July 9, 2019

Bringing live 4K streaming sporting events to life at scale

Manifest manipulation

Grady Player, Manager, Software Dev Engineering, and Pavel Koshevoy, Software Engineer

Today, the vast majority of live and streaming content is either 720p or 1080p. Despite the widespread availability of affordable 4K screens, broadcasters are still struggling with the complex challenges of producing and distributing 4K on an infrastructure designed to handle much lower bitrate HD streams.

Many broadcast companies and production studios, who not that long ago made significant investments in HD, are carefully evaluating the ROI of delivering 4K versus the benefits achieved. Those entering the 4K arena typically only make higher quality content, such as select movies and shows, available at an extra cost. Part of the hesitation to go 4K may be found in a recent Brightcove study indicating that the move to 4K is only worth the investment if at least 80% of endpoints can consume 4K content. Current estimates are that about one-fifth of viewers have 4K TVs.

For broadcasters, now is the perfect time to gain experience with new formats, compression technologies, and workflows, even as standards continue to evolve and technologies advance. As announced at the NAB Show this year, Verizon Media has begun offering 4K services to our broadcast customers. In this blog, we look at some of the technical challenges we faced around encoding and packaging 4K for live sporting events.

Check out the full blog on Medium now.