On 12 December 2019, LiveU presented its annual ‘State of Live’ report based on data gathered from its global customer base of thousands of users. The findings reflect the substantial growth in IP news and sports broadcasting with a 50% increase in the number of LiveU units used to stream live events and 250% increase to around 20 million in live sessions overall.
HEVC continues to play a key role in live transmission, which is pivotal for live sports productions. This is due to the higher quality video performance and bandwidth efficiency enabled by HEVC technology. LiveU reports a 65% growth in HEVC units deployed worldwide and over 400% growth in HEVC-based sessions. Nearly 50% of the field units used to stream sports are HEVC-based with almost 80% of sports sessions transmitted in HD.
The increasing deployment of cellular bonding technology for live sport coverage has been evident worldwide. Following the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, Kevin Callahan, VP, Field Operations & Engineering, Fox Sports said, “We always get energised if there is a huge buzz at home and this World Cup surpassed all our expectations with the success of the US Women’s soccer team. LiveU’s LU600 HEVC portable transmission unit provided the backbone for our ENG shoots that were not at the stadium, enabling us to increase the number of live feeds. We also sent content to multiple locations simultaneously using LiveU’s Matrix IP cloud video management platform, making the content available to Fox TV stations that wanted to integrate live shots into their newscasts.”
LiveU’s State of Live report also shows a significant increase in remote at-home productions (REMI) from 2018, allowing broadcasters and sports organisers to reduce costs by producing live shows from a centralised studio control room instead of on-site production and satellite trucks. LiveU’s at-home production customers reported savings of over 70% on their production costs this year.
Samuel Wasserman, LiveU’s CEO, noted, “Our annual findings show significant year-on-year growth in live IP broadcasting, boosted by HEVC technology. Now with the rolling out of 5G networks, the potential is even larger. In the same way that 4G transformed the broadcast market, 5G is likely to have an even greater impact across multiple sectors, not least sport, and we believe that 2020 is going to be a milestone year with the Summer Games in Tokyo and UEFA EURO 2020. Adding greater efficiency and reliability, 5G offers exciting new opportunities for live event coverage. We’ve already seen it in our tests around the world covering events such as the NBA Summer League with AT&T and the Berlin Marathon. The combination of 5G and our field-proven HEVC units will result in exceptional video performance, even better than that achieved by traditional transmission methods.”
Wasserman continued, “Remote at-home production will also be facilitated by the emergence of 5G and we’re already seeing a rise in applications using our technology, in line with industry trends.”