Thomson Drives Streaming to Warner Mycal Theatres

Thomson Video Networks, through its Japanese partner Village Island, is supplying technology to Warner Mycal to enable streaming of high-quality live events to multicinema complexes. A joint venture between Time Warner Group and AEON Retail of Japan, Warner Mycal operates 60 cinema complexes and nearly 500 screens throughout the country, showing a mix of cinematic releases and additional screenings that include live sports, entertainment, and digital 3D content.

First piloted in May 2011 to distribute a concert series in Tokyo, and now being rolled out to more than 30 of the company's complexes, Warner Mycal's installation includes both Thomson's NetProcessor 9030 and ViBE VS7000. Warner Mycal has chosen Thomson's NetProcessor 9030 for multi-IP unicast streaming to multiple receivers, with FEC (forward error correction) insertion for reliable packet transmission over the IP network.

"The technology from Thomson Video Networks offers standout reliability and very good interoperability with third-party equipment and systems," said Sadanori Sato, general manager of business development for Warner Mycal. "The technical and commercial success of the pilot event earlier this year proved the concept, and now that we have completed this phase of expansion, more than half of our complexes are able to receive high-quality transmissions."

To power backup streaming of live events from one site to more than 30 complexes, Warner Mycal is deploying Thomson's ViBE VS7000 Convergent Video System with Mustang video compression technology, which delivers optimum image quality to the screen with low bit rates. The streams are transmitted from HD-SDI input using Apple HLS for exceptional reliability and quality of service.

"This has proved a really good solution to enable Warner Mycal to bring digital transmission into the mainstream for its cinema operations," said Michael Van Dorpe, president and general manager for project integrators at Village Island. "We're excited about the potential in this area, and very pleased to have such a blossoming relationship with Thomson Video Networks, which is providing a strong technology lead."

The ViBE VS7000 video system combines Thomson's compression platform for picture quality in an all-IP environment, with live broadcast-quality encoding and faster-than-real-time file transcoding. Supporting all major formats and codecs including MPEG transport streams, Adobe Flash, Apple HTTP Live Streaming, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming, and with video resolution up to 1920x1080 in progressive and interlaced modes, the VS7000 is scalable for input channels and output profiles, with support for multiple output formats per channel. Advanced video and audio preprocessing, automatic loudness control, and integrated load balancing and failover with centralized Web-based operation and SOAP/Web services support for external interfacing, all make the VS7000 a full-featured solution for convergent applications.

Thomson's NetProcessor 9030 is an integrated MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 standard- and high-definition transport stream processor featuring video processing capabilities that include transrating and splicing. In addition, the 9030 provides multiplexing, remultiplexing, PSI/SI processing, data injection, ad insertion, and the scrambling of hundreds of services received and delivered over DVB ASI and telecom interfaces. The 9030 can also be used to manage bandwidth by combining local or geographically distributed encoders in the same pool with incoming transrated programs using Thomson's hybrid remote Flextream technology.