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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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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Qligent to Debut Integrated Content Repurposing in Vision Monitoring and Analysis Platform at IBC2019

Qligent, a specialist in cloud-based, enterprise-level content monitoring and analysis, has added integrated content repurposing as a standard feature within its award-winning Qligent™ Vision QoS/QoE media quality assurance platform. For TV broadcasters, cable networks, and other premium media content providers, Vision Repurpose streamlines the recording, trimming, and transformation of off-air video into short, branded clips using handy tools directly within the Vision environment.

Qligent will showcase the extensive, feature-rich Vision platform and demonstrate the benefits of the new Vision Repurpose toolset in stand 8.E47 at IBC2019, taking place September 13-17, 2019 at the RAI in Amsterdam. The company will also highlight its Qligent Analytics product line at a special exhibit in stand 14.C19.

Meet Vision Repurpose

Vision Repurpose is particularly beneficial for routine operational tasks, such as creating on-demand news and sport stories, on-air promos, and posts for social media, web, and OTT outlets. It can also be used to efficiently create clips with burned-in timecode that verify compliance—such as closed captioning—or show advertisers that their commercials ran as agreed.

With just a few clicks, Vision Repurpose lets users schedule and record off-air video in multiple resolutions and formats. Then, using the embedded HTML5 media player, users can browse the recordings for specific segments they want to repurpose. Using the cuts-only editing tools within the media player, users can mark the clip’s in- and out-points with frame accuracy to edit and trim the clip. These clips can then be exported directly to a nonlinear editing system (NLE) for craft editing or moved to servers or cloud-based storage for collaboration, distribution, and archiving.

“Since time is of the essence, branding, sales, and programming teams need to move swiftly to generate the video clips and promo packages they regularly need to expand their broadcast and online viewership,” said John Shoemaker, Director of Sales for Qligent. “Vision Repurpose speeds and automates this otherwise time- and labor-intensive workflow so the process is faster and more efficient.”

User-Controlled Functionality

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The Vision platform is designed to operate on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of the two allowing for distributed recording, such as locally for a station group and centralized editing all in one system. Vision Repurpose continues to offer users flexibility and control, such as whether they want certain tasks to be automated or done manually. Users also have full control over when and where any repurposed video is released for broadcast, online distribution, or proof of air.

Further simplifying the process, Vision Repurpose can be configured to take each user directly to a personal dashboard listing the video recordings relevant to their job responsibility. For example, sales staff would be shown a list of recorded ads, while the newsroom or branding departments would see recently recorded newscasts. Similarly, station executives can filter videos of interest, such as proof that an ad ran as agreed or that a show had proper closed captioning. Users can also search for specific segments based upon captions, timecode, or other criteria.

“Users can find what they need, when they need it, in fewer clicks, and with fewer screens to sift through,” Shoemaker said. “Vision Repurpose makes creating video clips from recorded video quick and easy, especially benefitting lean, budget-conscious broadcast teams.”

Timely, Custom Repurposing

While recording can be performed manually, Vision Repurpose also offers 24/7 scheduling of automated recordings of any broadcast channels or program segments. Customers can record video locally or to their own private cloud storage, or incorporate storage as part of their Qligent Vision service. Video can be captured in multiple compressed formats in resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD, and repurposed video clips can incorporate elements like the station’s logo bug.

For example, a call-letter station could use Vision Repurpose to record its 6pm newscast in its entirety, or just a segment of interest, like the “A block.” When the newscast is finished, that recording can be viewed in the HTML5 player and edited to create a short HD promo of the lead story for that night’s 11pm news. Lower-resolution versions can also be quickly and easily output for posting to the station’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and website.

“Since Vision already handles tasks like video/audio recording, compliance monitoring, and as-run verification, Vision users no longer need to exit the platform to repurpose their media,” Shoemaker added. “Vision Repurpose now puts the video editing and repurposing tools they need right within the scalable, powerful Vision platform.”

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Bannister Lake Widgets and Results Timeline Drive Global Television’s Alberta Provincial Elections

Global Television’s coverage of the Alberta provincial election on April 16 featured two new data-driven products designed to communicate the nuances of election results to viewers and editorial teams. Bannister Lake worked closely with Global Television’s production, design, and technical teams to deliver a touchscreen-based series of web widgets that incorporated live election results, historical results, and important demographic data. Global Television used the highly responsive web widgets to illustrate the connections between election results and contextual data such as household income and family status. By using easy-to-read maps, viewers could instantly comprehend and contrast regional and city-suburban voting outcomes.

Bannister Lake’s development of HTML5-based widgets adds an exciting dimension to election coverage and can be easily launched for other live data applications including sports, finance, and eSports. The widgets can be built quickly and are specifically designed to be fully responsive and interactive. Most importantly, the same products can be used on-air as well as online, granting viewers full access and control over the specific content they want to consume.

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Bannister Lake touch-enabled web widget integrates demographic data alongside historic and live election results data.

“As broadcasters look to expand their election coverage online and to mobile devices, our web widgets will play a vital role,” said Georg Hentsch, president, Bannister Lake. “Not only do they create a highly visual, interactive experience for viewers, they also allow interesting datasets to be incorporated, helping tell a more complete and compelling election story.”

Global Television also took full advantage of a new feature set recently added to Elector, Bannister Lake’s election race software solution. Elector’s Results Timeline feature helps analysts and reporters better predict race outcomes. Results Timeline displays a graphical timeline of election results per constituency or per party that is consistently updated as data comes in. This feature provides an easy way to read visual representation of the overall voting trend and allows analysts to quickly identify races that are fluctuating dramatically, have a clear winner early on, or are too close to call.

“Election night coverage is all about results,” said Gerry Belec, director of news technology and operations at Corus Entertainment. “Having Bannister Lake on our side, creating innovative data solutions, was instrumental in producing a great broadcast. The touch-enabled maps and the new features in Elector allowed us to use data in new ways that genuinely engaged our audience.”

In addition to touch-enabled web widgets and Results Timeline, Bannister Lake also supported Global Television’s Alberta election coverage with a variety of data-driven solutions, including augmented reality graphics, full frame results graphics, tickers, and L-bars.

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Bannister Lake’s Results Timeline feature visualizes overall voting trends by comparing vote percentage against polls reporting.

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ENCO Debuts Studio in a Cloud Strategy at 2019 NAB Show

Following the European debut of ENCO’s second-generation WebDAD platform at IBC in September, ENCO will showcase it as a key component of the company’s “Studio in a Cloud” strategy at the 2019 NAB Show. Part of ENCO’s enCloud family of solutions, the enhanced WebDAD will be positioned as its central radio demonstration at the show, highlighting how broadcasters can now take direct control of studio operations from any remote location with a web connection.

WebDAD empowers cloud-based operation through an updated, HTML5-enabled user interface. Users have the freedom of a fully-virtualized platform to remotely access and control their studio-based ENCO DAD radio automation systems – a benefit made all the more powerful with the addition of ENCO’s Presenter On-Air interface. This interface further optimizes ENCO’s modular, touchscreen design for customizing production workflows and providing instant access to media libraries, playlists and more.

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“WebDAD has evolved to support a true ‘Studio in the Cloud’ operation that removes the limitation of maintaining an on-premises physical workstation,” said Ken Frommert, president, ENCO. “In addition to reducing operational costs at the station, WebDAD customers have broad control and playout capabilities across on-air presentation, playlist manipulation, voice tracking, and other workflow tasks. With the powerful ENCO Presenter On-Air interface, WebDAD is the most powerful and comprehensive browser-based interface on the market.”

Frommert adds that WebDAD also helps stations work more freely with on-air and production talent around the world by making it easy to bring in part-time, contract, and remote staff to access the playout system from anywhere there is an internet connection.

ENCO will demonstrate the entire Studio in a Cloud workflow, including other radio solutions, at the 2019 NAB Show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. ENCO exhibits at Booth N2524.

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Actus Digital Amplifies Compliance and Logging Suite at 2019 NAB Show

Actus Digital will bring the latest innovations for its industry-standard compliance monitoring and media intelligence platform to the 2019 NAB Show, where the company will demonstrate how broadcasters and service providers (MVPD, OTT) can expertly manage multiple workflow tasks under the compliance umbrella from a single platform.

Rather than force customers to rely on disparate workflow components, the Actus Compliance and Logging Suite streamlines the recording and management of content, clips creation and content repurposing, export into one centralized, unified platform – adding a built-in multiviewer to monitor and analyze overall quality of service. Actus Digital adds value with competitive and ratings analysis tools to understand the performance element, with rich data and statistics that amplify media and business intelligence for customers.

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The Actus Compliance and Logging Suite is a self-managed solution that is simple to deploy and integrate, requiring a minimum of rack space and power requirements for enhanced total cost of ownership. Actus Digital will demonstrate the Actus Compliance and Logging Suite and its new features at Booth SU13905 in the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 8-11.

“As the industry accelerates the migration to IP, Virtual machines and cloud workflows, there is a need to bring more advanced software toolsets and workflow tasks into a common, centralized solution,” said Raphael Renous, CTO, Actus Digital. “As we will communicate at NAB, we continue to enhance our platform in alignment with these trends and requirements, with the goal of helping our customers work more efficiently, optimize production and reduce costs.”

Renous points to the Actus Clip Factory that is another example of the company’s innovations in this direction, which addresses the growing need to manage content for social media consumption.

“Clip Factory answers the call from our customers to create and export clips to all social media platforms instantly and simultaneously, quickly and cost-effectively.”

Actus Digital’s delivery solutions are architected as HTML5-based platforms to ensure unified experiences on any device. On the compliance side – the company’s bread-and-butter focus for NAB – Actus Digital addresses all FCC requirements including closed captioning, loudness control, multi-lingual audio, Dolby decoding, subtitle recording, SCTE, Nave and metadata extraction among other components.

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VITEC Streamlines IPTV, Digital Signage, and Video Wall Workflows at ISE 2019

VITEC announced it will showcase the latest capabilities for its award-winning EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform at ISE 2019 on Stand 14-M200. The chosen solution for sports and entertainment venues, enterprise, government, and military agencies in Europe and the U.S., EZ TV’s comprehensive feature set enables any organization to centrally manage and stream HD, low-latency, in-house feeds and TV channels, as well as create eye-catching digital signage and video walls for distribution to any displays through a facility.

“We’re seeing more outdated RF-based facilities being transformed by EZ TV,” said Bruno Teissier, international sales and marketing director, VITEC. “Not only is the platform bringing them into the IPTV world, it’s also improving OPEX, supporting HD and even 4K as they explore future capabilities, and allowing users and fans to access digital media from any screen — TVs, PCs, or mobile devices — and have the video-on-demand experience they crave. ISE 2019 is the perfect opportunity for VITEC to discuss with attendees how EZ TV’s latest innovations can simplify deployment and management of projects involving IPTV, digital signage, and video wall content.”

VITEC_EZTV_Soccer_collageVITEC’s EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform is ideal for the ever-changing video, marketing, and sales requirements of today’s sports venues as well as for the secure dissemination and content management of full-motion video streams and offline files for enterprise and mission-critical applications and government agencies. Designed to integrate seamlessly with any IT environment and run on all types of networks — LAN, WAN, and wireless — EZ TV can be rapidly deployed and is intuitive to operate and maintain for any-size project. With centralized creation, distribution, and monitoring of live and on-demand content and digital signage, the platform streamlines the process of linear and non-linear workflows. Its network-agnostic, modular architecture allows organizations to easily upgrade legacy systems or deploy a turnkey IPTV and signage solution for a new build, at a fraction of the cost of traditional digital signage solutions. For sports and entertainment facilities, EZ TV can offer the most advanced fan experience while reducing CAPEX and OPEX often associated with legacy solutions.

The platform’s video wall capability simplifies deployment and management of projects. VITEC’s video wall processors are 100-percent hardware-based, feature low-latency native playback of IPTV streams up to 4K, and support interactive content and imagery transformations. More than 50 displays can be managed from a single processor, including nonstandard layouts and resolutions of TVs and LED walls.

With the rapid adoption of video streaming and recording workflows, organizations increasingly face challenges related to storing, searching, and playing back valuable assets effectively. EZ TV’s new Media Library module enables users to find, tag, edit, organize, store, search, and share media files quickly. Featuring a user-intuitive HTML5 interface, its powerful tools streamline media processes from live streaming to recording, archiving, and collaboration, easily allowing users to manage a full digital video experience across an entire venue.

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