Fans of UK speedway, a motorsport with a rich history and consistent fan base across the country, are now benefitting from ExStream Media’s decision to drastically improve the quality and reliability of its streaming output. As a result, the company has deployed LiveU’s compact yet powerful LU300S field units.
Based in Middlesbrough, UK, ExStream Media’s co-owners Martin Hunter and Ben Duffill, have a long relationship with speedway centred on their local track, working and volunteering there. With their relationship having grown over the years, Duffill began to look at the possibilities of live streaming speedway races from around the UK. Hunter said, “In recent years I started to help out Ben and Redcar Speedway by doing some graphics work and then helping develop their social channels. Ben then approached me about live streaming races as some clubs had shown interest. So, we looked at the possibilities and what we could do and how we could satisfy fans while also creating a sustainable business.”
British Speedway’s top league (of three) benefits from very good coverage by Eurosport and Discovery+ and while the broadcaster also has the rights for the lower tier leagues, Hunter explained they looked to provide more coverage of these to satisfy fans. They were happy for ExStream to work with the clubs to determine what was desirable in terms of live streaming.
ExStream then looked at how best to cover races around the UK with wildly varying parameters in terms of live streaming. The company developed its technical setup using multiple cameras on-site fed into a vision mixer and then streamed live via a CDN. Hunter explained, “We knew that there would be connectivity issues but given the risk we were taking, we wanted to keep equipment costs to a minimum. Although we were using another IP solution, it was low grade and we had many occasions where image quality dropped to an unacceptable level, especially given that we are a subscription service. Then one evening while trying to cover an event our whole system collapsed, failing completely.”
ExStream knew of LiveU, initially thinking it would be too high-level for them but were reminded by camera people on their travels of the quality its technology achieves. Hunter reached out on LinkedIn and LiveU responded incredibly quickly, with ExStream having a unit in its hands three days after contact and in time for the coming weekend’s event.
Hunter said, “The LU300S works exactly as it promises to do. We needed to save our business, to be blunt, and this technology has been essential. Now, when we turn up, wherever that may be, we simply turn it on, set up the rest of our gear and off we go. We don’t have to worry about connectivity at all and this has completely changed our mindset. It has freed us up to concentrate on creating better content to keep our subscribers happy. The LU300S achieves for us exactly what we want.”
Weighing just over 900 g (2 lb), the LU300S offers resilient bonding in a compact and lightweight portable unit, supporting up to 30 Mbps via up to six IP connections based on LiveU’s patented HEVC bonding technology. The mixed feed is sent by the LU300S to a LiveU cloud server, then onto a CDN.
Malcom Harland, UK Country Manager with LiveU, says, “We come across a lot of people in similar situations to ExStream where minimising the cost initially becomes a false economy. The end product has to work, and work well, otherwise subscribers churn and both revenues and reputation falter. The LU300S is ideal for these kinds of streaming operations, being powerful, compact and with a mighty punch when it comes to image quality and signal resilience. We’re very pleased that ExStream have benefited from this and that we were able to supply them so quickly.”