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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Copyright Tomorrowland 2019

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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Copyright Tomorrowland 2019

“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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Copyright Tomorrowland 2019

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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Copyright Tomorrowland 2019

Interra Systems 2019 NAB Show Exhibitor Preview

This is an exciting yet challenging time for video service providers as they maintain the traditional video delivery model and embrace and exploit the OTT platform. While OTT streaming offers tremendous growth opportunities, its distribution is more complex given that it requires new content packaging and delivery formats, putting in place a new VOD and live monitoring infrastructure, ensuring regulatory compliance, and personalized ads. Additionally, providing high-quality video and viewing experiences on multiscreen platforms are a must for ensuring success in the highly competitive market.

At the 2019 NAB Show, Interra Systems’ product and technology experts will demonstrate how the company’s cutting-edge solutions are helping the media industry with content quality control (QC), monitoring, and classification to streamline content management, improve efficiencies, and provide exceptional audio-video quality on every device. The flexibility of deploying Interra’s solutions in the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of both allows content creators and distributors to adopt a pragmatic approach best suited for their organization.

Video Quality Assurance for Streaming Media From Ingest Through Delivery for Live and VOD Content

At the 2019 NAB Show, Interra Systems will showcase its BATON ABR QC and ORION-OTT monitoring solutions, which set the industry benchmark for delivering high-quality streamed video. BATON ABR and ORION-OTT perform deep QC checks and monitor VOD and live content from ingest to distribution points. By carrying out exhaustive checks at pre- and post-transcode stages, along with comprehensive, delivery-specific checks and monitoring, this powerful solution assures exceptional QoE for every stream on every device.

ORION-OTT For Live Event Streaming

ORION-OTT can monitor a large number of streams for ABR compliance along with audio-video quality checks in real time. The high-performance solution suite also supports closed captions, ad verification/compliance, and DRMs on both Windows and Linux operating systems.

ORION Central Manager

Providing an aggregated view and status collected by ORION and ORION-OTT monitoring points, ORION Central Manager gives unprecedented visibility and power for proactive monitoring. It offers a real-time view of linear and OTT services, alerts, and QoE information for each video, ensuring fast and efficient resolution of issues.

When complemented by the company’s BATON for QC and ORION for 24/7, linear workflow monitoring, BATON ABR and ORION-OTT product suites provide broadcasters with a total solution for streaming superior-quality services.

WINNOW, an AI and ML-based Solution for Compliance, Classification, and Categorization

Interra Systems continues its innovation with WINNOW, which is powered by advanced AI and machine learning (ML) technologies. WINNOW can detect and tag specific scenes and images such as violence and strong language based on user-defined rules. Based on Interra Systems’ widely recognized computer vision and ML technologies, WINNOW helps video service providers streamline their content for target markets across different geographies. WINNOW can be used with Interra Systems’ BATON, an automated QC product, and supports deployment on both cloud and on-premises environments.

Automate and Simplify Any QC Workflow With BATON

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The latest version of BATON supports integration with WINNOW, the company’s new system for content compliance, classification, and identification. New features include REST API support for test plans, tasks and reports, video compression scores, HDR quality checks, auto-scaling of BATON setup in Amazon cloud/on-premises, support for DRM techniques and enhanced audio language detection capabilities. Additionally, it boasts new format support for VAST, P2 package, encrypted DCP content, AVC-Intra, WebM and Vorbis, and more.

Assure Standards Compliance, Debugging With VEGA Media Analyzers

Interra Systems’ VEGA Media Analyzer is a premier tool for standards compliance, debug, and in-depth analysis of encoded streams. Recent updates to the VEGA family AV1 format includes support for Windows 10, the latest HEVC HM reference code, HEVC-interlaced streams, VP9 streams (4:2:2, 4:4:4), PCAP streams, WebM, ALS Audio, Dolby AC-4 audio, and AVS Plus video. VEGA ABR software provides in-depth analysis, debug, and troubleshooting of complex ABR streams, making the solution an indispensable tool for checking the quality and integrity of manifest files and variants.

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New Videon EdgeCaster Edge Compute Encoder Enables Ultra-Low-Latency Live Streaming at Low Cost

Videon, a cutting-edge developer of 4K and HD streaming products that enable users to move media from any source to any screen, is addressing professional and prosumer demand for lower-cost, lower-latency live streaming with its new EdgeCaster edge compute encoder. Videon’s unique edge compute encoding technology bypasses a layer of cloud-based processing, in turn reducing latency to as little as <4 seconds and cutting the average user’s streaming costs by 50%.

“Our new EdgeCaster edge compute encoder makes it easier and more economical than ever to deliver high-quality streaming content to emerging markets — smaller groups of viewers dedicated to specific events or interest areas — that represent a quickly growing share of content consumption today,” said Todd Erdley, Videon co-founder and CEO. “Ease of use, low latency, and a low price point combine to make the EdgeCaster a transformative live streaming option across a wide range of use cases.”

Traditional live streaming models can add 20 or 30 seconds of latency. By comparison, traditional live broadcast introduces 5 seconds of latency. Videon’s EdgeCaster edge compute encoder technology enables a wide range of emerging applications with <4 second latency from camera to playback using public internet connections.

The EdgeCaster HD and EdgeCaster 4K encoders eliminate heavy computational processes — transcoding, format repackaging from RTMP to HLS/DASH, and creation of multiple bit rates — in the cloud by handling these tasks efficiently at the network edge. As a result, the Videon encoders offer higher performance and a lower fixed cost per stream in addressing the requirements of delay-sensitive video applications, as well as applications with high-volume streaming to limited numbers of viewers per stream.

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Built for professionals in the prosumer, pro AV, and broadcast markets, the EdgeCaster line offers an advanced streaming feature set with capabilities including ultra-low-latency streaming, cost-saving edge compute processing, forward error correction, and full duplex encoding/decoding.

The EdgeCaster HD boasts latency of less than 4 seconds and provides multiple RTMP, SRT, and HLS support. The Videon EdgeCaster 4K includes these capabilities, plus the ability to output up to 6 streams simultaneously in multiple bit rates/resolutions, power over Ethernet (PoE), support for H.265/HEVC, and video resolution up to 4K30.

Videon will begin shipping the EdgeCaster HD and EdgeCaster 4K during the 2019 NAB Show.

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Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) acquires Freecaster

BCE today announced that it has fully acquired Freecaster, an online video service provider specialised in production and streaming of high-quality content. The transaction closed on 1 January 2019 with Raymond Dulieu remaining the CEO of Freecaster.

With this acquisition, BCE strengthens its production capabilities and furthermore expands its footprint in the live and on-demand streaming of content.

Frédéric Lemaire, Chief Executive Officer of BCE, says: “At BCE we have already developed advanced online video solutions for the market. These will be complemented by the know-how and recent developments of Freecaster which allow us to strengthen our offers and accelerate the development of our non-linear portfolio. Since May 2018, BCE has successfully collaborated with Freecaster in live-streaming of events such as The Spot (the international sport innovations event) and the Montreux Volley Masters. I am looking forward to taking our collaboration to the next level and offering even more targeted and high-tech solutions to our clients.”

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Tomorrowland

Raymond Dulieu, Chief Executive Officer of Freecaster, adds: “Over the past 15 years Freecaster has grown from being the leading global extreme sports video platform to becoming a live 4K video production and streaming service provider to fashion houses, music festivals and broadcasters. Integrating within BCE will reinforce the company from a managerial, financial and technical point of view. It will also allow Freecaster to further offer its customers the high-end support and level of customisation they have enjoyed to date whilst also adding new services as part of BCE’s technical portfolio.”

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FIM Motocross World Championship – MXGP

Freecaster’s services span across the entire video value chain from production to world-wide streaming via a proprietary online video platform. 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.

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Fashion houses (LVMH…)

Among Freecaster’s customers are the Belgian Public Broadcaster RTBF as well fashion houses (LVMH group and others), music festivals (Tomorrowland), international institutions (European Commission, Bundesrat – the German Federal Council) and sports championships (FIM Motocross World Championship – MXGP).

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CP Communications Develops New Technology Partnership with Simplylive

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, announces a new partnership with Simplylive, a specialist in automated live production, streaming and recording solutions. The announcement coincides with the official launch of CP Communications’ Red House Streaming business unit, which specializes in IP-based acquisition, production and distribution solutions and services for content creators.

Simplylive’s ViBox all-in-one production technology will power video switching, graphics, instant replay, audio mixing and more for Red House Streaming’s ProductionSTREAM system. ProductionSTREAM, one of three Red House Streaming self-serve systems for small to mid-sized productions, is a compact studio-in-a-box solution for multi-camera content creation.

ProductionSTREAM will support up to 12 video sources with software-based switching, and cleanly integrate with Red House Streaming’s Mobile Viewpoint solutions for IP and bonded cellular networking and distribution. The complete solution provides content creators with an intuitive, touchscreen-driven platform that will help customers focus on storytelling over technical operation, according to Ken Dillard, Vice President of North American Sales, Red House Streaming.

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“Our partnership with Simplylive will provide content creators with an affordable yet high-end solution for IP-based live productions,” said Dillard. “Simplylive’s flexible and intuitive touchscreen technology will provide content creators with all the necessary tools to create professional multi-camera content in a portable package, with great simplicity and exceptional quality.”

Gregory Macchia, VP Sales and Operations, Americas for Simplylive, notes that the partnership solves a growing problem for content creators tasked with filling multiple distribution platforms on limited budgets.

“The broadcast and production industry is hungry for more content, but the budgets are getting smaller and more difficult to justify,” said Macchia. “The Red House Streaming and Simplylive partnership offers a professional solution to create high-level productions while limiting operational costs. Our affordable and flexible approach will help users establish new production models to serve diverse audience sizes and new revenue streams across many delivery platforms.”

ProductionSTREAM will be available to rent or purchase, and can be coupled with live content acquisition and streaming services from CP Communications and Red House Streaming as required. CP Communications specializes in live RF services for major broadcasters, sports leagues and teams, and event and production companies, while RedHouse Streaming offers the same services for IP and bonded cellular applications. Red House Streaming will also act as a distribution arm for Simplylive and sell ViBox systems separate from ProductionSTREAM.

“CP Communications’ years of experience with the most demanding productions establishes a foundation for Red House Streaming to support multi-camera productions with simple, complete and easy to use packages,” said Kurt Heitmann, CEO, CP Communications. “We see tremendous value and opportunity for our customers working in the wide-ranging sports and live event market, among other live production verticals.”

Along with ProductionSTREAM, Red House Streaming will offer CamSTREAM for single-camera productions; and Multi-CamSTREAM for live production that need to deliver one to four feeds to production facilities as discreet, individual streams.

Barix to Showcase IP Audio and Paging Innovations at ISE 2019

Audio over IP innovator Barix is coming to the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2019 show with a wide array of new and upgraded audio distribution solutions, as well as a technology preview of ground-breaking paging and intercom enhancements. From low-latency, in-venue audio delivery on mobile devices to simplifying internal and internet radio streaming, Barix’s latest solutions enable customers to efficiently and affordably move high-quality audio within and beyond today’s rapidly-evolving AV environments. The company will demonstrate its offerings in stand 8-G275 at the event, which takes place February 5-8 in Amsterdam.

“Barix is well-known for meeting audio-over-IP requirements with innovative yet cost-effective approaches that address emerging trends while providing flexibility for the future,” said Reto Brader, CEO, Barix. “Talking to customers, discussing their needs and developing clever, practical solutions to their challenges are what have made us an industry leader. The ISE show is an ideal forum for engaging in these insightful conversations while showcasing our latest advances to end-users, systems integrators and OEMs.”

Low-Latency Audio Streaming to Mobile

Building on the proven benefits of its earlier solutions for seamlessly blending IP audio and digital signage, Barix’s AudioPoint 3.0 audio-to-mobile platform enables streaming to as many as 250 simultaneous mobile listeners with the lowest possible latency. Combining powerful new hardware with free iOS and Android apps, AudioPoint 3.0 streams audio to smartphones and mobile devices over local Wi-Fi in near-perfect synchronization with associated displays.

Barix_AudioPoint_3_Diagram

Reducing the solution’s already-impressive latency to tighten lip sync even further, the latest version amplifies AudioPoint’s benefits for enhancing digital signage while enabling new live translation and presentation support use cases in corporate, worship and educational settings. Successfully deployed around the globe since it began shipping last summer, AudioPoint 3.0’s near real-time streaming also makes it ideal as a direct-to-listener, personal audio delivery system for volume-sensitive environments such as hotel lobbies, libraries and museums, or noisy locations such as live performance venues and sports bars.

Internet Broadcasting in a Box

While AudioPoint 3.0 focuses on providing the lowest possible audio delay for direct-to-mobile applications, Barix’s new Instreamer ICE encoder is designed to maximize receiver compatibility for broader, HTTP-based audio distribution over the internet or internal networks to any browser or mobile device. Making its European pro-AV exhibition debut at ISE 2019, the Instreamer ICE is a specialized model in Barix’s popular Instreamer family that is tailored for Icecast-based streaming applications such as internet radio, intranet audio delivery, background music and multi-site audio distribution where latency is less critical.

Barix_Instreamer_ICE

Bandwidth-efficient AAC+ streams encoded by Instreamer ICE can be sent to an external Icecast system for unlimited propagation or distributed directly to listeners via the unit’s built-in Icecast server for smaller-audience applications. The latest firmware update doubles to 100 the number of simultaneous client devices that can be served directly from each unit, forming an all-in-one, simple-to-deploy audio streaming solution for moderate-scale use cases.

Bringing Paging to the Cloud and Smartphones

Barix’s IP-based paging and intercom solutions are highly regarded for delivering a market-leading combination of reliability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Demonstrations at ISE will feature the company’s paging products in conjunction with IC Graph, the company’s Java toolset for developing fully-customized, graphical user interfaces to control, manage and monitor Barix paging deployments.

Barix will also treat ISE visitors to a technology preview of upcoming, cloud-based functionality that extends its paging solutions into mobile notification systems. Developed in cooperation with cloud service provider MoH, the new capability records paging messages and sends them to registered smartphones, enabling visitors in public spaces such as libraries, museums and airports to hear announcements or emergency information on their own mobile devices.

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Boothbay Region Community Television Reignites Itself through Live Streaming with Cablecast Community Media Platform

First established in 1995 as an ad hoc committee of the Boothbay Harbor town government, Boothbay Region Community Television (BRCTV) inspires, educates and facilitates video and filmmaking not only in the Boothbay Region, but across the entire state of Maine. When the station set out to refresh and reinvent itself last year with an emphasis on live streaming, they chose the Cablecast Community Media platform and Cablecast Reflect cloud-based stream delivery service from Tightrope Media Systems as the linchpins of its operations.

“Public access television in our town started as all-volunteer, but had evolved to a full-time person doing most of the film-making, which made it more like commercial TV than community media,” said Cody Mitchell, station manager and director of photography at BRCTV. “In the last 18 months, we’ve undergone a major change in character and mission, with a renewed emphasis on volunteerism. Technology has also advanced significantly in the last five years, so while we still broadcast on Spectrum, we’ve chosen to make live streaming our bread and butter. I’m part of the younger age group that isn’t watching cable but should still be able to watch public access. For BRCTV, live streaming isn’t just an adjunct to our cable channel – it’s our primary medium.”

When Mitchell and the new board of directors came in to revitalize BRCTV, the station had no dedicated studio space nor scheduling system for their broadcasts; its pre-millennial automation system was no longer usable, so DVDs were being burned weekly and played out in a loop. Mitchell wanted the station’s new infrastructure to be designed around their fresh live streaming focus, while giving BRCTV the foundation to re-engage their community.

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“We wanted the tools to do it right, enabling professional-looking results that show our value to the community,” he said.

BRCTV purchased a Cablecast Flex Lite playout server, Cablecast Live streaming system and Carousel bulletin board system from reseller Headlight Audio Visual. Beyond meeting the station’s live streaming requirements, Mitchell also found the platform’s easy-to-use scheduling and automation capabilities ideal for their volunteer-run operations.

“Cablecast fit our workflow really well,” he explained. “The intuitive scheduling interface is great, and has a lot of tools that really help us manage the maddening puzzle of fitting all of our programming pieces together. Being able to access the system remotely through the web-based interface is fantastic, as the volunteers I assign to do scheduling and manage Carousel can do so from home any time they want. Multiple volunteers can even work on different parts of the schedule at the same time.”

BRCTV’s Cablecast Live server automatically creates bandwidth-efficient H.264 streams in high definition and sends them to the Cablecast Reflect service for delivery to viewers through the station’s website and custom-coded Apple TV and Roku channels.

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“We have 35Mbps fiber Internet connectivity, but that can be chewed up really quickly by live streams of a sensational government meeting or other popular program,” explained Mitchell. “Our streaming must be reliable, or the community won’t embrace it. We had made previous attempts at smartphone delivery that didn’t work out, but with Cablecast Reflect we’ve been very successful right out of the gate. It’s been very dependable while also being very affordable for live linear streaming.”

Mitchell lauds the graphic overlay capabilities of the Cablecast Flex server as another favorite feature.

“We use crawls and bugs a lot,” he explained. “Most PEG stations use only the traditional slide-based bulletin board model for announcements. While we do some of that too through Cablecast’s tight integration with Carousel, we often use crawls instead to present announcements during peak times and during live programs. I feel that’s far more effective than typical static slides, and because it’s seamlessly integrated within Cablecast, we don’t need the expense or maintenance overhead of separate graphic overlay equipment.”

Mitchell’s satisfaction with Cablecast extends to the team that created and stands behind the product.

“I really like the company,” he praised. “It’s not like dealing with a massive global conglomerate, where you’re on the phone for four hours to solve even a simple problem. You have personal support contacts, and they do a great job of communicating their roadmap. That transparency helps me plan what I’m doing around what they’ve got coming.”

Summarizing the benefits that the Cablecast platform has delivered for BRCTV, Mitchell points back to the station’s volunteer-centric mantra.

“Our station is run by the community, not a broadcast engineer,” he said. “Cablecast has turned our station into a professional-grade operation through a comprehensive, simple-to-use, tightly-integrated system that is very easy for our volunteers to help run. Our investment has paid off already.”

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