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IP & Live Streaming

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 19:17 -- Patrick

A major focus of the 2018 NAB Show was on IP-based broadcasting, and, in particular, streaming video. A whole (huge) room was dedicated to IP video.  In the workshops, much attention was given to new and developing technolgies for IP solutions and streaming. There was even a day-long "Streaming Summit". SInce there were so many options, and there was so much to navigate (both in terms of stuff and real estate), I had to hyper-focus and pare my scope way down. And so, I chose to focus on products that might be attractive to those of us interested in streaming basic remote / on-location productions (as opposed to large multi-camera broadcast-level productions).  Below are some of the products that stood out in this area. Some of the products I checked out are using the older H.264 codec, some using the newer H.265 codec, and others are using IP codecs, such as, most notably, NDI.  While H.265, aka HEVC (High Efficiency Video Compression), is approx. 50% more efficient than H.264, NDI (Network Device Interface) is worth exploring. Developed by NewTek as an "ultra efficient" encoding protocal, it is available as a royalty-free platform for others to use and incorporate (for more on that, see Bird Dog below). Note that this list is just a very small tip of a very large iceberg, and is in no particular order.


- makes a line of portable encoders, using H.265  - The Zao can transmit via cellular (3G/4G), wi-fi, or ethernet
- Zao S (shows in photo) uses 3G/4G & attaches to camera
- Both models come w/ 1 ch. decoders (& option to add 4 ch. decoder)
- A web mgmt. tool is coming out soon
- Total cost of Zao S "kit" is approx. $8K; Zao kit = approx. $15K
- streams at 5-7 Mbps



- LiveU Solo encoder- no decoder needed, "direct to cloud", max bit rate 7Mbps (approx. $1000). H.264
- LU200 encoder- use decoder or "direct to cloud" for approx. $6900 w/ decoder ($3500 without). H.264
- Decoders can be sold separately for LU200= $3500 - 6K
- Also need data plan (25GB / mo. for $250)
- There's also the LU600- H.265 (HEVC), capable of 1080/4K live streaming, 3G/4G capable. $$$
- Bulk discounts and rental / lease options
- Another option is "LU Smart", a free mobile app that enables HD live broadcast directly from cell phone to a server (data plan needed)

Vimeo / Livestream

- Mevo camera (launched on 2016), billed as a "live event camera" for streaming up to 1080 (4K sensor so it can record to 4K) w/ cropping so can be used as multi-cam option in lieu of switcher)
-  Mevo streams to  Vimeo, Livestream, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope & Twitter over wi-fi  or LTE.
- Newly launched Mevo Plus, which offers manual or auto cropping of 4K as an alternative to multi-cam switching
- Mevo = $300; Mevo Plus = $500
- Mevo Plus Pro Bundle = $800 (includes bag, stand, audio accessories, battery boost
- Livestream Studio - switcher series w/ graphics, encoding & streaming 
- Hardware: from the entry level (HD 31) to the robust (HD 51) to the portable (HD550)
- HD31 = approx. $3800; HD51 = $6600 (1080) - $8500 (for 4K); HD551 = $8K (1080) - $10K (for 4K)
- Taking pre-orders on the brand new "Studio One", high powered 4K encoder / switcher for $4500 - 4 inputs (HDMI or SDI)
- Software: Studio 5 now in beta, will come pre-installed on all Studio switchers & endcoders or can be downloaded separately

Mobile Viewpoint

- Agile Airlink - 2 SDI inputs, 2 ethernet outs, 40Mbps H.265 encoding. trasnmits via 3G/4G with 8 combined connections
- Can also add wi-fi & ethernet connections
- Small & portable, billed as "the thinnest encoder w/ 2 camera inputs & databonding". $$$

Bird Dog

- Uses NDI to offer encoding, tallies, & comms using a single ethernet cable- take a source and make it available anywhere on network for IP workflow
- They now have decoders built into the units, making them all 2-way devices.
- This is  good solution for working within a network but it's unclear how it might be used on a remote production for b'cast (i.e. encode-stream-decode-transmit)
- Studio (HDMI/SDI to NDI) and Mini (HDMI to NDI) encoders - both can be camera-mounted
- Mini was announced at NAB this year
- Studio = $895 ; Mini = $595; Comms  = $495 (there's an offer for free comms until 9/30/18)
- NDI = low-latency - more efficient (lower bit rates)
- Streaming Media magazine awarded Bird Dog a "Best of NAB" award for their innovative products


- Streaming Media magazine- free subscriptions are available: (print and online versions)
- If anyone has any technical-based topic  that you would like to have covered, contact Nadine Krefetz, author at Streaming Media