What to Look for in a Broadcast Encoder for Live Remote Interviews
When watching a live remote broadcast, whether it’s an interview with an athlete at the Olympics, a political figure, or a celebrity, we’ve come to expect a seamless viewing experience. However, many of us are simply unaware of the operational efforts and expense it takes behind the scenes to deliver a professional live remote broadcast interview. With such a high volume of news content and demand for live coverage that emerges daily, it’s critical for broadcasters to get expert opinions and commentary on the air as quickly and conveniently as possible and a good video encoder can help make that happen.
We’ve put together 3 essential features to look for when deciding on a broadcast video encoder for live remote interviews.
Low Latency Video Encoding
One of the most fundamental features required for remote interviews is low latency. Video latency refers to the amount of time it takes for a video signal to be transmitted from one place to another, sometimes also referred to as delay. Delay can completely ruin exchanges between even the most expert broadcast professionals and can be unworkable for untrained participants. Want to know how badly delay can affect an interview? Watch this funny clip from a BBC One sketch on satellite delay.
Satellite is a major contributor to video delay. As broadcasters move from satellite to low-cost internet connections, they need to minimize any delays introduced by the encoder or the network. By combining low latency encoding with stream delivery optimized to minimize delay, you can ensure that your remote interviews are as fluid and compelling as the interviews you shoot in the studio.
Low latency video encoding is a great way to achieve this. There are a number of broadcast encoders that address this challenge, like Haivision’s Makito X4 video encoder, one of the lowest latency video encoders available. And, when paired with the SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) protocol, originally developed and open-sourced by Haivision, broadcasters are able to get pristine video streams over any network, with minimal delays. This ultra low latency allows remote interviews to have more emotion and genuine interaction.
Security and Reliability
Optimized streaming performance and high-quality video are essential in broadcasting – especially when faced with unreliable internet connections. This is why we recommend using the SRT protocol to ensure that your high quality video content will continuously perform over any network. As broadcasters increasingly turn to the public internet for low-cost, convenient, and readily available connections, they risk severe packet loss typical of public internet connections. To combat this, the SRT protocol employs automatic repeat request (ARQ) to ensure that all packets are received, without overwhelming the available bandwidth.
SRT also applies both military-grade encryption to prevent unauthorized viewing or copying of the content and techniques to easily overcome the firewalls of remote interview locations. AES encryption is an important feature that helps to keep SRT streams secure, but it is only one part of a larger security strategy. SRT also ensures that firewall traversal is easy by using a caller/listener handshake concept. This allows for the passage of real-time video streams within secured networks.
Unpredicted changes in network conditions can completely ruin a broadcast with video artifacts, and, at worst an encoded stream might not make it to its destination and video will be lost completely. It is important that your video encoder can adapt to network conditions to ensure that video streaming will not fail under any circumstances. This is why we provide Network Adaptive Encoding on our video encoders, allowing fluctuations in the available bandwidth to be detected and the ability to dynamically adjust the video bitrate accordingly, assuring optimal stream delivery.
Network Adaptive Encoding leverages the power and intelligence of the SRT protocol to gain insight into the health of the network. By constantly assessing metrics such as target latency, send buffer, packet transmission and round-trip time, changes in the network capacity are detected and relayed to the encoding engine. If the bandwidth drops below levels that can support the preset output bandwidth, the bitrate is reduced to levels that will assure the best video is transmitted. If the SRT protocol detects that bandwidth capacity is restored, the encoding engine will increase the video bitrate to maximize video quality.
Broadcast with Confidence
As a broadcaster, you want to ensure that your remote interviews keep your viewers informed and engaged. From Fox News, Al Jazeera, Sky News, to NBC Sports and Riot Games, many of the world’s leading broadcasters trust and rely on Haivision’s video streaming and encoding solutions for 24/7 operation, high quality, low latency contribution and distribution workflows.
Need ultra low latency streaming?
Learn how the Makito X4 can encode and stream HEVC and H.264 with very low latency for interactive video applications such as live interviews as well as field contribution, backhaul, and return feed confidence monitoring.