IP technology is changing the way that live content is acquired and distributed. There has been a major shift in the industry as broadcasters move to a more cost-effective IP-based workflow environment.
In many ways, cellular bonding was the forerunner of IP technology, replacing traditional uplink solutions, such as satellite trucks, with mobile backpacks for live video transmission on-the-move. The benefits were clear from the start, providing a more flexible and cost-effective solution than satellite and microwave trucks. With the adoption of hardware-based HEVC encoding technology, bonded cellular technology gained further traction, offering increased reliability and higher-quality video performance in bandwidth-challenged areas. IP-based HEVC bonding is now firmly established in mainstream broadcasting with portable transmission units, mobile apps, and hybrid solutions used daily by broadcasters, news agencies and sports organizations for global newsgathering and live sports coverage.
The market is now moving toward the distribution of content over IP as broadcasters look for alternative ways to reduce operational costs and increase productivity. Using IP cloud platforms, broadcasters can distribute large amounts of live content at a fraction of the cost of satellite or fiber transmissions, with no special hardware required. National news desks and media groups can gather breaking and developing news and share the content immediately with their affiliates and other stations, without interrupting their current transmissions. Using customizable metadata and filters, the broadcaster can easily search, manage and preview the live content. Curated content can then be sent to one TV station, multiple stations or thousands of end points with their entire network, making the live feeds instantly available to the production teams. As the platforms are web-based platforms, operators have full visibility into all the live feeds. The technology is highly scalable, allowing the view of hundreds of feeds simultaneously.
Over the last year, we have seen broadcasters integrating IP distribution into their workflow for special event coverage. For example, last summer more than 90 broadcasters requested the live feeds covering NASA TV’s official Apollo 11 50th anniversary, which were distributed via the LiveU Matrix IP content management and distribution platform. The content from the official NASA live special highlighting the most-celebrated mission to the moon – NASA’s Giant Leaps: Past and Future Celebrating Apollo 50th as we Go Forward to the Moon – was seamlessly implemented into their live newscasts.
IP distribution is now attracting the attention of sports organizations as well as they look for innovative distribution solutions of live content. Using a cloud-based IP distribution platform, sports rightsholders and content owners can live stream their sporting event to multiple destinations and TV stations worldwide. Live feeds can be shared globally and from local sports teams within a single region, expanding the reach of the live content. This applies for any type of sports production, including on-the-go sports such as motor sports and marathons, and fixed-venue sports, including soccer, tennis and basketball. Live feeds can be sent reliably to TV and over the top (OTT) platforms using IP distribution increasing the reach to online audiences.
The future is set to see a rise in IP distribution with the technology playing a pivotal role in the live coverage of high-profile events as well as regional news and sports events worldwide. Integrated seamlessly into existing workflows, the technology opens new opportunities for broadcasters and sports organizations alike to cover more events with fewer resources.