore, the films should be distributed in multiple file types.

This is because Ziggo has merged with UPC. Some users use different Set Top Boxes (STB), the box that is connected to the television. And these distinct boxes ‘speak’ a different language. So although the film and associated metadata remains the same, the file format varies in which the file should be delivered per STB. There is no room for mistakes here, otherwise the film will not come onto the screen.United Digital Services automates this process as much as possible. “Therefore, we are able to process very large quantities simultaneously and deliver them in a uniform way, with minimal risk of mistakes” tells project manager Marnix Versteeg. “Automation enables us to quickly process content, against a competitive price.”

VOD: Doing it right the first time

All required software is built in-house. Marnix: “Therefore, we are very flexible to make adjustments. Plus, we build the technique based on the principle first time right. We use the most efficient workflow, where we incorporate the future as much as possible. When were started to build the software for tvod – to rent one film for the amount of X – we already could see that there would be a demand for svod – unlimited viewing for a fixed amount per month.”

“The data flows of tvod and svod vary enormously. Among others, different requirements to the metadata of the films come into play, but also the workflow behind it. When we built the tvod system, we set it up in a way that we could prepare it for svod by making small adjustment. We always look for opportunities to further improve our processes and to maintain a high quality standard. “

Want to know more?

Curious what United Digital Services can do for you? Please contact us via sales@united4all.nl or 035-7733100

United Digital Services

  • Processes 400 titles per month
  • arranges 4,500 distributions per month
  • Processes 1.75 million files per year (videos, poster, metadata, etc.)
  • Works for Ziggo, KPN, Cineart, Lumiere, Tele2, NPO, Vodafone, HBO, Online, Orange, Ajax TV, Premiere TV, Proximus and many others.
  • Enables connections with more than 100 platforms, including Belgacom, Film1, FOX, Mobistar, Netflix, Pathé, RTL Videoland and RTL XL, SBS, Star TV, VRT, XBOX and YouTube.

Want to get in contact?

Do you have a question or do you want information?
Get in contact with:

Guido  van de Walle
  • Guido van de Walle
  • Manager Postproduction & Digital Services
  • sales@united4all.nl
  • +31 357733100
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