Among the more interesting conversations I had over the last few days at the NAB Show was with Avichai Cohen, COO and co-founder of LiveU, whose lightweight mobile video uplink solution opens up all kinds of new opportunities for remote broadcasting while also saving customers lots of money. LiveU has been on my radar for some time, but this was the first opportunity I've had to see its LU-30 device. I wasn't the only one interested; their booth was buzzing with activity.
The LU-30 incorporates 6 wireless aircards from multiple cellular service providers which are bonded together to provide a high-quality on-demand video uplink. The device fits into a LiveU-provided backpack so the user is able to simply plug in their video camera and begin broadcasting remotely. Avichai explained that the company's patents focus on the bonding, load balancing and smooth delivery under highly variable circumstances. The device also takes in Ethernet and other connections if a customer wants alternative uplinks vs. wireless. The LU-30 interfaces with the LU-100 server in the studio where the video is processed for delivery to viewers.
Beyond the technology, LiveU also distinguishes itself with a simple monthly fee model of $1,500/mo for 30 hours of use, which Avichai said no customer has yet exceeded. That's a huge savings over renting a satellite or mobile uplink for $5,000/day. Even if the user is in an area where roaming charges apply, LiveU absorbs those costs so the flat monthly fee remains intact.
News and sports are the most logical applications for LiveU and Avichai said the company has added both domestic and international broadcast customers. The proliferation of live streaming events, and the trend toward multiple video captures to enhance social media and smartphone consumption, is another natural opportunity. To help penetrate the market, LiveU has partnered with companies like Livestream, Ustream and Kyte, who are in turn offering remote broadcasting as a service to their customers.
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