Live Video Transmission & Video Streaming
- By David Kirk
Contributing Editor David Kirk rounds up recent developments in video transmission and streaming as the industry adapts to new technologies...
Live video links continue to shrink in size and grow in features, not least the ability to handle ultra high definition, high dynamic range and latest-generation delivery protocols. 5G support is also fast becoming a standard feature, capitalising on the rollout of 5G networks in urban centres around the world. Video streaming tools are also becoming more compact and affordable than ever with many potential applications including event-specific and subject-specific webcasting. The following summary looks at the latest products and supporting services to emerge in these fast-developing categories.
ABonAir’s recently introduced AB4000 a 4Kp60 wireless video system for applications such as sport, news, remote production, studio, cinema and live events. It is based on ABonAir’s Bi-Directional and ReTransmit algorithms which are designed to mitigate wireless interference by acknowledging receipt of each delivered pixel. The system supports broadcast quality 4Kp60 video through 12G SDI or HDMI interfaces using a wireless optimised H.265 codec. Support is also included for shading/painting (CCU/RCP) and PTZ camera control, compatible with cameras from manufacturers such as Blackmagic Design, Hitachi, Ikegami, Sony and Panasonic. The AB4000 also includes an integrated intercom and tally light to support multi-camera production. “We are bringing to the production world a professional system that is aggressively priced and offers a wealth of features, making it the system of choice for big and small productions alike,” says ABonAir CEO Eran Igler. “As a veteran vendor in the market, we understand the need for simple and intuitive setup so designed the system accordingly with numerous algorithms to automate the setup process.”
AJA Video Systems’ latest-generation (v1.11) Bridge Live is a 1U processor designed to move UHD or multi-channel HD SDI video to or from a wide range of contribution, delivery and streaming codecs. “HTTP Live Streaming is one of the most widely used streaming protocols in the industry,” says AJA Video Systems President Nick Rashby. “Introducing new HLS input capabilities allows users to integrate high-quality HLS contributions into SDI systems.” Compatible with H.265, H.264, MPEG-2 and JPEG 2000, Bridge Live supports AVC transport stream segments for H.264 and the newly emerging fragmented MP4 standard for H.265/H.264. An E-AC3 input supports Dolby Digital workflows.
AVIWEST has joined the DEEPTEC (Delivery over Energy-Efficient Processing and Transcoding in Edge Computing) project consortium with TDF and IETR to develop a sustainable fully virtual live streaming over 5G networks. DEEPTEC is a two-year collaborative project supported by the Images & Réseaux team, funded by the Brittany region and the Metropole of Rennes. AVIWEST is providing the company’s latest transmission technologies: the new PRO460-5G bonded cellular transmitter, its SST (Safe Stream Transport) technology and its SaaS StreamHub receiver deployed in multi-access edge computing. The PRO460 is a 5G compliant mobile video encoder and transmitter designed for live video production. It incorporates a UHD H.265/HEVC hardware encoder and enables multiple encoding and transmission workflows from up to four HD sources or a 4K UHD source. “The PRO460 supports perfect video synchronisation and lip sync across multiple cameras at a venue to guarantee seamless camera switching and efficient video editing in the remote production studio,” says co-founder and CEO Erwan Gasc. “In addition, the PRO460 supports low delay and high-quality video delivery from the studio to the field units, allowing the delivering of teleprompt information or a studio feed to the field. A bi-directional audio intercom is also integrated for communication between the field and the studio.” The PRO460 embeds six worldwide compliant 3G/4G/5G cellular modems plus antennas. Transmission can also operate on other networks such as WiFi, BGAN satellite, Ka or Ku band satellite, IP leased line or the internet.
Blackmagic Design recently announced the new addition to the Blackmagic Web Presenter family. This new Web Presenter 4K has an upgraded Ultra HD resolution H.264 encoder for live streaming in native UHD. It includes a 12G-SDI input with a down converter so users can select to stream in 1080p HD or 2160p UHD. It also simulates a USB webcam when connected to computers, and the USB webcam feature also supports 1080p HD or 2160p Ultra HD resolutions. For redundancy, users can stream to the internet via Ethernet or connect a 5G or 4G phone to use mobile data. Web Presenter also includes a technical monitoring output that includes video, audio meters, trend graphs and even SDI technical data. Blackmagic Web Presenter is a fully self contained system which includes a hardware encoder, software for connecting to streaming platforms, and network connections. It feeds from an SDI video source such as a live production switcher or a camera, then connects to the internet using the built in Ethernet port or plugs into a mobile phone to use mobile data. Operators can simultaneously use the USB webcam output to connect to a computer, allowing other video software to be used.
Broadcast Solutions’ meshLINK is designed to achieve low latency, down to 45 ms in HD and 75 ms in 4K, 100 Mbit maximum data throughput and up to four HD encoding channels on one frequency. A duplex IP-based wireless system, it is intended for use in live broadcasting, live production, news gathering or event coverage. Intercom, return video, prompter and other functions can be integrated. Real-time adaptive video encoding is available as an option.
Dejero’s EnGo 265 is a new mobile transmitter designed for use by television news teams and live events broadcasters. Offering resilient connectivity to go live quickly from any location, it can achieve a latency of 0.5 seconds over bonded cellular connections. This allows natural discussion between a studio presenter and field reporter during talkbacks. ‘GateWay mode’ provides wireless broadband internet connectivity in the field, enabling mobile teams to transfer large files, access media asset management and newsroom systems, and publish content to social media. “Newsgatherers depend on backpack transmitters to tell stories from the field – there is no second chance when broadcasting live, so transmission reliability is paramount,” comments Yvonne Monterroso, Director of Product Management at Dejero.
LiveU 360° is a subscription-based service combining hardware, software and IP connectivity. 360° Essential and 360° Premium are optimised for specific markets (news, sports and other live productions) and can be upgraded at any time. “There has been unprecedented change in the past year and the accelerated move to the cloud and remote workflows has opened up new possibilities for live broadcasting,” says LiveU’s Chief Business Officer Guy Yaniv. “Now more than ever, customers need live video solutions that are easy to navigate and flexible to adjust to their rapidly changing needs and budgets. LiveU 360° enables customers to respond faster with an adaptive subscription-based service which covers every aspect of producing live content in a fixed monthly payment.”
LiveU has also introduced an all-in-one 5G field unit for live news and sports coverage. The LU800 supports up to four frame-synchronised feeds using IP bonding of up to 14 connections with up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR transmission as well as up to 16 audio channels. “With the return of live sports, 5G is able to play a significant role in live production and contribution, comments LiveU’s CEO, Samuel Wasserman. “The LU800’s smart 5G-bonding technology enhances the sustainability of video quality in sports stadiums and other venues, taking advantage of the increased bandwidth, lower latency and greater speeds offered by 5G networks.” LiveU now offers a complete contribution, production and distribution system. Multi-camera production streams are fully managed by the LiveU Central cloud-based management platform and automatically fed into LiveU Matrix IP content management and distribution.
TVU Networks’ TVU One 1080p HDR and 4K HDR mobile IP pack transmits live video simultaneously over multiple aggregated connections, including cellular 3G/4G/LTE/5G, microwave, satellite, BGAN, wifi and Ethernet at sub-1/2 second latency. “Remote production enters a new phase with a TVU One transmitter that delivers HEVC/H.265 efficient video compression, patented IS+ algorithm for superior transmission reliability, true 60 FPS frame rate, 10-bit HDR support and the ability to send at 100 megabits per second over a 5G cellular infrastructure,” comments Paul Shen, CEO, TVU Networks.
Vislink’s Mobile Viewpoint BaseLink 5G is a mobile encoder for use in remote broadcast production and live streaming. 5G bonded cellular technologies can be used to transmit live news, sports and entertainment video from any location. “The launch of BaseLink 5G underscores our focus on bringing to market solutions that leverage our innovations in bonded cellular, 5G and AI-driven technologies,” comments Mickey Miller, CEO of Vislink. “BaseLink 5G is ideal for broadcasters and content creators everywhere who want a professional live streaming solution that can be set up and deployed easily and at relatively low cost. These users have an ever-increasing need to generate high-quality live video to stay competitive but don’t always have the means to produce and stream their own unique content. The BaseLink 5G product allows any content owner to become an online streaming platform, as well as distributing to YouTube and other platforms. BaseLink 5G supports up to six parallel 5G modems. It includes two Ethernet ports to expand in-venue connectivity options, access to wideband internet for production crews, and direct connection to cloud-based content storage.”