MDR moves to expand its digital portfolio with exclusive live streams via Smart TV


The initial situation

Desire for expansion of the playout channels

Especially from large broadcasters like MDR, viewers today expect programme content to be available to consumers in a contemporary format – as digital content. MDR, therefore, wanted to offer IP-based services on TV, in order to expand playout channels and offer a new solution. This was made possible with the HbbTV application MDR+: exclusive live streams on the TV screen enriched the digital channel portfolio with the new red button application.

Furthermore, only MDR+ enabled the live stream of “MDR aktuell” in sign language and thus ensured the further expansion of accessibility as an important step. In addition, the new service also made it possible to further anchor the brand quality of MDR as a modern state broadcaster in consumers’ minds.

The challenge

New development of a red button application with assurance of playout quality

New development of a red button application with assurance of playout quality A partner who combined competencies and economic efficiency in optimal fashion was to take over the programming of the HbbTV application, as well as the encoding of the TV signals supplied by the broadcaster. Furthermore, the distribution of the signals was also to be on the service provider’s to-do list and reliably ensured at all times – for the diverse number of different smart TVs or set-top boxes in the consumer world.

G&L Geissendörfer & Leschinsky combined a solution package that reliably mastered all the challenges posed – consisting of the G&L encoding solution, Akamai NetStorage and the cooperation for application development with the partner company NetTrek.


The solutions

G&L encoder and interface to the CMS system of MDR

MDR compiles all content for MDR+ itself via its content management system Sophora. The interface required for playout with corresponding data objects was developed individually by G&L in the JSONP data format for the simple exchange of complex data structures between client and server. For signal conversion, MDR uses the proven G&L encoding solution in its data centre.


The most important advantages at a glance:

  • Offering exclusive live streaming via HbbTV

  • Enabling live streaming of MDR Aktuell with sign language.

  • Distributed cloud storage solution

  • Reliability and a high level of playout quality

  • Digital offer on conventional TV channel – MDR+ as red button solution

  • Expansion of the step-by-step plan for accessibility

Akamai NetStorage

Akamai NetStorage is built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ and offers on-demand capacity and geographic replication, as well as proven server allocation and routing technology. It was designed to meet the demands of delivering online services consistently via a secure cloud. NetStorage stands for optimal performance, reliability and availability – and ensures the provision of HbbTV content for a large broadcaster like MDR with powerful management and optimal performance capabilities for the state broadcaster’s large online inventory.

Why Akamai + G&L?

The MDR+ solution developed was the result of collaboration between software developer NetTrek, encoding solutions from G&L Geißendörfer & Leschinsky GmbH and Akamai NetStorage.

All the components of an IP-based Red Button solution were combined as an HbbTV offering. Akamai NetStorage provided the corresponding capacities and optimal performance for the live streaming of the desired offer.

Individual application development by NetTrek

NetTrek is a software developer that designs applications for Android, iOS, Windows Phone or HbbTV. Together with G&L, NetTrek has already developed the official audio and video player of the ARD, which is used by the broadcasters of SWR. The MDR+ application was programmed in close cooperation with NetTrek.

The company

MDR Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk
An institution under public law
(in German: "Anstalt des Öffentlichen Rechts")

The German broadcasting institution Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) has been the joint public service state broadcaster for Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia since 1991. The tri-state broadcaster went on the air on 1 January 1992 and has been a member of the ARD ever since. MDR produces its own television programme and nine radio programmes. The state capitals of Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg are home to the state broadcasting houses, each of which produces a regional radio programme and its own programmes for MDR FERNSEHEN. The MDR location in Erfurt is home to KiKA, the joint children’s channel of ARD and ZDF, for which MDR is the lead broadcaster within ARD. MDR supplies programmes for Das Erste, the joint ARD programme, as well as for the special interest channels 3sat, KI.KA, arte, Phoenix and the digital programmes. These include the political magazine “Fakt”, the crime series “Tatort” and “Polizeiruf 110”, contemporary documentaries and the weekly series “In aller Freundschaft”.

Leipzig, Germany