Live Transmission & Streaming

  • With David Kirk

Live Transmission & Streaming

Contributing Editor David Kirk rounds up recent advances in video transmission and streaming as the industry continues to adapt to new technologies...

This short overview looks at recent advances in the areas of mobile live video production links and IP-based streaming. Significant developments in the first of these two categories include the increasing availability of 5G-compatible systems, ever greater reliance on IP pathways and an ongoing progression from HD-SDR into UHD-HDR as the preferred format for broadcast content creation. Satellite-based mobile links are notable by their absence, still in widespread use for long reach connection but under ever increasing competition from telco service providers.

ABonAir's AB4000 is a 4K wireless video link supporting 4K, 12G-SDI, HDMI 2.0, Full HDR, Lens control (L-bus), RCP and PTZ. It includes an integrated intercom and loopthrough using a single RF channel. The AB4000 incorporates a wireless-optimised H.265 codec that ensures a broadcast-level picture quality and uses bi-directional communication allowing each video pixel to be acknowledged by the receiver. If no acknowledgement is received, the same packet is re-transmitted. Coverage range is 300 metres or more. Among additional features are intuitive setup, three mount options (Hot Shoe, Gold Mount, V-Lock), and light weight (350 grams). Suggested applications include broadcast and digital film production and monitoring, news production and live event coverage.

Broadcast Solutions describes its meshLINK as a full-duplex IP-based wireless system offering ultra-low latency UHD HEVC encoding, RCP, telemetry, intercom, return video and prompter. The system also offers adaptive encoding, recall of all connectivity parameters plus a prediction tool for coverage calculation based on 3D maps. meshLINK allows bidirectional IP traffic and complete monitoring of the link. Real-time adaptive video encoding is offered as an option. All devices in the network can be controlled from any selected node via any common web browser.

Haivision's Pro460 is a portable field unit that can bond up to six cellular networks, including 5G, for transmitting four simultaneous HD streams or a single 4K UHD stream. Designed for remote production or REMI workflows, the Pro460 also supports 4:2:2 chroma subsampling, 10-bit colour spaces and HDR. It can receive encrypted return feeds and two-way intercoms while transmitting live video. "Live contribution over mobile networks and multi-camera remote production over IP have grown strongly over the past few years," says Mark Horchler, Marketing Director, Products & Solutions. "These two trends are finally being brought together with the latest updates to our Pro460 mobile transmitter and StreamHub receiver which can support synchronized multi-camera remote production over mobile and fixed IP networks. 5G is opening up a whole range of possibilities for the Pro460. When used over private or non-public networks, 5G can essentially replace SDI cables, as well as wireless RF, for high bandwidth and low latency on-site production as well as remote production. With 5G service providers now focused on building out new cloud-based core networks, bandwidth will only increase as new broadcast specific services, or network slices, are introduced. Meanwhile, the internet continues to grow in importance for broadcast contribution. Our upcoming annual Broadcast Transformation Report states that 86 percent of broadcasters are using the internet to transport live video. This is why we have designed our broadcast contribution products for use with both mobile networks and the internet. Our Pro460 mobile transmitter and StreamHub receiver support SST network aggregation technology for streaming over mobile networks and over the internet. Haivision StreamHub can also receive HD and 4K video streams from our Makito encoders as well as from NDI, RTMP, and even HLS sources which can all be included as part of the live production mix. In some cases, especially when covering live sports, broadcasters may rely on a mix of fixed encoders streaming over the internet with mobile encoders streaming over cellular networks, depending on their usage and location within a venue."

LiveU's Solo PRO is a new portable encoder with 4K and HEVC capabilities. Using LiveU's LRT technology, it allows wireless live event coverage directly from a camera/switcher to online platforms such as Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and TikTok. It can also feed any web destination. Solo PRO combines up to six IP connections: four 4G/5G cellular modems, Wi-Fi and LAN. A portable unit weighing just over 900g, it can stream up to 4Kp60 resolution in H.264 or HEVC. "Our goal was to deliver a cutting-edge product that will support all streaming needs for years to come, including 4K, HEVC, and extreme reliability," comments CTO Dan Pisarski. "The HEVC capability offers the same quality in half the bandwidth of H.264, or twice the quality in the same bandwidth.

Customers also benefit from an optional add-on streaming tools package, Solo Stream Tools, for faster go-to-live streaming productions. I believe that our users will find the Solo PRO is a future-proof investment for their workflow, providing peace of mind for their live streams using proven broadcast-quality technology. Enabling streamlined cloud production with easy set-up, it can be used for any type of live event coverage, including corporate, entertainment, sports, government, religious and IRL streaming."

Introduced in 2022, LiveU's LU300S is a portable transmission encoder including 5G, 4K 10-bit HDR plus HEVC. It can output 12G-SDI or HDMI output plus up to eight audio channels and is designed to provide broadcast-quality video streams with support for up to six IP connections, including four 5G/4G cellular connections, Wi-Fi and LAN. Carrying options include a camera mount, cross-shoulder pack and belt pack. The unit can be managed remotely and locally.  The LU300S integrates with a cloud production, allowing users to capture live streams with the LU300S and transmit the feeds to LiveU's Matrix IP for management and distribution.

Magewell's new Ultra Encode AIO builds on the the company’s Ultra Encode models with expanded features including HDMI and SDI input connectivity in a single unit, 4K encoding and streaming from the HDMI input, simultaneous multi-protocol streaming, higher streaming bitrates plus file recording. “Ultra Encode AIO takes the capabilities of its siblings to a new level for advanced professional use cases, from recording and 4K encoding to greater flexibility for multi-destination streaming,” says James Liu, VP of Engineering at Magewell. Supported video encoding formats including H.264, H.265, NDI HX 2 and the new NDI HX 3 plus RTMP, RTMPS, SRT, RTSP, RTP, HLS protocols and TVU’s ISSP technology. Video can be encoded at up to 4096×2160 resolution, 30 frames per second, from HDMI sources, or up to 1080p HD at 60 fps from the device’s 3G-SDI input. The single-channel Ultra Encode AIO can encode one live input source - either HDMI or SDI - or mix video from the HDMI and SDI inputs (picture-in-picture or side-by-side) into a combined output. Video can be encoded at up to 32 Mbps. Up to eight channels of audio can be encoded in AAC format. Two concurrent encoding profiles with distinct combinations of resolution, frame rate and bitrate can be specified, and up to eight user-configurable overlays - including text, images, and a clock - can be applied to each profile. Configurable presets enable streaming to YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Twitch or custom targets. Ultra Encode AIO can stream to up to six different target destinations simultaneously, including the ability to stream concurrently in multiple protocols. Inputs can also be recorded as files to an SD card, USB-connected storage device, or networked storage (NFS, CIFS or SMB). Ultra Encode AIO can be configured, monitored, and controlled through its browser-based web interface - accessible through any computer or mobile device.

Teradek's Bolt is a low latency (less than 1 millisecond) wireless video link that transmits uncompressed 1080p/60 4:2:2 video up to 600 metres over the unlicensed 5 GHz band. Three Bolt versions are available, defined by their transmission range in feet (300, 600 and 2000). All models are multicast-capable, supporting up to four receivers). Features include timecode and metadata pass-through. Integrated 3D LUTs output custom graded video. Custom LUTs can be loaded via the Bolt Manager and selected on individual Bolt receiver OLED screens. Real-time cross conversion can be performed from HDMI to 3G-SDI, or vice versa. All Bolts include real-time standards conversion of resolution and/or frame rate control within the receiver. Among recent upgrades, Broadcast mode (for Bolt 4K MAX) allows an unlimited number of paired receivers to be used.

TVU Networks' TVU RPS remote production link encoder provides multi-camera, synchronized remote production capability (up to 1080p) using IS+ aggregating up to 12 connections including embedded 5G/LTE modems, Wi-Fi, Ethernet or satellite. Intended for use where reliable wired IP connections are unavailable or inadequate, the encoder comes in a 2U chassis configurable for up to six 5G modems with external high-gain antennas. Four channel and six channel models are available, with up to two channels of return video. The encoder is compatible with TVU's cloud production system, including the TVU Producer live production platform, TVU Partyline video collaboration tool and TVU Command Center for centralised signal monitoring.

Vislink's 5G 4Live integrates roaming camera 5G transmitters with a hybrid portable/private 5G network infrastructure. By using a private 5G network, an operator can be in full control of the services passing through that network, allowing the network to be tuned for maximum QoS in terms of latency and throughput. This allows the deployment of reliable, low-latency communications to support production environments. "Vislink 5G 4Live is a completely integrated system including the HCAM wireless camera encoder, MVP 5G-Link 5G edge device, LinkMatrix device management control and UltraLink-Air 5G encoders," says Vislink CEO Mickey Miller. "Content from roaming and fixed cameras can be transported directly to the production centre, whether an onsite facility or as part of a migration to cloud production. Vislink’s 5G 4Live is designed for use at major events where live production organizations have traditionally deployed COFDM systems. It enables live production with full support for wireless cameras, allowing deployment of an onsite bi-directional all-IP 5G gateway."