NetOn.Live is a company that has created a full IP software solution that makes flexible, scalable, cost-effective, and efficient live broadcast a reality. LiveOS, which won the Remote Production category at the 2022 NAB Show Product of the Year Awards, is a ground-breaking modular software platform for live and recorded media production.
It connects all studios, remote locations, on-premise and remote control rooms to a private cloud of video and audio processing power in the data center – enabling truly flexible local, remote, and decentralized production.
We spoke with Michel De Wolf, CEO and Founder, NetOn.Live about the impact LiveOS could have on broadcast operations.
PH: What is the advantage of using LiveOS in a multi-location set up? How do you sync all your cameras and other sources like playback and graphics?
Michel De Wolf: LfiveOS operators can sit anywhere in the world, in multiple locations, working simultaneously on the same live production through the platform’s web-based UI. If you have Internet access and a web browser at your disposal, then you can work through LiveOS.
This offers enormous flexibility on where crews are located, saving both time, expense and offering a better work/life balance. Even greater flexibility is achieved by the ability to connect multiple studio floors to the same LiveOS private cloud and run simultaneous productions. The platform components (Playlists, Video mixers, Graphics, Slomo etc.) and media streams (SMPTE 2110, SDI, SRT, NDI) are linked to a PTP clock, which means all functions are perfectly synced.
PH: On the website you show hardware switching and using software to switch shows. Is LiveOS agnostic? In other words, can you use it with any switcher and any available cameras?
Michel De Wolf: You can switch between sources using touch screens, a mouse, or external hardware controllers. The operator decides which tool works best for him/her. The actual video switching takes place within the LiveOS platform. Most popular PTZ and Studio cameras can be controlled through the LiveOS UI.
PH: Is LiveOS a windows-based platform? Can you run it off a Mac platform?
Michel De Wolf: The platform is Linux based. The clients can be PC or Macs, as long as they have an Internet connection and a web browser.
PH: Can you operate LiveOS through a pre-existing data center or do you have to use the NetOn.Live servers?
Michel De Wolf: LiveOS can either be operated through your data center by means of your servers. Today, the LiveOS platform is a private cloud solution comprised of COTS (Common of the shelf) servers and a SMPTE 2110 video over IP network. Soon we will be releasing a public cloud-based version. We strongly believe in a hybrid cloud platform, where your mainstream day-to-day shows are running on your own private cloud platform, while you can scale up in the public cloud to cover the peak production periods.
PH: Where does the LiveOS software and hardware sit in the workflow? Does each location have to have a LiveOS box or just some way to get the signal out?
Michel De Wolf: The system architecture is flexible, meaning your hardware could be sitting anywhere in the world. With the web-based UI, you can access your platform from wherever you are located. Contribution of the cameras can happen over dark fiber or over the public internet (E.G., using SRT). Having this flexibility over operations, processing and contribution allows you to organize your work in ways that were not previously possible and to completely rethink your workflows.
PH: What kind of security is built in? How does the end-user not get hacked?
Michel De Wolf: LiveOS is in full control of the video over IP network and its user administration. As LiveOS is an IT solution we can use available best practices in terms of security (VPN, Https, Encrypted API calls, User administration etc.)
PH: REMI can be notoriously difficult to ramp up. How do you reassure new users that LiveOS is going to work? What kind of tech support do you offer?
Michel De Wolf: NetOn.Live offers implementation services like configuration and testing, project management, production design, custom software development, operational and technical training and remote, as well as onsite, support. The yearly assurance contract gives the customers access to the most recent software releases to ensure your LiveOS system is always fresh.
PH: There are a lot of ways to move data. SDI, NDI, SRT. Which is LiveOS best set up technically to deal with and why?
Michel De Wolf: LiveOS is a natively SMPTE 2110 uncompressed platform. SDI sources and outputs will be translated to and from SMPTE 2110 by means of IP gateways. LiveOS also supports NDI as well as SRT in and out.
PH: How does LiveOS back up signal flow? If I am doing the World Cup, it has to be perfect with no dropped frames.
Michel De Wolf: The platform can be designed to be as redundant as your budget permits you to be. For example, mission critical productions can have doubled recorders/players running on separate servers. Additional severs can be added to enable failover in case of issues. SMPTE 2022-7 is supported in the network. Running one LiveOS platform from two or more data centers is also supported.
PH: If I have a client that wants to get into REMI, why is LiveOS technically instead of a remote truck that I know is going to work every time?
Michel De Wolf: Up to now OB vans have surely proven their reliability and application. We believe that current technology enables different approaches, in which onsite presence can be limited to drastically more compact setups and teams. The centralized control center can be reused for multiple productions. This lowers the production cost, enabling it to be used for content productions for whom OB rental wasn’t a viable business model before. LiveOS targets the professional content production market and broadcasting industry. Robustness and 24/7 availability are an integral and very important aspect of LiveOS.
PH: Is there anything else we should know about LIveOS?
Michel De Wolf: If your agenda allows, we would be happy to provide you a demonstration of LiveOS which would help to explain the functionalities and the benefits that they can open for broadcasters.