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Casting Views: ViewCast's Streaming Technology, Part 1

Apr 27, 2011 2:30 PM, with Bennett Liles

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OK you’ve got a model that works for everything from just hitting the road with a backpack to pulling up to a big event with a remote truck and doing the whole nine yards on live production.
Absolutely, it’s a very broad portfolio that meets a wide variety of industry applications. [Timestamp: 5:07]

OK and when you get online and you can access this through the web interface, what do you see? What sort of user display and options do you have in front of you?
Well like I said all of our Niagara streaming appliances come with a built-in web interface and allows you to control the system remotely from any location on the network. The unit web interface allows you to do things like creating and grouping any number of streaming profiles, you can start and stop the stream remotely, you can set up all the system properties, you can monitor system alerts and messages, and so forth. [Timestamp: 5:38]

And if you know exactly what the situation’s going to be you can set all that up in advance and when you get the encoder powered up on-site it remembers all of the parameters and it’s ready to go with the stored setup.
Absolutely. In fact, you can set up codec in groups so you can set up different bit rates and resolutions and you can start all of those from a single push of the front panel "Stream Start" button so all of that can be configured by an expert back at the central office or broadcast center and then taken into the field, hooked up and then you just push the stream start button and you’re ready to go. [Timestamp: 6:11]

And it would seem that not only it’s simple to operate for being out on the road but also say if you have a church service at the stream and you’re working with a volunteer crew and they may be a little bit short on technical expertise and experience, the 2120 is just a push button thing and your service is online.
Absolutely, it’s a very, very easy unit to set up and operate and again once the streaming profiles are configured and in the case of the house of worship application you probably have one or two codec types, profile types, set up—you simply come in just before the service starts and hit that stream button and you’re up and running. [Timestamp: 6:47] I noticed one thing on the front panel that has a video signal indicator, does that work just off sync or do you have to have the whole video signal for that thing to light up?
No it doesn’t work off sync it’s simply a visual indicator to let you know that you have video coming into the unit. Our other Niagara systems have full video displays on the front and the idea there is that you will be able to glance at the unit from across the room and verify that you have a valid incoming video. [Timestamp: 7:11]

OK light, simple—pretty much for a bare bones, gotta-get-it-done-right-now operation. Exactly, yep.

So what’s the advantage of being able to transmit multiple resolutions at multiple data rates at the same time?
Well that’s a good question. Well you know we live in multi-platform world where consumers want to view video on any number of devices including everything from laptops, desktops, handhelds, and cell phones so broadcasters need streaming solutions that address all of these different platforms, all of which may have different requirements for bit rate and resolution so rather than maintaining separate encoding and streaming systems to support each of the various requirements a more scalable approach is to implement a single streaming solution that can handle all of these different resolutions simultaneously all from the same video source. So the advantage from the broadcasters' prospective is the ability to reach a larger audience using multiple devices with a single scalable streaming solution. [Timestamp: 8:06]

OK, so Go-Live decided that they wanted to make the 2120 the central encoding core of their new backpack system. So what was the situation when they came to you and said, “We want to take this to a whole new level of mobility” or I guess you were glad to hear that they wanted to make it a part of their system?
Yeah as far I understand, they looked at a number of systems across the board and determined that the Niagara 2120 was the ideal solution for their application. The unit is lightweight, it’s portable, it’s very easy to use, it can be powered externally, and the image quality is exceptional so it was just a very good fit for their application. [Timestamp: 8:43]

And in Part 2 we’re going to be finding out first hand from Eitan Ortal of Go-Live about how they put Anton Bauer batteries on this thing and took it into the field for one-man news setups but Jeff, thanks for being here with us to fill us in on the Niagara 2120 streaming encoder from ViewCast.

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