SVG Europe Sit-Down: LiveU’s Ronen Artman offers thoughts on IP and the company’s ‘At Home’ solution
With over 2,000 customers in over 80 countries, LiveU provides live video streaming for TV, mobile, online and social media. This allows the audience to become part of the story with quality live video, transmitted from anywhere in the world, through the use of patented bonding and video transport technology.
Combined with robust cloud-based live video management and distribution software, LiveU enables broadcasters of all sizes to acquire and share live video reliably on any viewing platform. We started our Sit Down with VP of Marketing, Ronen Artman, with a look back at a recent high-profile event.
LiveU provided 4K HEVC live coverage for first time at the 2018 Winter Games. How did it go?
Broadcasters were able to use our flagship LU600 portable transmission solution with the 4K HEVC Pro card to create premium quality content. We supported 72 broadcasters from over 40 countries with a record number of bonded cellular units for the winter games – 190 in total – and had a dedicated team on the ground throughout the duration of the games.
During the Games, we recorded 2,037 hours of continuous live broadcast with 6TB of data transmitted and 7,100 live sessions. The top countries using our equipment were Korea, UK, Norway, Germany and Japan. We’re now looking ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, which is likely to be our largest deployment to date of LiveU units covering a major sports event, including our latest 4K HEVC solution.
In the last Sit Down, you said you’d been carrying out tests with specific cameras and our units ready for VR streaming. How is that progressing?
We have been testing a wide range of VR streaming cameras with our units, serving the growing needs of broadcasters. Our4K HEVC unit is an enabler of VR streaming for broadcasters who wish to take advantage of this capability for their live coverage.
Has the take up of IP solutions been as you expected – and where do we go from here with that technology?
In terms of our technology IP is, of course, fundamental to it and the take-up has been phenomenal. Cellular bonding has been a game-changer around the world, allowing coverage of events where it was previously impossible, either technically or financially, particularly, though far from exclusively, in the news space.
If you look at what a broadcaster like Sky News has achieved with our technology, particularly on General Election night last year, with up to 150 streams from declaration stations around the country at any one time, then you can see how transformative it is. Without the stability of our technology and its ease-of-use in the in the field, and a full IP set-up to feed into, this simply wouldn’t have been possible.
IP is, of course, gradually being rolled out far more widely and is the protocol of the future. With 4K now possible with our technology, we are seeing ever-greater use beyond news, particularly in the sports sector and we expect that to grow significantly.
Tell us more, please, about LiveU Xtender
We know that there are occasions where additional signal strength and resiliency is required. The LiveU Xtender active remote transmission solution increases network reception, providing additional resiliency for live video transmission in extreme scenarios such as heavily crowded areas. The Xtender offers broadcasters the flexibility to use cellular connectivity as part of their existing SNG/ENG trucks, bonding cellular and satellite connections for ultimate live video performance, or to remotely connect to LiveU’s backpack and handheld uplink units.
Can you talk us through LiveU’s wireless At-Home Production solution?
LiveU’s wireless At-Home Production solution allows broadcasters to reduce costs by producing live shows from a centralised studio control room instead of on-site production and satellite trucks. Sending less equipment and crew into the field allows event producers to maximise their in-house resources and increase efficiencies across the board.
Wireless At-Home Production offers sports and event producers the opportunity to deliver multi-camera live events by leveraging their existing technical infrastructure and equipment. It also eliminates the need to spend a fortune on production vehicles, satellite uplinks and travel expenses. This reduction in on-site infrastructure and costs allows organisations to take advantage of affordable, high-quality technology that in turn, enables more frequent and even simultaneous live events coverage.
In a nutshell, our At-Home Production solution enables our customers to cover more events with simplified logistics and reduced costs.
Where do you think we will be with HDR by the end of 2018? Or should we be looking further ahead for significant take-up?
HDR is an interesting one. In general industry terms, it’s been said for a while that it’s very important, but with competing standards leading to market confusion, it’s not completely clear where it goes from here. There’s also been growing talk of HD HDR as having appeal in some, perhaps all, markets.
Do you have a European case study that illustrates the scope of your work?
Swedish storytellers Spocks Family, a company based in Stockholm, expanded its use of LiveU technology last year to bring three well-known sports events to life for viewers: Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon; The Ötillö Swimrun World Championship; and the Swedish Sportfish Masters pike fishing championship.
Each event has its own considerable challenges, based on the terrain, the length of the events – in time
and distance terms – and the weather. With the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, there was the additional challenge of the speed of the cycling leg. Not only that, but the event – 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42.20 km – also has major shifts in altitude, finishing at nearly 1,900m above sea level. Spocks Family used multiple LiveU units that streamed to a LiveU server in the control room. The programme was then cut together in real time and streamed to the organiser’s YouTube channel, as well as on national broadcaster NRK’s website.
This is the fifth year that Spocks Family was contracted to provide live coverage of the Ötillö Swimrun World Championship, and the third year that it used LiveU. The event – which is run in pairs – covers 75km across 26 islands, with 10km of swimming.
For the Swedish Sportish Masters Pike Fishing Championship the weather was unfavourable, but there were no glitches in terms of coverage. For this event, there were six cameras out on the water plus a studio. The LiveU servers took the feeds and pushed them through into the production system. Across all three events, LiveU’s Central management platform was used to monitor the units remotely.