Q. How did LiveU get started?
A. After attending a soccer game, I saw first-hand how much effort was involved in broadcasting a live game – the SAT trucks and massive infrastructure needed, plus the amount of people on site and in the studio to capture and produce the game. At the same time, cellular infrastructure was changing with the introduction of 3G. At the same time, cellular infrastructure was changing with the introduction of 3G. What I quickly realized was how this cellular technology could impact the broadcasting community. I just knew there could be an easier and less expensive way to transmit live video. LiveU was founded in 2008. In 10 years, the company has grown from a small startup with three employees in Israel to a technology leader with more than 200 employees worldwide, and offices and customers in 80 countries.
Q. What was the name of the first product and what could it do?
A. Our first bonded field unit, the LU20 transmitted live reliable SD video quality. Considered groundbreaking technology for its supported six cellular modems, the unit made its world premiere at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The LU20 had an average 1Mbps uplink speed and weighed in over 10lbs (4.53KG). While revolutionary at the time, a far cry from our latest field unit, the LU600, delivers the highest video quality and bitrate in the market (up to 20Mbps), and is set to offer the fastest file transfer (80Mbps).
Q. How did LiveU receive its big break?
A. The turning point for us was when NBC came on board as a customer in 2008. The major network saw the vision and embraced LiveU at a time when broadcasters weren’t keen on trying new technology. They were able to see the possibilities for this technology and became one of our biggest supporters. NBC truly helped usher in the IP revolution and the other broadcasters followed suit shortly after.
Q. Who are LiveU’s customers today?
A. Thousands of TV news networks, sports organizations, and online media outlets in 100 countries rely on LiveU to deliver live coverage of breaking and developing news and high-profile events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Winter and Summer Olympic Games, Presidential Campaigns, Super Bowls, US Collegiate Championships and red carpet events.
With the advent of affordable live streaming solutions for the online market, we’re seeing a slew of new customers, including collegiate and professional sports organizations, education institutions, corporate enterprises, government and security, event venues and event companies, nonprofit and fundraising organizations, houses of worship, in addition to news and entertainment outlets.
Q. What are the benefits of using LiveU?
A. At the heart of all LiveU products is our patented bonding technology and LRT™, or LiveU Reliable Transport. LRT delivers unprecedented HD picture quality due to our predictive algorithms that anticipate network behavior for the most stable picture over time. This gives our customers peace of mind that they can reliably stream even in the most challenging areas. And our technology continues to evolve while we develop innovative new solutions based on what the market and our customers need. We understand where things are heading in our industry and listen to our customers’ needs to stay ahead of the curve with the right solutions…so that all they need to do is simply focus on getting more great live content.
Q. What types of markets are sharing live content?
A. LiveU is the solution of choice for breaking news, live sports, and entertainment news. With the shift from traditional broadcast and cable TV to online and the change in viewing habits (the rise of video watching on mobile devices!), we’re seeing live video adoption rates increase among K-12 and Higher Ed Events, Education and Athletics, Corporate Events, Training and Meetings, Professional Sports, Government and Security, Houses of Worship, Non-Profit and Fundraising, Weddings and Celebrations, Conference and Trade Show Production, and Advertising Agencies. The race is on to produce differentiated live content to attract and retain online viewers. And platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube Live will see an influx of new users sharing high-quality videos and interacting with audiences.
Q. How many live broadcasts are accomplished with LiveU?
A. Today, LiveU provides the technology behind more than 50% of all live news content on television. Over 2.5 million live sessions are taking place each year – equating to almost 115 Terabytes of live video every month. We’ve come a long way and so has technology. For example, when we deployed our technology at the 2008 Olympics, most broadcasters still relied on the SAT truck feed to capture and share footage. Fast forward to the 2016 Olympic Games, IP bonding has become the standard. There is no question that the 2016 Summer Olympics were the most live-streamed games ever with reports that NBC alone delivered almost 3 billion minutes of live streaming. We had 75 international broadcasters using 300 units to capture 5,886 hours of video, and 3,758 GB of data transferred. As live video continues to draw the audience numbers and social interaction, we foresee the number of live broadcasts growing exponentially.
Q. Can you tell us about your recent product launches?
A. Our latest field unit, the LU600 sets the new standard for IP bonding and delivers the highest video quality and bitrate in the market (up to 20Mbps). The LU600 is set to offer the fastest file transfer (80Mbps), lowest delay (0.5 sec) and 100Mbps high-speed bonded internet connection. The LU600 is field upgradable to H.265 HEVC.
Q. What does the future of broadcasting look like?
A. We’ll continue to see traditional broadcast TV and cable news have a larger presence online. It’s evident from the increase in live productions and the viewership numbers at high-profile events like the Olympics, that live streaming for the online market is growing and thriving. With our LiveU Solo, the first one-touch live online streaming solution for Facebook Live and other content delivery networks, this brings broadcast quality to live online streaming.
While broadcast is looking at producing more 4K content, adoption hasn’t become widespread just yet. LiveU is ensuring broadcasters are ready when the shift from HD to 4K UHD goes mainstream. Products such as the new H.265 HEVC-ready LU600 and the LU710 rack mounted 4K encoder bring the future to our customers now and when distribution and costs make 4K the new standard, our broadcast customers will be ready.
When the infrastructure changes and is ready for 8K, we’ll be right there developing solutions to meet our customers’ needs. In the meantime, we see a host of cloud-based media startups emerging and ready to shape the future of our industry.
Q. How has LiveU maintained long-term customers?
A. Our professional services team is on the front lines with our customers supporting news and events of all sizes and scales round the clock. Second only to our great technology, our people are what sets us apart. The LiveU team goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our customers have a great experience with our technology every time so that audiences around the world are entertained, informed and always a part of the action.