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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Anevia Collaborates with Intel to Reduce the Cost of Video Encoding for OTT

Thanks to Intel’s latest technology using a new instruction set developed for artificial intelligence called Vector Neural Network Instructions (VNNI), the Anevia software-based Genova encoder can now enable 20% more channels at the same CPU frequency – meaning OTT service providers can offer more services at the same cost.

“We have a dedicated team of specialists with 15 years of experience in encoding who have been working on second-generation Intel® Xeon® Platinum processors since the end of 2018 via Intel’s early access programme,” says Anevia cofounder and CTO Damien Lucas. “Our latest Genova encoders include optimisations for these latest Intel Xeon processors.”

 

“Encoder design must constantly be optimised in order to achieve the highest possible transmission efficiency without compromising quality,” adds Anevia’s EVP for Compression Products, Jérôme Blanc. “Anevia is one of the earliest video and audio encoding companies to participate in Intel’s early access programmes. This collaboration gave us the processing resources needed to advance this optimisation to a new level, ultimately enabling TV operators to offer some 20 per cent more services without increasing their costs.”

 

“Multichannel video delivery with scalable coding efficiency requires significant compute and skill to implement for cloud-native services,” said Lynn Comp, vice president and general manager of the Visual Cloud Division at Intel. “Anevia’s innovative use of Intel Deep Learning Boost on second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors to improve their encoding solutions promises greater revenue potential for service providers with increased stream density”.

Anevia’s Genova is a Linux-based multi-bitrate video encoder for live streaming and video on demand, up to 4K ultra-high definition with high dynamic range. Anevia’s end-to-end offering also includes ultra-low latency packaging, origin servers, Cloud DVR and a CDN solution for telcos and service providers to implement their complete OTT TV service.

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nanocosmos Takes Interactive Live Streaming to the Next Level With New Features for nanoStream Cloud

At IBC2019, nanocosmos will introduce new enhancements to its nanoStream Cloud end-to-end solution for ultra-low-latency (ULL) live streaming that enable a more interactive and engaging experience for end users, supporting a range of interactive business use cases such as iGaming, webcasts, and auctions. nanoStream Cloud features H5Live Player for plug-in-free, low-latency playback (about one second) on any mobile and desktop browser, including Safari on iOS; a scalable CDN with a global footprint; and advanced analytics and metrics that provide improved insights throughout the entire workflow to ensure a superior quality of service.

“In today’s video streaming world, businesses, platform operators, and content creators are looking to gamify business and OTT content to increase audience engagement, interactivity, and monetization,” said Oliver Lietz, CEO and founder of nanocosmos. “nanoStream Cloud is the ultimate solution, offering ultra-low-latency that is critical for interactive live streaming, with a scalable CDN, analytics, and flexible player in one platform, all at an economical cost with no additional streaming servers or infrastructure required. The new enhancements to nanoStream Cloud take the platform to the next level, opening up opportunities for interactive use cases on a global scale.”

New capabilities to be demonstrated at IBC2019 for the nanoStream Cloud ULL live-streaming platform include multi-bit-rate (MBR/ABR) streaming; transcoding, improved live streaming and screen sharing in the browser; tagging; secure streaming; and synced playback. Next-generation MBR/ABR and analytics capabilities expand operators’ reach and make it easy to deliver ULL live video on any device, anywhere in the world. The company will also showcase new flexible live encoding options for its platform, giving operators the choice to use the nanoStream Webcaster or third-party live encoders. nanoStream Cloud is also perfect for offering instant live streaming for multiple camera streams 24/7.

Efficient and scalable, the end-to-end solution includes support for the entire video streaming workflow, from live encoding to streaming and playback. The nanoStream Cloud platform is easy to use and integrate into existing firewalled and enterprise environments, offering a global footprint and player that is compatible with any mobile and desktop browser. By reducing setup, hardware, and maintenance costs, as well as eliminating vendor fragmentation issues, nanoStream Cloud provides a lightweight, cost-effective solution for businesses that want to create more interactive live video streaming experiences and gamify their content.

nanocosmos will demonstrate its nanoStream Cloud platform at IBC2019, Sept. 13-17 in Amsterdam, at Stand 14.B17. In addition, Lietz will participate in a panel discussion on “Streaming Live Events: When it MUST Be All Right on the Night.” The session will take place Monday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. in the Content Everywhere Hub — Presentation Theater located on Stand 14.C15.

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StreamGuys Turns Spotlight on Advanced Video Streaming Workflows at IBC2019

SaaS-based streaming and podcast solutions innovator StreamGuys will use the upcoming IBC2019 exhibition in Amsterdam to showcase its advanced video delivery capabilities including low-latency streaming, resilient backhaul and multi-destination origination for third-party networks and social media. The company will demonstrate its flexible and robust video streaming workflows in stand 8.A59 at the event, where it will co-exhibit with technology partner ENCO from September 13 to 17.

While StreamGuys may be best known for helping radio broadcasters and podcasters produce, manage, monetize and deliver their premium audio content, the company has been continually expanding its video streaming tools and services to bring the same benefits to TV broadcasters and video producers. The company now counts some of the world’s top sports and entertainment brands amongst its video clients.

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StreamGuys’ enterprise-class live streaming workflows can ingest video in a variety of transport protocols and codecs; transform it into additional formats, bitrates or protocols; and deliver it directly to viewers across the company’s robust content delivery network or redistribute it to third-party CDNs and social media platforms.

“We are essentially a one-stop shop for live video streaming at enterprise scale,” said Eduardo Martinez, director of technology, StreamGuys. “Customers can send us a high-quality, single-bitrate feed, and we can repurpose it as necessary and act as an origin for efficient delivery to many destinations. By offering this as a managed service, we spare customers from having to manage and maintain a multitude of encoders and servers, as well as reducing their bandwidth requirements to just a single stream coming out of their facility.”

StreamGuys’ recently-added support for the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) protocol for both ingest and output ensures secure, resilient, low-latency delivery over challenging networks. SRT mitigates the impact of network issues including jitter, packet loss and fluctuating bandwidth to enable high-quality video experiences even over the public internet. StreamGuys workflows most commonly leverage SRT for contribution and backhaul, relaying streams between networks and in studio-to-studio applications.

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StreamGuys is also at the forefront of the industry’s drive towards lower streaming latency, with current or upcoming support for ultra-low-latency technologies including WebRTC, low-latency CMAF and Softvelum’s SLDP (Softvelum Low Delay Protocol). SLDP is actively used in multiple StreamGuys customer deployments, and is directly supported in StreamGuys’ embeddable, consumer-facing SGplayer HTML5 multimedia player.

Although most social media platforms can ingest streams via the RTMP protocol, they often have slightly different requirements for resolutions, bitrates and other parameters. StreamGuys can transcode, transrate or transmux source streams as needed to optimize delivery for each social media outlet. Users can record and review their video streams in StreamGuys’ SGrecast live stream repurposing system, then rebroadcast them as live-like streams to social networks. In addition to rebroadcasting video streams to social media, SGrecast can augment audio streams with visual elements such as a graphic or waveform for presentation in video-centric social environments.

“Unlike many other streaming solution providers, we don’t take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach,” added Martinez. “All of our services and technologies are highly interoperable and can be deployed in combination or à la carte, giving us the flexibility to match any broadcaster or media enterprise’s desired workflow. Combining that with our renowned white-glove customer service enables us to provide customers with exactly the right video streaming solution for their requirements.”

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Harmonic Brings Real-World OTT and Broadcast Success to IBC2019

At IBC2019, Harmonic will demonstrate real-world deployments of its unified OTT and broadcast delivery solutions. A variety of deployment strategies will be showcased, including cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments, to demonstrate how service providers, broadcasters and content owners originate and distribute video channels smarter, faster and simpler. Harmonic’s unique approach to video delivery includes cloud-based SaaS solutions that dramatically speed up the launch of new services, including live OTT channels, increase business agility and enhance video experiences.

“At IBC2019, we’re drawing from our extensive deployment experience and showcasing concrete solutions deployed in the field by leading service providers, broadcasters and content owners,” said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Harmonic. “The video market is highly dynamic, and consumer demand for live OTT services is growing. Harmonic’s expansive solutions portfolio and enhancements in cloud, targeted advertisement and 8K technologies, with a SaaS business approach are designed with a sharp eye to help our customers stay one step ahead of the video evolution.”

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Unified OTT and Broadcast Delivery

Unified delivery workflows running in the cloud and on premises will be demonstrated, which offer service providers a low-latency OTT solution for multiprotocol environments to provide the same delay between broadcast and OTT feeds — key for delivering live sports. In addition, Harmonic will showcase a range of unique workflows for VOS®360 SaaS to launch skinny bundles, create new pop-up channels, deploy disaster recovery and stream live sports in UHD.

Maximize Efficiency & Flexibility with Virtualized, Software and Cloud Playout Solutions

At IBC2019, Harmonic will demonstrate real-world deployments of hybrid SDI/IP, UHD and HDR playout and on-premises/cloud-based channel origination for OTT and broadcast workflows powered by its virtualized Spectrum™ X media servers and VOS360 SaaS. By supporting the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards and AMWA IS-04 and IS-05 specifications, Harmonic enables video content and service providers to make a smooth transition to all-IP workflows.

Simplify Live Content Distribution with CDN-Enabled Primary Distribution SaaS

Harmonic’s CDN-enabled Primary Distribution solution, a powerful workflow supported by the company’s VOS360 SaaS, will also be highlighted. With the Primary Distribution SaaS solution, programmers can deliver linear channels to distributors, whether they are traditional pay-TV operators, virtual MVPDs or local broadcasters, anywhere in the world via CDN.

Increase Monetization with Video SaaS for OTT and Broadcast Services

Harmonic will also showcase the powerful dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities in Harmonic’s video SaaS solutions. With the company’s video SaaS solutions, operators can deliver advanced targeted advertisements and optimize ad campaigns to deliver personalized advertisements to viewers in real time. Harmonic’s solutions provide operators and advertisers a unified approach to reach audiences over hybrid broadcast and broadband delivery networks.

Future Zone Brings 8K, AI Technologies to the Forefront

The company will demonstrate high-quality 8K video delivery on 8K connected TVs and legacy mobile devices with EyeQ™ content-aware encoding (CAE), which reduces the required bandwidth by up to 50% while improving quality of experience. AI-based video compression will also be demonstrated, showing how it can reduce bit rates for broadcast and IPTV delivery, improve QoE for OTT and increase density for all applications.

Thought Leadership on AI Video Compression, 8K and 5G at the Future Zone Theatre

Thierry Fautier, vice president of video strategy at Harmonic, will outline the opportunities that 5G networks promise and the challenges ahead for 8K in his “Taking a Look at 8K and 5G Technologies” presentation on Sept.14 at 1:50 p.m. in the Future Zone Theatre (Hall 8, Stand F40).

Also in the Future Zone Theatre, Stephane Cloirec, senior director, video appliances at Harmonic, will speak on how “AI-Driven Video Compression Brings New Revenue Opportunities and Cost Savings for Service Providers” on Sept. 16 at 4:10 p.m.

Harmonic is showcasing its innovative solutions for OTT and next-gen TV delivery, along with real-world deployment examples, at IBC2019, Sept. 13-17, in Amsterdam at Stand 1.B20.

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StreamGuys to Showcase New Monetization, Visualization and Social Media Innovations for Radio Streams and Podcasts at IBC2019

StreamGuys is heading to the IBC2019 exhibition in Amsterdam (September 13-17) with a bevy of new features in its SGrecast live stream repurposing and podcast management system that help radio broadcasters and podcasters maximize the monetization of their content and better engage their audiences. Co-exhibiting in stand 8.A59 with partner ENCO, the company will showcase enhancements including server-side ad insertion support in the SGrewind live stream time-shifting module; expanded Audio2Video functionality for turning on-demand audio into compelling visual experiences; and live broadcasting to social media platforms.

These additions complement other recently-announced SGrecast upgrades including a comprehensive API for integration with customers’ existing enterprise systems; direct incorporation of SGreports analytics functionality for detailed content performance metrics; and support for Remote Audio Data (RAD) podcast analytics technology, including quick tagging of many commonly desired RAD events.

Relevant Ads when Rewinding Radio

StreamGuys’ cloud-based SGrecast solution lets radio broadcasters record, repurpose, replay and rewind their live streams to improve audience experiences and create revenue-expanding side channels and podcasts. Its SGrewind feature offers listeners DVR-like control of their live-streamed audio, allowing them to pause and resume a stream without missing any content; rewind the stream to hear something they missed; or restart the stream from the beginning of a preceding program or segment.

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Complementing StreamGuys’ existing dynamic advertising capabilities for live streams and on-demand content, the new AdsWizz-enabled SGrewind ad insertion functionality delivers targeted ads to listeners when they rewind and replay live streams. The new feature leverages ad-triggering metadata from the original live stream to insert fresh advertising content into the same position during the replay. Whether rewinding a live stream by minutes, hours, or even days, listeners will hear timely, relevant advertising.

“The addition of server-side ad insertion to SGrewind rounds out our robust dynamic advertising support, enabling broadcasters and producers to target ads across their live streams, on-demand content, and now linear replays,” said Jason Osburn, executive vice president, StreamGuys. “Instead of hearing the same ad again after rewinding a stream, a listener could hear a spot from a completely different advertiser, thus providing further revenue opportunities for the broadcaster. And even if a listener rewinds by a few days, he or she shouldn’t hear an ad for an event or promotion that is already over.”

Bolstering Audio with Video

SGrecast’s expanded Audio2Video features provide users with greater control and more customization options when turning their on-demand audio content into compelling video clips. The new toolset and editing interface enable broadcasters and podcasters to creatively craft the look and feel of the videos they create from their audio, combining the auditory source with graphics, custom text, visual waveforms, motion backgrounds and transitions. The Audio2Video functionality can also be seamlessly integrated with ENCO’s enCaption4 automated captioning system to overlay captions of the audio.

“Social media is one of the most important outlets for content providers to engage their audiences, and video is a powerful way of attracting and retaining followers,” said Osburn. “While our expanded Audio2Video features can be applied to any length of content, they are particularly effective in turning short-form content such as sports, news and talk segments into catchy visual experiences for repurposing to social platforms and promoting their brand.”

Bringing Live Streams to Social Media

While the new Audio2Video capabilities focus on bringing on-demand content to social media networks, StreamGuys will also provide IBC attendees with a sneak preview of upcoming SGrecast capabilities for live broadcasting to social outlets. Customers will be able to ingest their existing live broadcast streams into SGrecast; overlay them in real time with elements such as a graphic or waveform; and immediately rebroadcast them to all of their social media platforms. Users will also be able to create scheduled linear rebroadcasts of archived content and deliver them to social media channels as live streams, enabling them to repurpose existing material into live-like experiences to attract new audiences.

“Customers using our managed CDN services can already deliver their live streams to social networks, but our upcoming new functionality will give our users more control, providing access to their archives to create linear rebroadcasts while letting them customize the visual presentation of the audio,” concluded Osburn. “We look forward to discussing this upcoming feature with IBC attendees and getting their feedback as we finalize its development.”

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