Near-Instant Volleyball Streaming with the Videon EdgeCaster

Videon’s EdgeCaster made viewing the FIVB Volleyball World Cup easy

The women’s tournament of the 2019 FIVB World Cup was streamed live from Yokohama, Japan last September and drew an estimated audience of more than 30,000 peak concurrent viewers and over 500,000 unique viewers. The event provided a perfect showcase for Videon’s EdgeCaster ultra-low latency (ULL) encoder working in a live streaming video workflow using Amazon Web Services (AWS).  

As the international governing body for all forms of volleyball, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) stages the World Cup every four years as a qualifying event for the Olympic Games. For the 2019 World Cup, the FIVB wanted to apply ULL to optimize the viewer experience and create a parallel OTT workflow for the linear television broadcast of the tournament. FIVB’s chosen solution was ULL-CMAF technology powered by Fuji Television and AWS, leveraging an EdgeCaster HEVC/H.264 video encoder.

The EdgeCaster was at the heart of the FIVB ULL video streaming workflow.

The low-power, small-form-factor Edgecaster provided direct output of HLS/DASH CMAF-formatted signals (EdgeCaster also enables traditional RTMP workflows along with many other common streaming formats). Through AWS Direct Connect, the HLS/DASH/CMAF output was ingested by AWS Elemental MediaStore, which was the origin point for delivery by AWS CloudFront to end-user devices worldwide.

The results speak for themselves.

Volleyball fans were able to watch FIVB World Cup matches using the iOS, Android, or HTML player of their choice with a stable latency of only three seconds while sharing the experience on social media. The FIVB provided multiple synchronized camera angles to create an immersive experience, enabling viewers to watch multiple screens and follow featured-player chase cameras. Wide-angle and ceiling views further enhanced the traditional broadcast experience.

It’s not just for sports.

While a live sporting event is an ideal application for ULL workflows, it’s not the only one. Imagine corporate town halls with interactivity between a worldwide workforce and the presenter or any event that can leverage social video engagement to create a deeper connection with viewers. The use of standards-based, scalable technology allows for this wide range of live events to achieve distribution and engagement never before realized. 

With EdgeCaster, all types of organizations can take full advantage of the many opportunities that arise when live streaming is truly live.

 

Enabling Low-Latency Interactive Streaming Applications for Worldwide Audiences

For media organizations to launch interactive services that increase audience engagement and grow their subscriber base, it is vital to overcome two significant obstacles: high latency and unsynchronized video.

To date, the conversation around latency has typically focused on the narrow, specific parameters needed to achieve very low latency within a room or between two buildings, primarily in KVM-type applications. That’s not going to change for workflows moving video from one to few, or even one to 1,000 devices. However, what happens when scaling up to send video from one point to half a million viewers all around the world, or more?

Until recently, traditional broadcast has been the only way to reach such an audience. But broadcast infrastructure can be costly to build and limited to a relatively small pool of content providers. The combination of robust cloud services with new streaming formats, encoding technologies, and media player solutions offers a compelling alternative designed to simplify, and perhaps even democratize, the launch of interactive services.

A powerful example of this combination incorporates Videon’s Edge Compute Encoders, AWS Elemental MediaStore and Amazon CloudFront from Amazon Web Services (AWS), and NexPlayer’s Android and iOS player SDKs. Along with CMAF (the Common Media Application Format for segmented media), HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) and MPEG DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) formats, these technologies from Videon, AWS, and NexPlayer create opportunities to efficiently and effectively scale worldwide, with ultra-low latency.

CMAF is key to this model because it enables video streams to be broken into smaller segments, which supports dramatic reductions in latency. For this reason, we’ve been working with AWS over the past year to test CMAF workflows with AWS Elemental MediaLive and Amazon CloudFront to ensure that our low-cost edge compute encoder works seamlessly with the AWS Cloud to enable low-latency streaming worldwide at scale. We’ve likewise partnered with NexPlayer to ensure its player supports a CMAF, HLS, and DASH workflow. NexPlayer has gone one step further by adding synchronization into the mix, and that element will enable a truly unified interactive live video experience.

Thanks to our work with AWS and NexPlayer, we already have reference customers working with proof-of-concept implementations and planning live deployments. From live auctions to live sports, this new model of synchronized low-latency video delivery at scale will support an array of new, exciting, and profitable use cases.

By the way, you can read the official announcement about our collaboration with AWS and NexPlayer here: https://www.avnetwork.com/news/nexplayer-videon-leverage-aws-for-low-latency-and-synchronized-ott-video-delivery.

AWS Elemental Blog Features Videon Low-Latency Solution

AWS Elemental recently posted a blog on their site about low-latency streaming. It states: What if every broadcaster (no matter the size) could achieve less than 4 seconds of latency at scale? An entirely new set of applications would become possible. It goes on to explain how this is possible with the AWS Elemental and Videon. Click here read all about it.

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/media/low-latency-live-streaming-with-videon-and-aws-elemental/

The Bandwidth Problem

We have been on a multi-week exploration of the dynamic changes happening in streaming. We have talked about the evolution of video standards. We have talked about the workflow. So where does this one word, bandwidth, come into play? Let’s walk back a bit to see just how big of a problem bandwidth is.

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4K: Revolutionary, Evolutionary, or What?

As you likely know, Videon has been in the digital video business for over twenty years and with that comes a lot of exposure to a lot of different technology.

I recently got back from a major industry trade show (NAB – National Association of Broadcasters) and I wanted to share with you my observations and thoughts regarding technology and market trends associated with the ongoing evolution of digital video solutions. To start this, let’s first think about the revolution and evolution of digital video by rolling back the clocks to the start of time in the world of digital video.

 

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It’s All About Workflow. Duh!

 

We recently attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB trade show. It was a huge coming out party for the overall 4K workflow as the number of announcements regarding pricing and products showed a very, very, very interesting trend. Remember back to the blog post about the biggest changes in video in the last 20 years? NAB represented that evolution in a big way for 4K. To understand, let’s think through what is needed to make a true 4K workflow.

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