Imagine Expands Its Video Cloud

Launches CloudXtream Video Distribution Platform
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Following a string of acquisitions that have shored up its multiscreen video platform, Imagine Communications has launched CloudXtream, an integrated IP video distribution platform for MVPDs, programmers and the emerging crop of OTT service providers.

In addition to reaching a variety of managed and unmanaged device types – from smart TVs, set-tops, gaming consoles and streaming players to smartphones and tablets -- CloudXtream is also designed to handle multiple forms of video, including linear, on-demand and cloud DVR applications, Steve Reynolds, Imagine’s CTO, explained in recent briefing.

The distribution platform rolls up and combines several components such as encoding, transcoding, packaging, storage management, playout, dynamic ad insertion, workflow and business rules management.

CloudXtream, Reynolds said, represents and integration of the company’s legacy video technology and products as well as those gained via recent acquisitions of vendors such as Digital Rapids and  RGB Networks.

He said the product is also entering view as multiscreen video systems mature into scalable platforms that extend beyond some earlier purpose-built developed by major MVPDs and some programmers. Others that are entering the sector, including online video providers, are seeking preintegrated platforms and systems rather than building them from scratch, said Reynolds, a former Comcast exec who joined Imagine in late 2013.

Imagine is taking a modular approach with CloudXtream, offering a reference architecture and the interop layers between it, or letting customers select elements of the architecture and plug it into their own systems.  Reynolds said Imagine’s system can work with a variety of transcoding and advertising systems, which will relieve some of the integration challenges.

He also said video shift to the cloud is a phenomenon that has reached across the board, touching traditional pay TV operators as well as programmers and the new class of OTT providers. “At some point in time this is how people will watch television,” Reynolds said.

Imagine announced the new platform in front of the NAB Show, set for April 11-16 in Las Vegas.