Keeping Pace with the Content Revolution


Kevin Fitzgerald TV-Bay Magazine
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These are uniquely challenging times for broadcasters and their technical teams. Not only are they having to negotiate the move to IP-based infrastructures and the introduction of new formats and techniques such as 4K and HDR, they are also having to generate more content than ever before to support OTT and web services as well as traditional linear broadcast.

This development has serious logistical, technical and financial implications for broadcasters, particularly when it comes to sports content. Sports OBs have always been one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of live programming, making strenuous demands of personnel and facilities. So it follows that the prospect of responding to viewer expectations of more coverage of more niche sports, as well as additional programming around the main sports, could very easily be headache-inducing.

With changes in the TV advertising market meaning that budgets are facing greater scrutiny than at any time in the recent past, the onus is on broadcasters to find ways of working that allow them to produce higher levels of content in a streamlined, cost-efficient fashion. Increasingly, this is leading to a demand for solutions that allow broadcasters to cover events with reduced teams and the minimum of equipment – but which still afford a good selection of creative options and maintain the production values they have established over the years.

This requirement is especially acute with OTT/streaming delivery of non-mainstream and lower league sports, where production may not be underpinned by significant revenues. So it follows that there is a ready market for solutions that can be deployed quickly and inexpensively, but still offer the core functionality – such as high-quality slomo and replays – that is fundamental to modern sports coverage.

It is precisely this market that Streamstar has sought to develop over the last few years with a series of solutions that have found favour with broadcasters, specialist streaming companies, leagues and federations. The mainstay of the range remains the X Series of rack-mount, 2/4/6 channel live production streaming studios, which are now in use in countries all over the world.

But a more recent addition – Streamstar CASE 800 – has also resonated with broadcasters seeking to achieve low-cost, quick-turnaround productions. The definition of the portable studio, CASE 800 offers a feature set including 8 live camera switching, superb instant replays and slomo, ISO recording of all 8 channels, built-in character generator with live sports graphics, integrated JVC camcorders, and remote control over IP.

Higher-end solutions

But over the last few years it’s become increasingly apparent that there is a need for streaming solutions aimed at the higher-end as well as mid-level applications. It is with this in mind that Streamstar has developed the 8-channel iPX systems, which are specifically geared towards the expectations of major broadcasters.

Available in standard iPX (HD) and iPX-3G (3G/HD) versions, the iPX systems have been designed to deliver robust and reliable live production and streaming – however demanding the project. Packed in a 4RU chassis with an optional redundant power supply, the iPX systems provide the full range of Streamstar features, including replays and slomo, media playlists, powerful graphics capabilities, internal character generator, live sports graphics templates, and the company’s intuitive touchscreen user interface.

At this year’s IBC, Streamstar invites broadcasters and services providers interested in finding out how the company can meet their needs for high-quality, cost-efficient streaming to visit its booth.

New phase of growth

The opening up of this new tier for Streamstar takes place during a period when the company is continuing to grow its global reach. After a string of significant systems sales there is every indication that Streamstar is embarking upon an exciting new phase of growth, and with fresh reseller and distribution partnerships on the horizon it will become easier to bring streaming solutions to different verticals more rapidly.

In terms of R&D plans, Streamstar will continue to refine its existing solutions as well as develop new ones that take account of the changing expectations of OTT/streaming services – which, after all, are still in their relative infancy when viewed in the context of broadcasting history.

With new platforms seemingly launching every month, the appetite for content is only heading in one direction. As the content market becomes more dense and fragmented, the call for solutions that are easy to use and inexpensive will become ever louder. Streamstar products respond directly to this need with a level of flexibility and functionality that excels many others in their class, making them ideally suited to these transformational times.


Tags: iss139 | streamstar | streaming | case 800 | ipx | ipx-3g | Kevin Fitzgerald
Contributing Author Kevin Fitzgerald

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