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Video: The Case for Satellite Streaming Over IP for Large-Scale Live Events

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Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Casey Charvet: There are two main workflows that we use with satellite. One is taking a feed over a Ku satellite. Book a transponder, and you get the truck out there. And this is sort of the traditional broadcast workflow.

Chris Knowlton: So this is where you have a truck that comes with a dish that folds up and starts beaming into the sky?

Casey Charvet: Yes. And you know transponder time is something like $600/hour for a slot on a transponder that will get you roughly 17 megabits up.

Chris Knowlton: So that's basically buying a time slice on the satellite when you say that, right?

Casey Charvet: Exactly. And then you have to downlink that to a facility, and there are many different facilities. We have gear placed at one of these downlink facilities. So we just call up or send an email to traffic control. Tell them the satellite coordinates and the time. They book it. And then the signal magically appears in my encoder the day of the event.

This is a good workflow, because if the budget allows you have a really reserved connection and you can get these pretty much anywhere in the world. There is global satellite coverage.

Chris Knowlton: So, basically, you bought the bandwidth, so you don't have to worry about any congestion. How many other cellular users are in the area? Do all those issues go away?

Casey Charvet: That's right. And this is sort of borrowing from the traditional broadcast infrastructure and twisting it to use it for our live streaming purposes. But there is a more modern approach, and we actually started using this before we started doing Ku stuff, is just how that worked out. And this is using data satellites. So there are companies like Viasat that run the Exede broadband service, and some of you may know this from residential broadband, if you live out in the boonies you can still get broadband internet. You set up this little 90 centimeter dish, looks like a DirectTV dish, and you get about 12-18 Megabits down and 5-8 up. So it’s definitely enough to do an HD stream.

Without really getting into their business model, I'll just talk about the workflow. So we can put an IP encoder on site. Set up this little dish, it takes about 10 minutes to point it if you practice with it. And you can get upstream bandwidth for a live stream, practically anywhere. This is not reserved. It's not like a KU thing. The traffic will be prioritized because of their service packaging. But it is, and it is a shared medium.

But they do have a good bit of capacity and they launched a second satellite, which will be up and operational, I think, in the spring. So there is considerable amount of this satellite IP available. It's describing the spectrum that the satellite uses, it's KA band as opposed to KU. And that's kinda neat because it's a straight IP workflow. Once you go into an encoder it never touches baseband video again.

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