Freecaster, Fastly and Flowplayer partner for Tomorrowland 2019 live streaming

Celebrating the 15 years of its music festival, Tomorrowland is the world’s biggest electronic dance music event, taking place in Belgium and more recently in the Alps.

Since the Amicorum Spectaculum in 2017, Freecaster has been doing the live streaming of the event. The company managed to deliver high quality video to the world, using its strong platform, a large Content Delivery Network and some innovative features.

For the 2019 edition, The Book of Wisdom – The Return, Tomorrowland asked Freecaster to live stream the event for 72 hours non-stop. To ensure the perfect continuity of the streams as well as offer to the viewers the most immersive experience, Freecaster teamed up with Fastly and Flowplayer.

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Since its foundation in 2004, Freecaster has developed as a specialist in online video services for both live and on-demand high-quality content serving customers such as TV and radio broadcasters, brands, event organisers and sport and cultural events. Among Freecaster’s customers are the Belgian Public Broadcaster RTBF as well as fashion houses (LVMH group and others), international institutions (European Commission, Bundesrat – the German Federal Council) and sports championships (FIM Motocross World Championship – MXGP). Since 2019, Freecaster is a subsidiary of Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE), a European leader in media services, system integration and software development in the areas of television, radio, production and postproduction, telecommunication and IT.

“Innovation has always paved the way of BCE activities. The all-IP infrastructure leaded our company to hybrid and cloud while increasing the distribution of media content on a global scale. The acquisition of Freecaster and its integration in our workflow was a significant move to the non-linear market. Tomorrow, the engineering of new solutions will enhance the development of BCE in the digital media world,” says Frederic Lemaire, CEO at BCE.

Tomorrowland footprint reaches more than 10 million viewers with multiple artists performing at the same time on several locations at the festival. Sharing this fantastic experience with the online community is a complex task and Freecaster has managed to deliver the right solution to meet the organizer needs.

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“The target for our customer was to expand the festival experience to the electronic community, with the opportunity to follow the main action of the festival live and experience the thrill of Tomorrowland,” explains Ray Dulieu, CEO and founder at Freecaster.

Flowplayer worked hand in hand with the developer team of Freecaster to ensure the perfect implementation of its FP8 – Native, award-winning HTML5 player within the Freecaster’s Online Video Platform (OVP). This dynamic HTML5 video player developed by Flowplayer, has a reduced size ensuring faster loading time and stability. It also features a dynamic DJ line up allowing viewers on web and mobile to switch seamlessly between the different live stages within the same HTML5 video player.

“The new version of our video player, with the multi-stream features, allows live streaming, live switch from one stage to the other and gives a clear view of what is coming next,” adds Ray Dulieu.

Freecaster’s OVP streamed four live stages on Tomorrowland’s website, app and on partner networks as well as five radio feeds for selected internet radio networks. During the two weekends of the festival, the OVP was monitored using Freecaster’s monitoring dashboard. Thanks to data provided by Fastly, Mux and Touchstream, the interface gives a detailed overview of the traffic statistics. Freecaster’s engineers can access to the dashboard remotely, solve issues immediately ensuring the best viewer experience.

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To deliver the best experience to millions of online viewers, Freecaster teamed up with Fastly. The company edge cloud platform enables the delivery of live video over common HTTP streaming formats, including Apple’s HLS, Microsoft’s HSS, Adobe’s HDS, and MPEG-DASH. For Tomorrowland 2019 it ensured the live stream of 3PB with a 250 Gbps average transfer rate (Freecaster, September 2019). Fastly’s fast and globally distributed network provided the viewers with instant video streams, without buffering nor interference. During the event, Fastly’s Network Operations Centre provided Freecaster with Live Event Monitoring, daily reporting and dedicated on-site support.

“Fastly’s network speed and self-service features helped to considerably improve the performance of our live streams for the largest dance festival in the world. Fastly also provided a dedicated team of network engineers to monitor the event from their Network Operations Centre, ensuring any issue that could arise would be addressed quickly. Offering more than peace of mind, it allowed our teams to focus on other areas of the delivery workflow during the event,” concludes Ray Dulieu.

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Freecaster extends its Tomorrowland live streaming with new partners in 2019

Tomorrowland, the world’s biggest electronic dance music festival, has joined forces with Freecaster to deliver high-quality, real-time video of each event, to be enjoyed by a global live audience online. We promise customisation, hands-on support and for our clients to reach unlimited audience worldwide. Since 2017, Tomorrowland enriched the online experience using Freecaster’s multi-channel video player to allow viewers to choose between different stages streamed simultaneously in the same video-responsive multi-bitrate video player.

Freecaster enjoys working for clients such as Tomorrowland who continuously raise the bar. In 2019, Freecaster worked intensively alongside Flowplayer and Fastly to provide a seamless 72-hour, non-stop live streaming service.

“The target for our customer was to expand the festival experience to the electronic community, with the opportunity to follow the main action of the festival live and experience the thrill of Tomorrowland.” Ray Dulieu, CEO and founder at Freecaster.

Seamless multi-channel streaming

Tomorrowland is a massive event, a world of different experiences with multiple acts performing live at the same time. It was essential for Freecaster to convey this experience and choice online by offering multi-channel live streaming. We received four video feeds onsite at the festival, as well as a dynamic DJ line up allowing viewers on web and mobile a seamless switch between the different live stages within the same HTML5 video player. Freecaster’s Online Video Platform streamed live on Tomorrowland’s website, app and on partner networks. We also delivered five radio feeds for selected internet radio networks.

The platform was supervised throughout the two weekends of the festival using Freecaster’s monitoring dashboard fed by data from Fastly, Mux and Touchstream. The interface gives a precise overview for the monitoring engineers, shows traffic stats (impressions, unique visitors, countries, and more) and can be accessed by Freecaster remotely anywhere in the world. This close monitoring and flexibility ensures the platform is stable and any issues can be promptly addressed, resulting in a seamless customer experience.

“The new version of our video player, with the multi-stream features, allows live streaming, live switch from one stage to the other and gives a clear view of what is coming next.” Ray Dulieu, CEO and founder at Freecaster.

Advanced live video player

Freecaster selected Flowplayer to provide a unique experience for Tomorrowland’s live streaming audience. Flowplayer worked using FP8 – Native, its award-winning HTML5 player. Building the player completely from scratch, Flowplayer has succeeded in adapting to the HTML5 world of today’s web. The player size is reduced to a minimum, significantly enhancing stability. The small codebase results in faster load-time and fewer possibilities of errors.

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Flowplayer worked in close collaboration with the developer unit at Freecaster, implementing FP8 together with the Freecaster platform. Deep shared understanding provided the basis for a joint roadmap to meet the high standards of Tomorrowland festival and deliver the best possible performance and user experience. Together we reached more than 10 million music fans, live streaming worldwide.

Global delivery

CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) helps Freecaster multiply traffic for live streaming events. Freecaster joined forces with Fastly to deliver global live streaming of Tomorrowland 2019, and used Fastly’s edge cloud platform to live stream 3PB with 250 Gbps average transfer rate (reported by Freecaster, as of September 2019). Fastly’s fast and globally distributed network ensured all video streams played instantly, without buffering or interference, while independent, real-time functionality meant that Freecaster had control over configurations.

In the build-up to the event, the Fastly and Freecaster technical teams collaborated over a dedicated Slack channel and numerous scoping calls. During the event, Fastly’s Network Operations Centre provided Freecaster with Live Event Monitoring, daily reporting and dedicated on-site support.

“Fastly’s network speed and self-service features helped to considerably improve the performance of our live streams for the largest dance festival in the world. Fastly also provided a dedicated team of network engineers to monitor the event from their Network Operations Centre, ensuring any issue that could arise would be addressed quickly. Offering more than peace of mind, it allowed our teams to focus on other areas of the delivery workflow during the event.” Ray Dulieu, CEO and founder at Freecaster

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Harmonic Powers Sky Italia OTT Services

Harmonic today announced that its cloud-native media processing software and content-aware encoding (CAE) technology is powering Sky Italia’s OTT streaming services. The Harmonic solution is integrated into the Sky Italia hybrid cloud software-defined streaming platform. Leveraging the latest advancements in pure software architecture, the Harmonic solution provides Sky Italia with the agility, flexibility and scalability to speed up the launch of new premium services and enable delivery of superior video quality at low bitrates.

Sky Italia’s solution for its linear video streaming platform is based on Kubernetes and microservices to serve event-based and 24/7 channels on OTT platforms. Adhering to these requirements, Harmonic’s VOS® Cluster software dynamically controls and optimizes Sky Italia’s on-premises and cloud video-processing resources.

“To ensure the success of our next-generation streaming services, delivery of exceptional video quality and the ability to quickly adapt to changes are critical factors,” said Gabriele Ubertini, director of technology engineering and innovation at Sky Italia. “Harmonic’s cloud-native media processing software aligns with our choice of moving resources to Sky’s software-defined streaming infrastructure, while allowing us to be nimble. Using CAE, we can deliver stunning video to a larger group of subscribers, providing a better quality of experience to those in areas with challenging bandwidth availability.”

Sky Italia will use Harmonic’s VOS software for OTT media processing in on-premises datacenters integrated with the Sky Italia architecture, which leverages Kubernetes and a SMPTE 2022 uncompressed multicast video network. By enabling Sky Italia to dynamically control and optimize its video processing resources, together with their blueprint for an open-source ecosystem, the VOS solution will dramatically accelerate time to market for new channels. EyeQ™ CAE will be used to significantly reduce Sky’s bandwidth requirements, decrease CDN costs and improve QoE.

“Sky Italia asked for a highly available and scalable streaming solution for outstanding video quality and state-of-the art ABR packaging. We went above and beyond in meeting these requirements,” said Ian Graham, senior vice president of international sales and video services at Harmonic. “Having an elastic and always-up-to-date media workflow will give Sky Italia serious competitive advantages, enabling it to launch services faster and scale up seamlessly.”

Harmonic will showcase its latest video streaming innovations at IBC2019, Sept. 13-17 in Amsterdam at Stand 1.B20.

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ZTE to unveil four innovative Big Video Solutions at IBC 2019

Addressing the problems of the traditional live streaming apps like limited viewing angles, ZTE’s 5G Live TV solution delivers an innovative viewing experience by providing the audience with three distinctive 5G scenarios, including multi-angle views, flexible zooming, and free viewpoint. ZTE’s 5G Live TV solution has empowered China’s first 5G sporting events, the 2nd National Youth Games.

Moreover, in the field of 8K video, ZTE will provide visitors of IBC with a vivid experience of ultra-HD and ultra-fast smooth 8K videos, backed up with ZTE’s end-to-end 5G+8K solution, the ultra-strong decoding technology and super-high CDN throughput capability of its 8K smart set-top box. The 8K smart set-top box has once been rewarded iF Design Award 2019 in Germany for its minimalist and ultra-thin design.

As for the integration of OTT and IPTV, ZTE will showcase a customized 4K Hybrid STB for operators. Integrated with IPTV and Google ecosystem, this STB can provide users with a wide range of Google apps, such as Google Music and Google Games, thereby allowing them to enjoy both the IPTV and OTT services at the same time.

In the field of smart home, ZTE will demonstrate its far-field 4K AI STB S200 in support of voice commands. By virtue of functions of IPTV/OTT services, smart speaker, home control, home media sharing, and home networking, S200 is an all-in-one home assistant.

In addition, ZTE will also showcase many other series of powerful STBs, including the new Dongle STB, 4K IP Media Gateway supporting Wi-Fi AP, and the highly cost-effective satellite STB and cable STB.

Committed to constant innovations in the video industry, ZTE has established close partnerships with more than 120 operators around the world and has businesses covering nearly 50 countries. Moving forward, the company will continuously provide users with more diversified, immersive and intelligent video experiences.

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COLSECOR Renews its Trust in Anevia to Expand its Sensa OTT Service

“We have been using Anevia solutions for five years,” says COLSECOR’s VP of Engineering Miguel Factor, “starting with the VOD system that we rolled out to subscribers across Argentina. It has proved an excellent product backed by very good local technical support, in our language. Our phase two investment saw NEA-DVR and NEA-CDN being used for delivery to our customer base, enabling us to offer live and on-demand video as well as catch-up and pause TV. It also included additional Anevia NEA-DVR resources, featuring Embedded Distributed Storage (EDS) to massively increase storage capacity without requiring dedicated storage servers. The expanded system gives us the capacity to add over 1,000 new video-on-demand releases per month, so we are talking about seriously large capacity. The next step will be to expand the service to other Latin American countries.”

 

“COLSECOR is a good example of efficient and effective OTT TV implementation,” adds Grégory Samson, Anevia EVP Worldwide Sales, Telco & Media. “A partnership of over 300 separate enterprises throughout Argentina, it gives viewers access to a wide range of video content through a well coordinated single portal. Initiatives of this kind are exactly what the television industry needs as it expands from traditional cable and terrestrial based delivery.”

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Viaccess-Orca and Broadpeak Power New NPVR Service for Orange Poland, Increasing Audience Engagement

VO-Mobile_CatchUpViaccess-Orca (VO), a global leader providing OTT and TV platforms, content protection, and advanced data solutions, announced today that it is powering a new NPVR service for Orange Poland in partnership with Broadpeak, a leading provider of CDN and video-streaming solutions.

VO’s Service Delivery Platform (SDP) has been integrated with Broadpeak’s CloudPVR solution, enabling Orange Poland to launch NPVR, catch-up TV, and start-over features on set-top boxes (STBs) and iOS and Android™ devices, with a fast time to market.

“Within the Polish TV market, there’s a high consumer demand for NPVR capabilities. To be competitive, we needed to introduce an NPVR service quickly and cost-effectively,” said Piotr Jaworski, CTO at Orange Poland. “VO and Broadpeak joined forces, creating a simple and efficient solution for managing and delivering NPVR. Being able to launch this new NPVR offering in just eight months, from kickoff to commercial launch, is a huge benefit for us as it enables our subscribers to enjoy the content they love more comfortably and intensively.”

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VO’s SDP enables Orange Poland to manage subscribers and service delivery efficiently from a single platform whilst reducing costs. Using the comprehensive capabilities offered by VO’s SDP, Orange Poland can effectively manage the limits on the number of recordings, storage, and time duration, which are critical to a successful NPVR service. Broadpeak’s CloudPVR solution includes the BkM100 to manage recordings and the BkS350 origin packager to ingest and record ABR live streams. The BkS350 also records live content in one video format and then packages and encrypts it on the fly in any ABR format, providing massive storage savings.

“Orange Poland is the fastest-growing pay-TV operator in Poland,” said Jacques Le Mancq, CEO, Broadpeak. “We are extremely proud to build, together with VO, a solution that delivers Orange Poland’s vision for the future of television.”

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“Today, users want the flexibility to watch television shows at any time, and services like NPVR are a great way for operators to address those subscribers’ demands,” said Paul Molinier, Viaccess-Orca CEO. “Working with Broadpeak, we’re helping Orange Poland to communicate and interact with audiences on all devices and deliver personalised recordings, including programs that have already been broadcast, improving audience engagement.”

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VO will demonstrate its SDP and other solutions at IBC2019 at Stand 1.A51. More info.

Broadpeak will demonstrate its Cloud-PVR and other solutions at IBC2019 at Stand 5.B78. More info.

 

V-Nova Partners with Simplestream for New Pan-African Streaming Service MVMO

Partnering with next-generation OTT TV pioneer Simplestream, the service will combine the high-efficiency V-Nova P+ codec-agnostic enhancement and easy-to-deploy Simplestream streaming platform to deliver a wide range of high-quality content to audiences throughout the continent.

P+ supports the upcoming MPEG-5 Part 2 LCEVC compression standard, which means that MVMO will be one of the first platforms to deploy it. With MVMO, it will be possible to watch video anywhere there is a phone signal, which has huge potential as the demand for streamed content grows across Africa.

MVMO (Movies, Video, Music, Opportunity), is a distribution platform developed in association with the Creative Africa Exchange (CAX), a marketplace for the creative and cultural industry, sponsored by Afreximbank. MVMO is set to help consolidate the burgeoning demand for high-quality streaming content in Africa. Already trialing in several locations ahead of its official launch in Nigeria, with other countries to be confirmed shortly, MVMO is partnering with major global content providers, including Times Multimedia TMM as the exclusive news affiliate for the platform, but will also uniquely provide a platform for independent producers to publish and monetise their content to support the rapidly growing African creative industries.

Investment in cellular infrastructure in Africa continues apace with some 5G networks imminent but many people still only have access to 2G or 3G. Providing both robust video quality at very low bitrates and exceptional quality when possible is therefore critical.

According to V-Nova CEO and Co-Founder Guido Meardi, “Simplestream’s remarkable platform has revolutionised content distribution and continues to break new ground in the initiation of new streaming services. Our P+ software library is fundamental to the feasibility of this service as it allows people to enjoy video even on 2G networks with a bitrate of only 100 Kbps but also enables high quality full HD at just 1Mbps. Integrating P+ into Simplestream’s platform will open up opportunities worldwide.”

 

Dan Finch, Chief Commercial Officer of Simplestream, comments: “We are very pleased to be partnering with MVMO and V-Nova on the development and introduction of this hugely exciting new service. We see a lot of potential for V-Nova’s P+ technology to enable a larger reach to consumers and an improved quality of service in territories such as Africa that are particularly dependent on mobile networks. Combined with our award winning end to end streaming platform, that is now widely adopted across EMEA, we are confident that this service will be a vibrant addition to Africa’s burgeoning OTT TV sector.”

 

Sandra Iyawa, CEO of Times Multimedia and Chief Content Officer for MVMO, adds: “The combination of Simplestream and V-Nova technologies has provided us with a versatile and highly-efficient streaming platform that allows us to reach a vast untapped audience across any mobile network. We will be launching MVMO at the international CAX weekend event in Kigali, Rwanda in December and look forward to welcoming our first viewers to this unique new platform.”

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