Today’s consumers are increasingly seeking unique and highly immersive ways to experience their favourite live content. By delivering media to a second screen such as a mobile phone or tablet, operators can augment and supplement standard broadcast and on-demand offerings. Capture and delivery of 360º video from live events, including sports and music festivals, represents one such medium which not only offers a sense of being there but also provides a personalised viewing experience.
This paper highlights the advantages of tile-based, viewport-adaptive 360º video delivery and describes how these methods scale with the number of users and the capability of mobile devices. It also describes experiences gained from MediaKind’s deployment of an end-to-end live tile-based 360º video encode as-a-service for live sports events. This includes a 2018 proof of concept event organised and hosted by Deutsche Telekom, which saw a multi-partner collaboration enable the world’s first multi-channel, viewport-adaptive, 6K 360º streaming, live from a basketball match in Germany.
Broadcasters, telco operators and content rights holders are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to reach, attract and retain consumers. Recent advances in Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, specifically the bringing of VR experiences to mobile devices, has encouraged significant interest outside the gaming industry. Three-sixty-degree video leverages much of the technology developed for rendering VR experiences but differs in the way it is generated and delivered. Specifically, 360º video capture, delivery and rendering can be performed live, allowing operators to give consumers the sense of being at a sporting or live music event. Indeed, creative producers and the software suites which support these live not-to-be-missed events are creating 360º video experiences, which in real life consumers may not have been able to get a ticket to. MediaKind, along with partner Tiledmedia has been working on proof-of-concept demonstrations of 360° video encoding and delivery for some time. Our focus has been on delivering live events to consumers watching on ubiquitous mobile devices, engaging sports and music fans in the 360° experience rather than selling sports to VR enthusiasts. As part of this we worked on delivering content to a “flat app” running on a tablet or phone i.e. not a head-mounted device. Moving around the 360 is achieved by swiping or using the device gyros to show a “magic window” effect. This has proved popular and allows 360° video to be a companion to the main broadcast of an event.
Our investigations and demonstrations led to us being invited to take part in a collaborative venture, sponsored and hosted by Deutsche Telekom, which brought us together with 360° video producers Magnum Film, equipment vendor INVR.SPACE, and tiled streaming experts Tiledmedia to deliver multiple, high quality, live 360° video streams from a basketball game in Bonn, Germany in December 2018. Deutsche Telekom customers were able to view and select streams using the Magenta VR app. Streams were delivered using Akamai CDN.
This paper first discusses the challenges associated with delivering high quality 360° video to consumers; introducing the concept of viewport-adaptive 360º video delivery and how the encoding and delivery of viewport-adaptive 360º video naturally lends itself to parallelisation and deployment in the public cloud: and finally, we describe our experience of covering live events using this technology.
Download the full paper below
- PDF, Size 0.22 mb