TV Channels Delivery using Multicast ABR (MABR)

Raghu Ram Meda
4 min readAug 18, 2023

A new industry standard specification called as Multicast ABR can be used to deliver the TV channels (Linear & Live) over end-to-end managed broadband networks. The new standard will enable the ISPs to build cost effective and scalable delivery solution for TV channels while meeting the required QoE for the Pay TV Services.

Solution Options

Unicast ABR (ETSI 102 796, ETSI 103 285)

  • Best Suitable for OTT delivery of TV Channels
  • Not scalable for peek demands
  • Not cost effective for TV channels
  • Based on ABR (MPEG-DASH) & QoE is better managed but not great
  • High Latency for Live events
  • Cost effective for VOD/Interactive/DAI/Personalized Content for IPTV & OTT

Multicast (ETSI 102 034)

  • Best Suitable for IPTV delivery of TV Channels over managed end-to-end networks
  • Scalable for Peak Demands
  • Cost Effective for TV channels
  • Based on legacy MPEG-TS & QoE is great but not managed efficiently
  • Low Latency for Live events
  • Not cost effective for Interactive, Dynamic Ads, Targeted Promos, Personalized Content

SVA Open Caching

  • Not cost effective for Live Events
  • SVA specification but not an industry standard yet
  • Suitable for combined On-Net & Off-Net usecases along with Multicast

Multicast ABR (ETSI 103 769) — Recommended

  • Best Suitable for IPTV delivery of TV Channels over managed end-to-end networks
  • Adaptive Scalability
  • Cost Effective for TV channels
  • Based on ABR (MPEG-DASH) & QoE is great and better managed
  • Low Latency for Live events
  • Cost effective for Interactive, Dynamic Ads, Targeted Promos, Personalized Content
  • Scope for Monetization


TV Channels Delivery with Traditional IP Multicast — Reference Architecture

TV Channels Delivery with IP Multicast ABR — Reference Architecture

MABR Benefits (Why it is recommended)

  • Cost effective solution for Scalability & Resiliency compared to traditional Multicast and Unicast ABR solutions inspite of initial complexity and eco-system dependencies.
    - Single Content Hosting for Multicast ABR delivery of Live/Linear & Unicast ABR delivery of Catchup/Timeshift/Recordings/Downloads associated with the channel reducing the Hosting cost considerably.
    - Unified Content Packaging for both linear & non-linear and hence reduce the cost of encoding and packaging significantly
  • Bandwidth Optimization in the network
    Dynamic control and route optimization using Multicast Controller can optimize the bandwidth consumption (Prime Time Channels and Live Events) further than in traditional Multicast
    - Linear/Live channel content delivered with Multicast and Targeted Content/Ads/Catch-Up/DAI/Interactive Features/Promo content associated with the channel delivered with Unicast
    - Ability to manage the multicast sessions characterised by the ‘content’, by ‘targeted users’ and by ‘location’
Source: Streaming Video Alliance
  • Improves QoE
    Mitigates the playback jitter due to managed multicast delivery for ABR content (along with pre-caching in multicast gateway) instead of best efforts delivery as in Unicast ABR
  • Reduced complexity in the Player with single technology (& hence cost of managing the STB)
    - Single/Unified ABR reception of streams for linear/live and non-linear
    - Single/Same DRM for all ABR content
    - Avoid complex interactions switching between MPEG-TS of linear/live and ABR of non-linear (for Time-shift/Ads/Promos) and hence save the capacity for other tasks in the CPE device
  • Reduced Latency
    Flexible for Content Prepositioning (eg. Ads, Timeshift, Downloads, Recordings, etc) with pre-caching in Multicast Gateway which will be beneficial to consider using Unicast or Multicast Client can join/leave the DAI multicast streams without caching needs for Ads
    - mABR introduces some delay as Multicast Gateway has to reform the media segments before forwarding and caching.
    - mABR with MPEG-CMAF combined with Chunk Transfer Encoding will reduce the latency further as it allows Player to start the decoding of a segment’s chunk without waiting for the reception of full segment
Source: Streaming Video Alliance
  • Uniform QoE experience in Home
    Having Multicast Gateway Client in Home IP Hub, the solution supports STB linked TVs and as well as consumption in OTG devices within the home uniformly with same QoE.
  • Supports Sustainability Strategy by reducing the overall network footprint, system footprint and scaling optimization
Source: greeningthestreaming
Source: GreeningTheStreaming


  • Streaming Video Alliance — Multicast ABR Architecture Apr 2019
  • Adaptive Media Streaming over IP Multicast — ETSI TS 103 769
  • 5G Multicast/Broadcast Service — 3GPP TS 26.346 Release 17
  • MPEG2-TS DVB Services over IP Networks — ETSI TS 102 034
  • MPEG-DASH Based DVB Services over IP Networks — ETSI TS 103 285
  • Example mABR Implementations by ISPs
    Telecom Italia (
    - Astro Pay-TV Operator, Malaysia



Raghu Ram Meda

Principal Enterprise Architect, Thought Leader, Domain Consultant & Technology Practioner