Facebook integrates LiveU tech to boost content

Israeli startup says its wireless product allows content providers to broadcast high quality streams to Facebook Live

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

A reporter uses LiveU technology at the Super Bowl in 2015 (Courtesy)
A reporter uses LiveU technology at the Super Bowl in 2015 (Courtesy)

Israeli startup LiveU said Wednesday it has developed a wireless product that allows content providers to broadcast high-quality live streams directly to Facebook Live.

Called LiveU Solo, the technology already allows companies like AOL/Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Funny or Die and MTV to live stream their content in high definition via Facebook Live, the Kfar Saba, Israel-based company said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Facebook in Israel declined to comment.

“Organizations are attracted by Facebook’s extensive community and unprecedented social interactivity. It was important to provide content creators with an easy solution that enabled better quality content and reliable, consistent live video streams,” said Samuel Wasserman, CEO of LiveU, said in a statement. “With one-touch integration to Facebook Live, organizations can produce HD video live streams quickly and confidently.”

Facebook is eager to encourage content providers to stream content via its platform, directly, in real time and at a high quality, Wasserman added. “This is the reason why at the start of the year we initiated development with the Facebook live platform,” Wasserman said in a separate emailed statement. “This is a very big opportunity for us, because the cooperation with these content providers opens up additional online markets for us as a company.”

LiveU Solo and its integration with Facebook Live allows live streams that can be professionally produced faster and easier, all from one interface and with a one-touch solution, without the need for a large crew or lots of equipment, LiveU said in a statement. Costs will be lower than those normally associated with high-quality productions and the technology will also allow out-of-the-studio capabilities, enabling users to create and share live from anywhere in the world, including sports events and concerts.

LiveU technology in use at the 2016 Rio Olympic games (Courtesy)
LiveU technology in use at the 2016 Rio Olympic games (Courtesy)

“Online broadcasters want the same quality as traditional broadcast television, but don’t want to go through a cumbersome process each time they go live,” Wasserman said. “Solo is the first product to combine broadcast-quality encoding technology with plug-and-play ease of use directly to Facebook Live. It is a grab and go solution that anyone can use without a big investment or steep learning curve.”

Solo’s one-touch integration has allowed Funny or Die, a social content producer, to stream back-to-back videos to Facebook Live effortlessly, said Daniel Mei-Tal, a social content producer for the company. “We are now producing more than 10 Facebook Live broadcasts per week,” Mei-Tal said in the statement.

LiveU, founded in 2006, employs about 190 workers globally and has raised about $50 million to date from VC funds including Pitango Venture Capital, Carmel Ventures and Lightspeed Ventures, data provided by the company said. Its cellular-based live video transmission technology enables mobile broadcasts from any location around the world with light, easy-to-use equipment — and its technology is behind more than half of all the live news content that is broadcast on television. Its technology has been used for breaking and developing news and high profile events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Brazil Olympic games, presidential campaigns, the UK elections in 2015 and Super Bowls.

Until LiveU developed its transmission solution, most broadcasters relied on satellite uplinks to deliver broadcasts. But satellite broadcasts require a line of sight connection to the satellite, making it impractical for broadcasting from indoors, under bridges, inside caves or even in very cloudy weather. Since LiveU uses cell networks, its device can broadcast from locations where satellite use is out of the question. The leased systems that LiveU provides clients are also a lot cheaper for broadcasters than renting a satellite van or using a satellite phone, the company has said.

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