Live Video Transmission & Video Streaming

  • With David Kirk

Live Video Transmission & Video Streaming

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

The past year has seen many new developments in the field of live video transmission and video streaming. The following survey of this fast evolving and highly competitive category provides an update on the most recent offerings from some of the key players in this sector and is not (yet) all 5G.

ABonAir’s AB4000 is a four-in-one wireless video link (video plus RCP, intercom and tally), with HDR capabilities, operating at up to 4Kp60 through 12G SDI or 2.0 HDMI interfaces. Coverage range is up to 300 metres. Features include embedded CCU and PTZ tools compatible with cameras from brands such as Blackmagic Design, Canon, Hitachi, Ikegami, Panasonic and Sony. Each unit can be pushbutton switched to function as a transmitter or receiver.

Three mount options (Hot Shoe, Gold Mount, V-Lock) cater for various camera setups.

Domo Broadcast Systems’ Onyx HEVC H.265 encoder is designed to handle video resolutions of up to 4K-UHD. It is intended for remote production applications over leased lines or satellite, handling four HD or one UHD feed with ultra-low latency. “We know an issue for broadcasters has been the risk of losing a transmission,” says Richard Lane, Broadcast Engineering Lead. “Onyx encoders can stream across dual networks using a variety of IP formats including SRT, at up to 120 megabits per second. If one network should fail, the transmission will still make it through the other. Viewers get to see the action in closer to real time and broadcasters reduce the risk of dead air by having a back-up transmission path. The use of ST2022-7 technology at the decoder ensures glitch-free recovery from network errors or path fail over. For legacy systems and satellite modem connections, the Onyx encoder is equipped with ASI inputs and outputs. SMPTE 2110 allows video, audio, and metadata elements to be separated off and processed by different parts of the production team whilst ending up at the same destination. Transmitting over IP can add security risks; we know broadcasters don’t want to risk having their valuable content stolen. The Onyx takes care of that. Broadcasters can employ built-in encryption mechanisms, such as AES over SRT or BISS, to protect their content.” “Our close tie with the motor sport broadcast industry was one of the main catalysts behind our development of the Onyx,” adds Mike Budge, Broadcast Unit Director. “The Onyx’s unique quad mode allows four HD inputs to be synchronised and encoded with end-to-end latencies as low as 40ms. This high-density and low-latency encoding is ideal for coverage of live sporting events.”

Haivision’s StreamHub is designed to receive IP video streams over mobile networks and the internet. It can decode live video from Haivision Pro and Air mobile transmitters as well as Haivision Rack encoders. StreamHub can also receive live video from the Haivision MoJoPro mobile application, LiveGuest browser-based interviews, and SRT streams from Haivision Makito encoders as well as from third party sources. A web user interface enables users to manage remote field units, optimise configurations and monitor video transmissions. Supporting H.264 and HEVC data formats at up to 4K-UHD resolution, StreamHub can be deployed locally or in the networked for l transcoding and decoding to SDI, NDI, ST 2110, SRT and other IP outputs. It can receive up to 16 concurrent SST streams from remote Haivision mobile encoders and transmitters or third-party sources and supports IP protocols such as RTMP, RTSP/RTP, SRT, NDI, HLS and TS/IP. Up to eight live video streams can be decoded simultaneously to eight SDI outputs with genlock for multi-camera synchronisation. StreamHub also features video transcoding capabilities for adapting incoming feeds to desired output formats. Video content can be easily distributed over IP networks via streaming protocols such as SST, RTMP, RTMPS, RTSP/RTP, HLS, TS/IP, SRT, and NDI. Up to 32 outputs are supported, included duplicate streams, for sharing live content over LANs, WANs, CDNs, cloud platforms and social networks, and to other StreamHub receivers. Video recording and file-based video transcoding allow operators to adapt content formats and resolutions for each destination. StreamHub can be used to manually or automatically manage projects and metadata for integration with news production workflows. A Data Bridge feature provides direct access to the internet from a field unit, allowing remote control of IP based devices such as pan/tilt/zoom cameras. StreamHub also includes a two-way audio intercom that enables broadcasters to communicate in real-time with up to 16 remote field unit operators. StreamHub can also manage video returns for providing remote operators with studio feeds, confidence monitoring, and teleprompters. A multiviewer monitoring grid view includes preview thumbnails of video sources that can be assigned to an output displaying up to 16 video sources on a single monitor. Operators can define audio sources, output standards, and add information overlays for each source.

LiveU’s LU4000 ST 2110 is a single-4K/quad-HD video receiver is the latest addition to the company’s LiveU IP-video product series. “The LU4000 ST 2110 offers an efficient and adaptable way to receive high-quality live content feeds and then seamlessly output them as SMPTE ST 2110-compliant streams,” says Ronen Artman, VP of Marketing. “It operates as an all-in-one receiver in the video chain, reducing IT costs, time and overhead while keeping everything in sync. Building on our LRT protocol, the receiver enables a resilient low latency IP-to-IP workflow for receiving a single 4K video feed or up to four full HD live feeds. The LU4000 ST 2110 can be swiftly deployed regardless of network configuration. Tasks have been automated to shorten the workflow, including the routing, switching and processing of separate bonded video, audio and data streams. The LU4000 ST 2110 is fully NMOS-compliant, making device discovery and control easy. The LU4000 ST 2110 adheres to the highest path redundancy standard defined in SMPTE 2022-7. Customers benefit from stable stream transmission along with the consistency afforded by hardware-based precision time protocol feed synchronisation.

Magewell has added two new models to its Ultra Encode family of live media encoders. The Ultra Encode HDMI Plus and Ultra Encode SDI Plus support applications ranging from live streaming to IP-based production and distribution. They combine flexible encoding and delivery formats with simultaneous multi-protocol streaming, file-based recording, NDI HX3 support, 4K encoding, Power over Ethernet and integrated tally lights for live production. The Ultra Encode HDMI Plus encodes at resolutions up to 4096 x 2160, 30 fps, from its HDMI interface. The Ultra Encode SDI Plus encodes up to 4K at 30 fps from the device’s 6G-SDI input. Both models support multiple video encoding formats and technologies - including H.264, H.265 (HEVC), NDI HX2 and NDI HX3 - and streaming protocols including RTMP, RTMPS, SRT, RTSP, RTP, HLS as well as TVU’s ISSP. Video can be encoded at up to 32 Mbps (62 Mbps for NDI HX3). Up to eight channels of audio can be encoded in AAC format. Two concurrent encoding profiles with distinct combinations of resolution, frame rate and bit rate can be specified. Configurable presets enable easy streaming to YouTube Live (via RTMP or HLS), Facebook Live, Twitch, the Wowza Video platform (via RTMP or SRT) or custom targets. Ultra Encode Plus models can stream to up to six different target destinations simultaneously, including streaming concurrently in multiple protocols. Inputs can also be recorded as files to the device’s internal storage, an external USB-connected drive, or networked storage. “While our core Ultra Encode models and flagship Ultra Encode AIO continue to be immensely popular, some customers want the advanced format support and streaming capabilities of Ultra Encode AIO but in a more compact, camera-mountable form factor,” says James Liu, VP of Engineering at Magewell. “The new Ultra Encode Plus models fit perfectly into the middle of the product line, meeting these needs and making the Ultra Encode family ideal for even more use cases.” Ultra Encode Plus devices can be configured, monitored, and controlled through a browser-based web interface, with centralised remote management and control of multiple units available through optional Control Hub software. 

TVU Networks’ TVU RPS One is an all-in-one hybrid cloud and studio remote production system which combines synchronized multi-camera encoding and transmission functionality with six integrated 5G modems for wireless transmission “After extensive feedback from our global customers, we’ve combined RPS’s power of fully synchronized multi-camera feeds at sub-second latency with the portability, 4K HDR quality, speed, and real-time wireless streaming capabilities of TVU One,” says Paul Shen, CEO, TVU Networks. “RPS One equips content creators with everything they need for faster, more efficient, and more reliable workflows from anywhere. A 5G MIMO antenna array guarantees the seamless operation of all built-in 5G modems at peak performance simultaneously. This is complemented by six 3GPP Release 16 modems which provide comprehensive support for 5G SA and NSA modes, as well as compatibility with the most widely used 5G, LTE, and 3G bands across the globe. Additionally, the RPS One’s dual Wi-Fi modules, equipped with MIMO antennas, ensure top-notch connectivity with local devices and multiple available networks concurrently, delivering unmatched performance and versatility in the world of wireless communication.” RPS One has four 3G-SDI inputs that support 1080p/1080i/720p HDR remote production. It also supports up to 16 channels of SDI embedded audio and up to eight channels of HDMI embedded audio. It also supports a low-latency, single return video feed from an SDI or IP input on any TVU transceiver or TVU cloud service. RPS One simultaneously aggregates up to 12 data connections including internal/external cellular, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, IP microwave, satellite (Ka/Ku/BGAN/Starlink). It includes up to six embedded 5G/LTE/3G modems, embedded 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, Ethernet and four USB connections for external modem connections.

VideoXLink’s X4 UHD is designed to function as a 1 U low latency production encoder/decoder for standalone remote or rack-integrated studio-based production. It is equipped with four 12G-SDI bidirectional ports and is also capable of encoding/decoding NDI to accommodate more channels. Four Ethernet interface cards are incorporated, supporting speeds of up to 25 Gbit/s. All 4 ports can be accessed via the VideoXLink application, making it possible to configure several backup connections, layer 2 trunks or set up high-speed connections to the local network when using NDI network streams. Supporting software options include a Layer 2 data trunk, multiple receiver send and WAN failover. Also available in the X-series are the dual SDI X2 1080p50/60, quad SDI X4 Mini 1080p50/60 and eight-SDI 1080p50/60 model X8.

Vislink describes its recently introduced LiveLink as the company’s most compact transmitter to date, allowing operators to transport the device, place it alongside mirrorless camera systems, or mount it directly on ENG camera devices without disturbing the camera’s balance or operation. LiveLink is a bonded cellular transmitter offering 4:2:2, 10-bit HEVC video encoding up to 4K resolutions, and 10-bit luma optimisation to meet the demands of HDR. It can be used with up to four diverse public cellular connections, Wi-Fi and public internet. Bonded cellular, private 5G and Starlink satellite support also allows roaming across private and public 5G networks. Field camera operators can stay connected to base through a direct audio link provided by LiveLink’s integrated camera control feature. Multi-camera/transmitter synchronisation allows users to switch between live feeds. An SFP slot delivers flexibility in terms of video inputs, HDMI support and SDI video outputs. With two Ethernet connections, users can employ the unit as a data hotspot for remote control and internet access applications. LiveLink field devices can be remotely managed and controlled via Vislink’s LinkMatrix browser-based free-to-use management platform.