Powering Live Sports Streaming with 4K HDR

By Yannick Breugnot, Solution Engineering

There are some events that are so special – those once-a-year or even once-every-four-years must-see events – that you have to make sure you deliver top-notch quality, including 4K HDR.

Take the Olympic Games, for example. Viewed by millions. If you mess up, your chance to prove yourself will not come again until four years later. So you want to get it right – each time.

In fact, you don’t just want to get it right. You want to wow your audiences with an exceptional experience.

Last year, poor image quality was the number three reason for subscribers cancelling their streaming service subscriptions. So clearly, besides good content, the quality of the viewing experience is crucial.

Yet those very exceptional events are also the ones that attract more viewers – meaning more strain on the video-delivery platform. And more strain often means a loss in quality of service.

So how can you reconcile the two and provide high-quality streaming during peak viewing times?

One answer is to go to the cloud. With a cloud-based architecture, you are free to expand your platform to meet increased viewership – without compromising on the quality of experience and without over-investing in capacity that will be used only once every four years.

But that’s not the whole answer. A cloud architecture will of course provide horizontal and vertical scalability, meaning supporting more channels but also more viewers. But to offer your viewers an exceptional experience, you want to go beyond that by offering immersive video, enveloping sound, and outstanding video quality.

That’s what one US-based virtual MVPD (Multiple Video Programming Distributor) did when streaming the Summer Olympics this year. It achieved this using our TITAN transcoders providing transcoding and packaging for live OTT distribution, with content available in 4K Dolby Vision® HDR and Dolby Atmos® immersive audio technologies. And the solution ran 100% in the cloud.

This marked the first use of Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos immersive audio technologies for the Olympics, enhancing the viewing experience for audiences in the US and transporting them closer to the heart of the action in Tokyo.  In fact, these technologies really brought the games to life through incredible brightness, contrast, color, and detail – and with a completely immersive listening experience through enveloping audio.

To stream the Olympics while also continuing its standard programming, the vMPVD quickly added extra channels to its existing lineup, just for the duration of the event.

I can’t tell you the name (it’s a secret), but it’s a live-TV streaming service. I find it pretty cool that they broke new ground again, delivering the best audio and video experiences ever for the Olympics, thanks to ATEME’s solutions. And the best part? The low bitrates produced by our strong and efficient compression engine meant they even saved on operational costs.

The Summer Olympics are now over, but there are plenty of other events coming up that are so special for your customers, you just have to make sure they are powered by the best technology.

What live sports events are you looking to power?