In conversation with Yaal Eshel, vice president – Sales, at LiveU.
INTERVIEWED By Anisha Gakhar
Eshel: 2018 has been a milestone year for LiveU. Our flagship mobile video streaming unit, the LU600 HEVC solution, took live sports and news coverage to a new level altogether. Some of the interesting sports events covered with LiveU technology included:
• The FIFA World Cup™ in Russia – where
a large deployment of 485 LiveU units were used for live coverage from the 11 host cities.
• Absa Cape Epic in South Africa’s Western Cape – the world’s most televised mountain bike race, covering 658 km over eight days was broadcast live from a helicopter, motorbike and electric bikes.
• Formula racing – teaming up with Griiip, manufacturer of the G1 – a new tech-packed, entry-level Formula race car. The G1 series races in Italy were streamed live with on-board units to increase audience engagement.
LIVEU AT IBC2018
Eshel: The highlight of the show was the announcement of our new product from the HEVC family, the LU300 HEVC. It completes the transition of all LiveU broadcast-grade units to HEVC, enabling the professional HEVC encoding to manage a wider reach. The LU300 HEVC field unit combines high-quality video performance with extreme bandwidth efficiency, in a compact form-factor and an attractive price-point. The LU300 solution, with HEVC at its core, is tailored to customers requiring a smaller field unit for high-quality video-on-the-go.
LU600 HEVC was presented with new capabilities of video return, built-in global roaming and 4K SDI offering. LiveU’s LU600 HEVC offers the ultimate video performance in live streaming for global newsgathering and beyond. The LU600 HEVC allows professional broadcasters and content creators to benefit from unparalleled video performance with extreme bandwidth efficiency – using one of the smallest portable cellular bonding units in the market.
New features of Solo – LiveU’s high-quality, plug-and-play live streaming device for online media, was also demonstrated and included the newly launched Solo Studio Cloud Graphics suite, providing customers with the ability to seamlessly add graphics to live video in real-time.
LATEST FROM BROADCAST
Eshel: LiveU participated in the Broadcast India 2018 Show with our long-time broadcast partner, Lamhas Satellite Service Pvt Ltd and Solo partner, ARK Infosolutions Pvt Ltd.
Our entire range of broadcast solutions were being demonstrated at the Lamhas booth, which helped the visitors get an up-close look and feel of all the products. It was also an official introduction of the LU300 HEVC product to the Indian market and the response was very positive.
Our Solo booth with ARK also sparked genuine interest and the booth was buzzing with visitors throughout the day, reflecting the growing demand for plug-and-play outdoor live streaming solutions.
CURRENT TRENDS IN THE MARKET
Eshel: We are seeing two key trends across the industry when it comes to IP streaming.
In the broadcast space, the improvement of the mobile networks, together with the adoption of HEVC encoding has led to a significant expansion in the use of cellular bonding for beyond newsgathering; with better quality and reliability. The sports sector is leading the way; this was particularly evident at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. Now we are seeing cellular bonding used for premium sports content both: as backup and as the main feed. The market has opened up in that regard and we hope to see further expansion across 2019.
In the online space, we have seen, and continue to see, growth across live streamers, reaching new verticals to embrace artists, musicians, podcasters, comedians and others who are using live video in many different creative ways. While the US still leads the way, we are seeing growth across markets globally, including in India.
Eshel: In the race of being on top of the ‘game’, it is imperative to adopt the newest of technologies. With the HEVC becoming the predominant encoding technology, the top agencies are increasingly adopting it.
Asia’s premier news agency Asian News International (ANI) upgraded its entire LiveU fleet with LiveU’s flagship LU600 HEVC units for global newsgathering and live sports coverage. ANI’s newsgathering fleet, which is spread all over India, heavily relies on LiveU technology. The project has been overseen by LiveU’s partner in India, Lamhas Satellite Services, which provides onsite service and support nationwide.
This year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia was more successful than ever, also for LiveU. With numerous interviews of players, fans and spectators and exciting behind-the-scene captures, LiveU successfully grasped the essence and atmosphere of this global event with daily live feeds. 485 LiveU units were used by broadcasters from over 40 countries, with over 15,000 hours of live broadcasting, over 30,000 live sessions and 36TB of live transmission.
One of the biggest sports broadcasters – ESPN India – was present in Moscow to catch the live action with the LU600 HEVC. The challenge was to send live feeds captured on the ground back to India to be broadcasted live on Sony Networks India. Factors like flexibility, mobility and signal reliability made the process seamless.
One of our latest collaboration with Mumbai Runners turned out to be a great success story of outdoor live sports production! The two-day marathon event starting from Pune and ending at NCPA Mumbai, was streamed live using our LU600 HEVC device. The device ensured extreme bandwidth resiliency and delivered flawless video to all the viewers across globe.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR LIVEU
Eshel: Live sports is a fast-growing area with LiveU’s portable HEVC technology taking live sports events to a whole new level, enabling event coverage from every possible angle – on the ground, from the air and water. Compared to traditional satellite transmission solutions, we offer sports producers a high-quality, flexible and cost-effective solution, allowing them to bring events live to global audiences at a fraction of the cost of satellite.
One interesting project I would like to highlight is the global annual ‘Wings for Life World Run’. This challenging event in Europe, which was a seven-hour charity race taking place simultaneously in 34 locations around the globe, was streamed worldwide using almost 100 transmitters including LU600 HEVC portable transmission units and LU-Smart mobile apps.
Projects and events of this scale in terms of complexity and uniqueness are paving
the way for something even greater in the live outdoor sports production market. Finally, in the digital space as we mentioned, LiveU Solo is on the rise, delivering high-quality, reliable streams from anywhere;
in the US, Solo has become the live streaming solution of choice for ‘In Real Life’ (IRL) Live Streamers and eSports/eGamers. With figures showing increased interest in live streaming worldwide, we believe that Solo has huge potential across multiple market segments.