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Livestream Offers Anytime, Anywhere Live Streaming With Livepack

Much of the recent attention in live video streaming has focused on cell phones and cell phone networks. For critical event coverage, "that's not really a viable option," says Max Haot, CEO and co-founder of Livestream.

There's little middle ground, he says, between the cell phone and the complete mobile satellite truck, something that strains the budgets of even local news stations.

Event videographers have it the worst, he says. With no way to afford a truck, they're often forced to work with whatever Internet connection the event space has. But when everyone at a conference is relying on the same pipeline, bandwidth can suddenly get choppy. The common solution is to use a notebook with a 3G cellular card, but even then connection quality can be uneven.

"It's still the number one point of failure," Haot says.

That's why Livestream has just announced a partnership with LiveU to deliver an optimized version of LiveU's backpack solution for Livestream customers. The Livepack is a full upload solution in one small package. All the customer needs to do is supply the camera and have either a free or premium Livestream account.

The LiveU LU-30, which Livestream has optimized in a new offering called Livepack.

The secret to the Livepack is that it uses six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems to upload data: two for AT&T, two for Verizon, and two for Sprint. If coverage is spotty, you can rely on one network and expect at least 300Kbps streaming. If coverage is good, the Livepack will use multiple modems and split the stream between them, delivering a 1Mbps connection.

"You don't want to stream at more than that because your viewers don't have the bandwidth to view it," says Haot.

Servers at Livestream will then reassemble the stream and send it to your channel live.

"The key is to be able to split a signal between different modems and then bring it back together. It's a TV broadcast truck in your backpack, basically," says Haot.Customers start out with the Livepack by e-mailing the company and getting a contract. They can choose between monthly use or set up a longer commitment. The one-month charge is $2,500, while committing to a year brings that down to $1,500 per month. Subscriptions include 30 hours of streaming uplink time per month.

Before the unit is sent out, it's configured to the customer's Livestream channel, so there's no setup for the customer to do. All they need to do is plug in a DV camera—simple or high-end—and select the auto-live streaming option from the touch screen menu.

While most customers will choose single channel shoots, the Livepack can be used in multicamera work with live mixing.

The streaming unit is ruggedized so customers don't need to worry about treating it as delicately as a notebook, and comes in a padded backpack. It won't turn off or overheat, assures Haot.

While LiveU was already renting the same equipment, customers need to stream video to their own server without the Livestream support, and then reincode and upload the feed. The Livestream partnership removes that entire process so that video goes directly to a Livestream channel.

"We make sure it works for you end-to-end," says Haot.

While Livestream has approximately 20 configured units, Haot says that LiveU has hundreds more that can be configured as needed. The company is already receiving orders, he says, and units ship within a week. For more on the Livepack, check the Livepack site, and watch the demo video below.

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