Elemental Technologies provides hardware and software solutions for adaptive multi-screen video processing. Elemental Live is a linear encoder that takes live streams in and creates multi-screen outputs for live distribution, and Elemental Server is a file-based server that creates multi-screen outputs for live distribution. Blackman says that many of its customers use these solutions for large-scale sports video streaming. See my 2010 interview with Blackman from Streaming Media East, where he also demonstrated Elemental Live and Elemental Server (Larry Kless' Weblog: Elemental Delivers GPU-Accelerated Video Streaming Solutions)
I spoke with Blackman earlier this year at the Over-the-Top Conference, OOTTCON 2012, where he discussed, The Olympics Go OTT: Lessons Learned from the last 12 months in sports video streaming. Blackman says that total available TV audience for the Olympics has grown from 3.9B in 2004 to 4.7B in 2008, and that it's by far the biggest global sports even. Not only has the number of viewers grown, so has the number hours of professionally-produced live video content. Consumers want to watch the Olympics on all of their screens, and this year a record number of viewers all around the globe will watch live and video on-demand (VOD) content on TV, PCs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other connected devices.
“When we began the intense evaluation process for streaming of the Olympic Games more than a year ago, Elemental had little idea of just how broadly we’d be adopted on a global scale,” says Blackman.In this video, Blackman summarizes five of the key lessons Elemental learned from working with the sports industry which it's put to use in delivering the 2012 Summer Olympics video stream.
You never know when the next iPad will hit, ...how quickly can you react?
"The key take-away from this sporting event," say Blackman, "was that to deliver effectively to this divergence of multi-screen devices, you absolutely have to have a software-based solution. Because only software is flexible enough to adapt to the rapidly changing multi-screen world."
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"The key here is that speed is critical," Blackman points out. "Fans want to see highlihgts of big plays as soon as possible, and having a highlight read for VOD, video on-demand consumption in two minutes, as opposed to 30 minutes is a huge difference in terms of how effectively DeltaTRE's customers were able to monetize that VOD asset. So speed of processing is very critical."
|The Olympics is a true global phenomena but every live event is now geo-agnostic.|
The second key learning in working with Terra was around sub-titling and captioning of content, which are very different based on geography. Sub-titling and captioning requirements have changed dramatically over the past few years, and transitioning and translating between one captioning format and another is becoming more and more difficult.
"So being able to successfully translate captions across different end devices, screens and geographies is absolutely critical", stresses Blackman. "Having a solution that really has been through the wringer, in terms of international deployments is absolutely critical."
|Content playback on the fans terms. just might put more fans in the seats.|
"What this is a sign of," Blackman notes, "is a trend, that to make sure that venues and stadiums remain exciting events to attend when they're competing against really big screen televisions and fancy audio systems in living rooms. People are still going to want to go to the stadium because they get to watch the action live but they also get this personalized video replay system in their hands on their device. So as the fourth learning, and this is going to be important in more and more sporting venues moving forward."
|Hope the DASH 'collapses the world', but be prepared in the event that it doesn't.|
"Here the key is that Eurosport is creating streams for devices as disparate as iOS devices (iPads, iPhones), Roku boxes, Apple TV, Flash Player on the PC and Android devices and then, Silverlight for Xbox 360 and other Microsoft applications," states Blackman. "They are creating 29 different outputs simultaneously, and having to manage the network requirements of all those outputs."Blackman says that there's hope with MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP), an emerging video standard that they've been developing with several other companies in the space, that it will help reduce the number of outputs from 28 down to just a few different adaptive bit rate (ABR) outputs with standardized packaging. If that happens, it holds the promise that ‘collapses the world’ into a single video standard and the proliferation of formats will start to get reduced.
Elemental recently raised $13 million is a series C funding round, with an eye on global expansion, and the 2012 Olympic Games will be Elemental’s largest live deployment to date. See this this recent press release for on Elemental's multiscreen delivery of the Summer Games: Elemental Unveils Plans to Stream the 2012 Olympic Games with Leading Broadcasters Worldwide | Elemental Technologies.
Elemental Technologies is the leading supplier of video solutions for multiscreen content delivery. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the company pioneered the use of graphics processors to power adaptive video streaming over IP networks. Providing unmatched solutions for top media and entertainment companies worldwide, including Comcast, Disney and HBO, Elemental helps content programmers and service providers bring video to any screen, anytime – all at once. The company has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. To learn more, please visit www.elementaltechnologies.com and follow @elementaltech on Twitter.
- Elemental Streams the Olympic Games with Broadcasters Worldwide | Elemental Technologies
- Elemental Will Process Olympic Video for Audience of 1 Billion - Streaming Media Magazine
- London 2012: The Biggest Online Video Event Ever - www.StreamingMediaGlobal.com
- Taking the Olympics online: How will online video perform? - FierceOnlineVideo
- Aiming For Global Expansion, Elemental Technologies Raises $13M In Round Led By Norwest | TechCrunch
- Elemental Technologies raises $13 million venture round, prepares global marketing push | OregonLive.com
- Elemental Sweeps Olympics Deals for Multiscreen Video Across Four Continents | Elemental Technologies