Delivering high-quality, low-latency live sports on every screen is the Holy Grail for today’s service providers, yet not without challenges. At the recent SportsPro OTT Summit, monetization, latency and Quality of Experience (QoE) were mentioned as the biggest challenges, followed by scalability. So how do operators tackle these issues and launch a successful live sports streaming service? Video Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the answer, and here are five reasons why.
Need to Launch a Sports Channel Fast? SaaS is Your Answer
SaaS covers every part of the video workflow, from content acquisition to playout, graphics, transcoding, encryption and distribution. This allows you to work faster and smarter. Want to launch a sports streaming service with super speed? Telkomsel in Indonesia was able to launch its OTT MAXstream service in just four weeks. You can too, with a video SaaS.
Is Cost a Concern? SaaS is Your Answer
SaaS subscribes to pay-as-you-grow business model that makes launching a live sports channel cost effective, as most of the sports channels are event based. You don’t need to make a significant upfront investment or build a physical plant.
Need to Scale? SaaS is Your Answer
For live sports, scalability is a must. SaaS can be scaled up and down as needed, so you don’t need to worry about how to handle the peaks of events or sports tournaments that might only last a day or a few days. During a soccer tournament, Telkomsel was able to scale to support 4 million subscribers and 550,000 simultaneous sessions in 30 days, using VOS®360 Video SaaS solution. Ramping up like this is only possible using cloud technology.
Struggling with Latency? SaaS is Your Answer
We’ve all been there. You’re watching a sports event and suddenly you hear your neighbor shouting and realize they’ve seen the next big play already, and the broadcast you’re watching is lagging behind. Latency is a huge concern for live sports streaming, but a good video SaaS solution can help you achieve a latency of about 30 to 90 seconds — close to broadcast — by utilizing the latest innovations in compression like MPEG Common Media Application Format (CMAF) and the Low Latency Chunk (LLC) option support. During several successful trials Harmonic performed in the summer of 2018, we measured six to nine seconds of end-to-end delay, which is very close to broadcast delay. The difference depends on the type of infrastructure to encode, the type of network and how aggressive the player is.
Want to Ensure High Quality? SaaS is Your Answer
Video quality matters. If your Quality of Experience is lackluster for live sports, it’s going to be difficult to keep viewers watching. You can count on video SaaS solutions to deliver high-quality video, up to UHD HDR, at low bitrates for OTT without putting too many constraints on compute resources. Harmonic’s EyeQ™ content-aware encoding has been deployed in the cloud by various service providers, including SuperSoccer, Telkomsel MAXstream and more recently NASA OTT UHD HDR app on Roku STB.
Harmonic is driving better live sports streaming experiences with its VOS360 SaaS solution. Speed up service launch times, lower OPEX and CAPEX costs, increase scalability, reduce latency and deliver superior quality of experiences for live sports while leveraging the latest cloud technology. If you are looking to stream your live sports content with pristine quality, check out this white paper to enable live streaming with low latency.
– Thierry Fautier VP Video Strategy at Harmonic and President of the Ultra HD Forum