Over the past few years, colleges and universities have made the investment in the technology that enables ESPN-style coverage of college athletics.
LiveU has been an integral part of live productions at Harvard University, University of Notre Dame, and University of Oklahoma. Now the leading provider of live video solutions is dropping knowledge on School Video News. We recently sat down with the company’s Director of Sports Sales, Dave Belding to learn more about the company’s sports solutions.
[School Video News] How does LiveU work? Why is it different from other related products?
[Dave Belding] LiveU invented and patented bonded cellular video transmission in 2008. At that time, LiveU changed the workflow of news acquisition, replacing expensive microwave trucks at a local station level with wearable backpack encoders. News stations could cover breaking news and weather events from virtually anywhere. Today we are disrupting how live sports is covered, replacing costly Fiber and Satellite truck solutions with portable IP encoders.
[School Video News] We are intrigued. Tell us more about LiveU’s position in the sports industry.
[Dave Belding] In addition to replacing traditional fiber and satellite as the primary or backup transmission for the game itself, LiveU’s Wireless At-Home Production has changed the way many colleges and universities are producing remote events themselves. By Centralizing key production equipment and talent, and home running each individual camera source via a LiveU encoder to the centralized control room, schools can deploy and produce any event on or off campus. Olympic Sports like Golf, Rowing, Beach Volleyball, Cross-Country, even Softball or Tennis, can now be produced and streamed online without a lot of the on-site involvement traditionally required.
[School Video News] Can you tell us more about how bonded cellular systems work?
[Dave Belding] Bonded Cellular is the common technical term for the LiveU transmission system. The video image is broken up into small data packets and transmitted by bonding multiple carrier’s cellular LTE/3G/4G data networks. This way, you aren’t reliant on one single connection or one single carrier.
[School Video News] Why are schools making the investment in live streaming technology?
[Dave Belding] Building community, pride, and lifetime fans among students, parents, and alumni play a role in a school’s desire to live stream college athletics. There’s also a business case. Student admissions and monetary donations come from deep connections that prospective students, their parents and alumni have for the school. Live video helps strengthen those connections.
[School Video News] How are college athletic programs currently using your product?
[Dave Belding] Schools like Harvard and University of Oklahoma are using LiveU to produce live events that take place outside of a venue such as rowing and golf where bandwidth is a major challenge. It is difficult or impossible to run cables across a golf course or on the water. In these applications, our At Home Production or REMI solution helps the crews cover more athletics without a huge crew or investment. They can simply send camera operators with LiveU backpacks to the rowing competitions or golf tournaments and produce the events from home base hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
[School Video News] Can you tell us about the costs involved? Are there recurring fees?
[Dave Belding] Bonded cellular allows educators to produce more content at a fraction of the traditional production workflow costs. Being extremely mobile allows educators to get to remote locations quicker to cover breaking news or remotes sporting events. Additionally, LiveU is providing a single GB data plan, providing you with best carrier configuration possible in any environment, no risk of throttling or overage bills if one carrier carries the load of your transmission. The biggest obstacle for most looking to go Live is whether internet is available, reliable, and consistent, LiveU takes that out of the equation. LiveU offers special lease programs to schools so they are only paying for the equipment during the school year.
[School Video News] HEVC was a big topic at your booth at NAB. What is HEVC and why is it important,?
[Dave Belding] HEVC stands for High Efficiency Video Codec. It’s a new encoding scheme that uses an advanced algorithm for video image sampling. Many are familiar with H.264, it’s what built YouTube, Vimeo and many of the video distribution platforms we visit online today – H.264 is the internet standard for video recording, compression and distribution. The h.265 High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) is the latest standard, allowing for the transmission of high-quality video images at about ½ the bandwidth required for h.264 transmission. In terms of relying upon cellular networks and bandwidth availability, it’s a gamechanger.
[School Video News] What are the benefits of HEVC?
[Dave Belding] Because the new codec requires less bandwidth, you can now utilize bonded cellular technology in very remote locations where cellular connectivity is limited. In instances where excessive bandwidth consumption has been a barrier of entry (like sports use cases), it provides room for longer streaming sessions without additional cost.
[School Video News] How does HEVC impact the educator?
[Dave Belding] Bonded cellular technology utilizing HEVC allows educators to produce remote events at a fraction of the cost of a traditional production truck/satellite uplink workflow. We live in the age of brands producing their own content to connect with people. The recent and future generations consume more video content online than ever before. Getting schools the right tools to cost-effectively produce content they may not have been able to in the past is the biggest impact of HEVC. Educators can stay in touch with alumni and students and it works to further promote their brand.
[School Video News] What’s next for LiveU?
[Dave Belding] LiveU continues to push the boundaries of bonded cellular technology with advanced features that simplify workflow. 5G technology will allow for even greater connectivity and much more robust feature sets.
Dave Belding is a sales leader with three decades of experience bringing high-quality technology to the Sports Industry spanning professional teams, colleges, universities, venues and associations. Dave has been integral in driving new ways for organizations to increase fan/viewer engagement, ticket and merchandise sales, and sponsorships through the deployment of live video strategies. His background includes video production, system design, and implementation. With more than 25 years with the Diamond Vision division of Mitsubishi Electric, as well as four years at Barco Media, Dave helped set up and operate portable large-scale display systems at many sporting and entertainment events including AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), American Airlines Arena (Miami Heat), and Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers). He was inducted into the Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA) Hall of Fame in 2008.