November 15’s UEFA Euro 2012 Play-Off match between the Republic of Ireland and Estonia was the occasion of RTÉ Digital’s first live event to be delivered in HD to online audiences, writes David Davies.
RTÉ TWO coverage of the match was streamed live in HD on RTÉ.ie and in SD on the broadcaster’s mobile website, m.rte.ie. The groundbreaking trial follows the May launch of RTÉ TWO HD on the SAORVIEW DTT platform, paving the way for HD coverage of Champions League Football, the GAA Championship and the Rugby World Cup.
The Republic of Ireland/Estonia match saw RTÉ Digital use recently commissioned HD-capable web stream encoding technology to create Adaptive Bitrate streams, which react to the users’ available bandwidth to deliver the best streaming experience possible for their connection.
Level 3 provided RTÉ Digital with its Internet Broadcast services, taking care of the end-to-end workflow across publishing, dynamic re-wrapping from HDS to HLS, security and distribution. The game was transmitted using HTTP over Level 3’s CDN to both Flash Players for HD and iOS for Mobile Streaming. Meanwhile, Level 3’s security measures including ensuring that content is available only in territories in which RTÉ Digital has content rights.
Jonathan Lundberg, IT infrastructure manager at RTÉ Digital, commented: “The availability of RTÉ TWO HD on SAORVIEW provides us with exciting opportunities to test how High Definition may work on the Internet in the future. We are always looking for new ways to improve the audience experience, and this match is a great opportunity to give the public a chance to see where this type of technology is taking us going forward. It also gives RTÉ an opportunity to evaluate the technologies involved, and assess how ready Irish Infrastructure is for this type of high quality broadcast. By taking advantage of the scalability of Level 3’s international Content Delivery Network, RTÉ will be able to give the audience a top quality experience, no matter how many people tune in.”
James Heard (pictured), regional president of the EMEA region for Level 3, added: “Not only is today’s consumer expecting to have access to the content they want wherever they are, and on any device, but they’re increasingly expecting the highest picture quality and experience as well – which means a CDN with global reach and scalability is critical. With Level 3’s CDN services, RTÉ will have the service performance, reliability, scalability and customer support that will enable them to meet their customers’ growing expectations for a first-class TV Anywhere experience.”