What should you look for in a live playout

October 30, 2017

By Lakshmi

Live sports broadcast has come a long way in the era of dynamic animations for sports data, drone cameras, and social engagement. The modern viewer expects a graphic-rich viewing experience with very little tolerance to outliers. Owing to shrinking attention spans between live action, sports broadcasters are increasingly looking at in-action advertising options, and efficient ways to manage transitions from live to ad-break, and back to live. The live playout interface brings all of this together to stitch the desired experience. Naturally, choosing the right playout platform is the single most important decision for sports networks.

Here are a few things that sports networks could keep in mind while selecting the live playout;

Supporting various formats of live sources

The playout should be able to support various live sources like direct satellite feed/ HLS/RTMP. Can it process RAW feeds from video source and convert and transcode the feed to various outputs like 4K UHD, HD & SD? Also gone are the days when broadcasters used separate platforms for live streaming and on-demand content. The playout should be able to support both live and on-demand videos simultaneously on a single hybrid platform. A cloud playout helps not only in easy content ingest but also in recording and storing all on cloud, ensuring readiness for future re-runs etc

Flexibility and simplicity of the playout

The playout should seamlessly integrate with third-party systems to create a cohesive workflow. Support 24/7 remote monitoring giving you the complete control and accommodate last minute asset uploads, real-time playlist changes, graphics insertion etc.

Graphics insertion capabilities

Capabilities to insert real-time advanced dynamic graphics, static/animated logos and bugs, multi-layer full screen graphics, count down timers, ticker/lower thirds overlay, with dynamic social media integration is important for user engagement.

Security and Reliability

While a cloud playout is simple and provides high degree of automation and transparency, it is important to keep your role/permissions and access levels in place, and have built-in redundancy to avoid outages.

Live MCR

An MCR that uses the cloud-native web UI as backend, can be easily accessed by the TV networks. This way, the broadcaster can easily find out the exact status of playout, what’s being played out, and how effective is the management of live sporting event by the MCR team. Last, but not the least, the Live MCR controls on the playout interface should simplify abrupt transitions from live to ad-breaks to augment monetization opportunities. Ability to do this remotely can further channelize business innovation as it can allow TV networks to collaborate with the best in sports, anywhere in the world.

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