IBC Q&A: Telestream’s Murray on acquisition of Vidcheck and the live-streaming explosion
Telestream arrived at IBC with a new acquisition in hand, having announced a deal for QC specialist Vidcheck prior to the show. Telestream aims to pair that company’s flagship product, Vidchecker file-based automated QC, with its own Vantage media-processing platform to create a more efficient transcoding solution for the market.
In addition, Telestream is introducing Wirecast Gear, a portable computer workstation preloaded with Wirecast Pro software aimed at live event production and streaming. The compact, easy-to-use unit will start shipping in early September at a starting price of $4,995.
Telestream has also taken the opportunity in Amsterdam to showcase new advanced services in its Telestream Cloud video-transcoding SaaS.
SVG sat down with Telestream VP, Corporate Marketing, Scott Murray to discuss the Vidcheck acquisition, the new Wirecast Gear and updated Telestream Cloud, and how the company is reacting to the explosion of live-streaming production thanks to Facebook Live and Periscope.
Why did the Vidcheck acquisition make sense for Telestream?
When file-based assets come in to be transcoded and redistributed, they have to be QC’ed because, if they have errors or incorrect formats, you don’t want to run it through the time-consuming transcode process just to find out it’s not usable. And then, on the output side, when you’re generating hundreds of versions of a file, you want to have an automated way to check those files to make sure that the destination you’re sending it to is correct. So QC becomes extremely important for content creators, broadcasters, and anyone distributing media on both the frontend and backend.
It’s a natural fit for the Vantage workflow. In fact, we’ve had a Vidcheck plugin for Vantage for a long time. So it became a natural next step for us to have a solution ourselves to offer to customers, as well as a larger footprint in the U.S. for doing QC.
What’s new at IBC this year for Telestream?
It’s a huge opportunity because we have a very large footprint, and, every day, we have customers call us and ask us what PC to buy or I/O card to buy or some other [piece of equipment]. So we decided to build our own box. And it’s a hit. We’ve seen massive interest from end users, resellers, and even integrators worldwide that want a single box, where you can turn it on, hook your cameras up, and start streaming your show. It’s at a great price point, and we’ve got three models. We can deal with HDMI or SDI and have ways to bring in XLR through USB 3.0 ports. It’s a very simple, straightforward box that runs on Windows 10 and is all solid-state, so it travels really well.
It comes preconfigured with Wirecast, analysis tools, and NewBlueFX. It’s an all-in-one kit, but it’s still a Windows 10 workstation: if you wanted to, for example, load Adobe After Effects on it, you can do that. It’s got a lot of power in a small box, and it’s really portable and light. All you have to do is hook up the monitors and cameras, and you’re ready to go.
Is Wirecast Gear a reaction to the increasing market demand for easy, cost-effective live-streaming solutions?
When Facebook Live hit, our [Wirecast] sales took off. We were the first to have a Facebook Live integration. Everybody and their brother want to broadcast, and Wirecast makes it extremely easy because it’s simple and straightforward. We’re finding [that] the market for streaming high school and secondary college sports is exploding for this. This product is very mature — it’s been around for 10 years — but we’re seeing the market continue to grow.
What are some of the new advanced services you’re highlighting here for Telestream Cloud?
Telestream Cloud has historically been all about transcoding. At a certain point, transcoding became about a lot more than transcoding, so Vantage is really about workflow automation, with the transcoding piece as the central core. Telestream Cloud, which used to be just a cloud-based transcoding engine, has far more analysis and technical depth. Those Vantage capabilities have been placed inside Telestream Cloud for more advanced features than just transcoding. It follows the natural path of what people want to do. What you can do in Vantage, you can basically do in the cloud now.