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A life TV technology breakthrough has been introduced by BT Group to meet growing consumer demand and offer a more dependable, quality-focused, and long-lasting method of delivering live content over the internet.

The technology, Multicast- Assisted Unicast Delivery (MAUD), aims to enhance viewer experience and speed up the lengthy network journey required for content to reach viewers.

The launch coincides with the publication of research by BT Group demonstrating that, despite the rising popularity of on-demand content services, the UK public’s appetite for watching life content has not diminished. More than half of the American population also watches live television content, mostly news and sports, at least once per day.

More than nine out of ten viewers, who outperform engaging features, commentary, and stream syncing by almost 3.5 to one, believe that picture quality and reliability are crucial, despite innovative service innovations. Viewers also favor picture quality and dependability over overhead when it comes to sports.

MAUD technology uses multicast to combine various streams into a second shared stream as opposed to conventional unicast delivery. According to BT, another benefit of “ordinary” multicast streams is that their integration is made entirely clear to the player application, allowing willing service providers to use the technology without having to change their client apps.

The company added that eliminating the requirement to choose and serve millions of distinct streams to viewers improves content delivery efficiency while also lowering costs for internet service providers, broadcasters, and content distribution networks (CDNs) in general.

According to reports, MAUD technology uses up to 50 % less bandwidth during peak events, using fewer caches to use less energy. MAUD is said to provide a higher quality of experience for both life and non-live content by freeing up digital capacity. The technology will be tested and evaluated by big broadcasters, including the BBC, to support a variety of live content.

However, BT cautioned that there was a common need to discuss the issue of net neutrality and scheduling with broadcasters and game companies as it announced the modern solution to address potential problems facing network users in the face of rising consumption. Downloads of well-known games are putting additional strain on networks, according to the Call of Duty Modern Warfare update.

Traditional unicast technologies were essentially useless in terms of energy use in content delivery and wasted storage, according to Howard Watson, general security and networks officer at BT Group, who stated this as MAUD was being unveiled. However, he cautioned that BT had no way to persuade content providers to deliver content in an energy- and network-efficient manner as a content distributor or online service provider.

He pointed out that Ofcom, the UK’s broadcast and communications regulator, had never offered any regulatory protection to stop a content provider from flooding the BT network over an ineffective route, despite the fact that the issue had been looked into in October 2023.

We welcomed Ofcom’s current analysis of this because “while we innovate, we do need a framework to evolve to allow us to accommodate some of those issues.” The second thing it has done is to consider more flexibility in prioritizing various traffic categories, which will allow us to begin managing congestion points. This gives us the choice to prioritize life content, such as a football game, over less time-sensitive material, like the Call of Duty download.

Ofcom even gave some specific instances of what our net neutrality laws might permit as a specialized service. For specialized services, you are always free to perform tasks that are somewhat different, such as high-bandwidth video, voice and video applications, machine-to-machine communication, and some of the new 5G innovation opportunities like network slicing.

It would have been challenging to launch without that on the network slicing. And we do observe some businesses [flood the network], a pretty ineffective method of material delivery. Although we applaud the [regulatory ] advancement, we believe it hasn’t progressed far enough. We firmly believe that a fundamental review of net neutrality regulations would be welcomed. We also believe it needs to be updated to reflect the latest method, which involves allowing content to come from fewer players in larger quantities. At that point, we need to establish some guidelines for handling that.

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