Seeing the Olympics, through an Israeli tech company’s ‘eyes’

LiveU is used by news organizations for transmitting broadcast-quality video – with some 100 broadcasters utilizing the Israeli-developed technology

LiveU CEO Samuel Wasserman with the company's LU40i Video Uplink Solution (Photo credit: Courtesy)
LiveU CEO Samuel Wasserman with the company's LU40i Video Uplink Solution (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The Olympics may be taking place in London, but viewers around the world are able to see them in real-time largely thanks to Israeli-developed technology. The BBC, NBC, Globosat, Terra, TV Record, Televisa, Uno TV, and other international broadcasters are all using a remote television uplink technology developed by LiveU.

Using a device half the size of a laptop, broadcasters can get television-quality video, remotely uploaded using cellular technology, to broadcast centers.

LiveU, headquartered in Israel, with a US office in Hackensack, New Jersey, has been around since 2006, and is still the only company offering a remote uplink solution for broadcast-quality video without requiring a satellite or wired internet connection. The company has hundreds of clients in countries around the world; the BBC, for example, has used LiveU devices for the past several years, using them to broadcast the Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011, the recent anniversary of the Tsunami in Japan as well as the US mid-term elections during 2010. BBC news uses LiveU’s technology for many of its field reports, according to LiveU CEO Samuel Wasserman, who said that the company was honored at the BBC’s “vote of confidence in the flexibility of our solution.”

Other events that have been broadcast using the devices include several recent Super Bowls and NBA All Star games, Carnival in Brazil, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – the first time it was used to broadcast an event worldwide.

LiveU is currently the only company offering a robust transmission solution for broadcasters, consisting of up to 14 cellular (3G/4G – LTE/WiMAX) modems over multiple carriers, as well as multiple LAN and even BGAN satellite connections (as backup). The solution works with any camera, and the bonded modems (both 3G and 4G) aggregate all data connections simultaneously to achieve high bandwidth and smooth transmission, even as bandwidth and signal levels change across the different connections.

Even though some of the connections from some of the carriers might suffer from fluctuations and slowdowns when there is heavy traffic in the network, LiveU’s software will compensate for that slowdown by drawing on other resources to keep the uplink going at the best possible quality.

Until LiveU developed this solution broadcasters relied on satellite uplink to deliver broadcasts. But, said LiveU Vice-president Ariel Galinsky, 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 the cell network, our device can broadcast from locations where satellite use is out of the question,” he said, adding that the leased systems that LiveU provides clients are a lot cheaper for broadcasters than renting a satellite van, or even using a satellite phone, usage of which “costs a lot of money per minute, with the hardware itself very expensive.”

In all, LiveU said, about 100 of the units are being deployed at this year’s Olympics. That’s pretty heady stuff for an Israeli start-up, said LiveU’s VP of Marketing, Ronen Artman. “This is a landmark achievement for LiveU,” he said, adding that “we’re very proud that so many valued customers recognize the power and flexibility of our technology for an event of this scale and importance.”

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