IBC 2016: Aspera highlights live streaming deployments of FASPStream

Aspera, an IBM company will demonstrate the innovative FASPStream software, selected by Betrader to power their Live Channel service to stream live sporting events from remote locations over commodity internet, and INNOVATIVEi, a creative agency specializing in branding and communication, to stream live broadcast-quality video globally for the Ballet Royalty Gala and the Mecum Auto Auction.

Aspera_IBM_draftsAt 17:00 on Saturday, 10 September, at the IBM Aspera booth (7.G20), Aspera CEO Michelle Munson will be joined by customers and partners to showcase 4 live camera feeds delivered by FASPStream over commodity Internet, including a full end-to-end workflow through Elemental Live with in-line transcoding and packaging, with final delivery and playout.

Live Channel
Betradar’s Live Channel is a dedicated live streaming product for online and retail bookmakers, covering over 30,000 live events per year with exclusive live content all day long with a special focus on off-peak hours. Betradar, a brand of Sportradar, receives live streams from the events, in a master quality, and ingests the video signal into their datacenter for multi-bitrate and multi-format encoding and streaming out to their international customer online platforms. Network congestion and interruptions when receiving content over global wide area networks with high latency and packet loss would make streaming from distant locations challenging and in many cases impractical. Additionally, it would also not meet their high quality standards.

To support their rapid growth, expanding global footprint, and need to deliver the live stream as close to real time as possible to their client’s betting platforms, Betradar selected FASPStream to deliver the stream contribution from events at various venues around the world to their datacenters, reducing the delay to under 5 seconds and improving the quality of the stream.

“FASPStream will give us a shorter testing- and evaluation phase for new media rights and stream contributions, and give us a higher reliability for our premium high quality content received from other continents,” says Lukas Seiler – Managing Director of the Audiovisual Department at Sportradar. “We will be able to use our connectivity more efficient to receive more streams in parallel from more locations while reducing the probability of stream interruptions,” he added.

Early Success with Broadway Video
Broadway Video, an innovator of new technologies and workflows for digital video production, post-production, digital distribution and delivery services, was an early adopter of FASPStream. In both contribution and distribution scenarios of live event streaming, Broadway Video was instrumental in shaping the technology and measuring the tremendous potential savings and efficiencies. Broadway Video considered several use cases for live event streaming to validate their work in live digital production environments, including the Ballet Royalty Gala.

First Field Tests at Mecum Auto Auction
Working with Terry Lingner, co-owner of INNOVATIVEi and current Producer for the Verizon IndyCar Series for NBCSN, they identified the Mecum Collector Car Auctions as the ideal testing ground for replacing traditional transmission methods with FASPStream, Two proof of concept live tests were selected, one in Indianapolis and the other in Portland.

In both tests, FASPStream delivered the standard satellite transmission feed that would normally carry the show back to the NBCSN broadcast center, and then returned the stream back to the venue as a confidence feed to be viewed alongside the satellite confidence feed. In both trials, FASPStream performed as expected and with less delay than the satellite feed that was run in parallel. Configuration and setup of the FASPStream software was simple, taking less than one hour from arrival at the venue to live.

Live Ballet Royalty Gala
Buoyed by the success with the live auto auction, the team turned their attention to the Ballet Royalty Gala, taking place at the newly renovated Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso in Havana, Cuba. The full program included classes, rehearsals, interviews and a final dance performance attended by dignitaries and streamed live worldwide. Similar events in the US would require either a full satellite truck, which was not available, or a proprietary fiber circuit, which was prohibitively expensive. The team had to rely on the less than ideal Wide Area Network conditions available locally, with limited bandwidth, high latency and packet loss, and FASPStream delivered.

The configuration consisted of HD-SDI switched audio and video feeds provided by the production truck connected to a professional grade MPEG4 encoder and encoded at 4.5Mbps. The IP (multicast) output of the encoder was then consumed by the FASPStream software running on a micro server and transferred using the FASP protocol from Cuba to Utah, where it was pushed into a CDN for packaging and final distribution. Network latency was 175ms with packet loss as high as 12%, and network speeds from the theater topped out at 8Mbps.

“The success of these events marks a real shift in transmission across the media industry,” said Terry Linger, co-owner of INNOVATIVEi and producer for NBCSN. “Everything needed to recreate a ‘satellite quality’ transmission live from Cuba using standard Internet connectivity fit into a single carry-on. Plus, the FASPStream technology can easily be integrated into production trucks, venues and broadcast centers, perhaps even into talents’ homes. Overall, this is a real game changer.”

IBC 2016 Demos
At IBC 2016, Aspera will demonstrate the FASPStream solution with the transport of four live camera streams from South Africa, China New York and Utah to the Aspera booth on the IBC floor for live decode and broadcast playout, as well as IP-based playout through local desktop media players. In addition, Aspera and Elemental have partnered to demonstrate a full end-to-end FASPStream workflow through Elemental Live with in-line transcoding and packaging.

Key Features to be demonstrated include:

  • Exceptional Video Delivery Quality over Commodity Internet – Glitch free play out with negligible start up delay at “any” Internet distance, i.e. less than 2 seconds of delay from live for 50 Mbps video sources over global Internet networks.
  • Interoperability with Common Stream Providers and Stream Receivers – Will transport any live video source available on local multicast, unicast UDP, unicast TCP, or as growing file. Provides a uniform lossless, in-order byte stream transport that equally supports constant bit rate and adaptive bit rate formats.
  • Reliability and Multi-endpoint Capability – One stream source can be sent to multiple destinations concurrently and provides built-in path redundancy.
  • Security – FASPStreams are encrypted in transit and security authenticated. Built-in access control policies can be used to restrict stream providers and consumers by stream protocol, IP address, and ports for maximum security.
  • Interoperability and Management with File Based Workflows Including On Cloud – Designed to interoperate with the Aspera Files transfer stack, FASPStream sessions support stream-to-file workflows including writing to cloud “object” storage. Stream sources and providers can include cloud transcoders/encoders that read from stream and file.

“Demand for Internet content delivery is exploding as are viewer expectations around immediacy of access and quality of the experience. We are excited about the new possibilities FASPStream opens up for event organizers, producers and content owners that want to share their creations with connected worldwide audiences in new and innovative ways,” says Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder, Aspera.

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