If you’re a fan of live entertainment -- and most of us are in some form, whether it’s sports or theater – then the past few years were hard to bear. Live event venues were dark, and attending pro and college sports were put on hold or discouraged. But two positive changes resulted as we all turned to the Internet to find the joy of social interaction and shared entertainment.
The public internet provided a relatively low-cost and easy-to-use medium for gaining exposure and reaching new audiences for events of all sizes. And the technology required to bring these events to new audiences, most notably IP video streaming, steadily advanced to the point of reliability and security to rival traditional broadcast television.
This convergence of market dynamics has led to XL8’s most recent partnership: integrating our LiveSubs AI-powered translation engine with Zixi’s IP streaming technologies to support live events with real-time subtitles generated “on the fly” from source languages into more than 70 global language pairs.
Changing habits, changing expectations
While we’re all used to watching content online, consumer expectations have risen from accepting “good enough” quality to now demanding the highest quality, especially as they watch on higher-quality home A/V equipment. Delayed start times, pixelated images from low-resolution content, service drops, and connection failures will all lead to online experiential disasters, especially if an organization is looking to attract larger audiences and potentially lucrative sponsorships.
Video delivery solutions must be reliable enough to reach their intended destinations and meet the expectations of all parties. This makes connectivity and network capacity incredibly important for the success of an online event. Low latency, reliability, and security will only help to legitimize online content delivery and provide the stable infrastructure and bandwidth required for broadcast-quality video feeds.
That’s the content delivery part that Zixi is enabling.
Enhancing the global reach of that content is XL8’s contribution. With global online viewing bringing the world closer together, language barriers are an inevitable challenge, as more people worldwide expect content to be localized not only for their country but for their region.
The integration of XL8’s AI-powered machine translation and LiveSubs technology with Zixi means subtitles for broadcasts and live streams can be created and ingested in real-time with no additional conversion points required.
That’s a critical factor for achieving the latency needed if online viewing ever hopes to rival broadcast as a mainstream platform for large global audiences. Customers using XL8’s LiveSubs can accept and broadcast streams from Zixi-enabled live sources to Zixi Broadcaster target destinations, allowing them to deliver streams at ultra-low latencies with greater bandwidth efficiencies - safely and securely.
Zixi customers can pass an existing Zixi stream to XL8 where its LiveSubs engine will generate live subtitle streams for new and existing markets. At the same time, they can make their content library work for them, monetizing titles and giving them new life in markets where the source language is not common.
The integration gives users complete control over the subtitling of an event, as content input and output are all handled within the XL8 platform. Users can set the duration of their event to any time frame needed, as well as customize the subtitling to specific requirements, such as color or font.
The entire process is fueled by XL8’s engines, which work seamlessly with HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), and several protocols used for professional-grade online experiences.
Users can easily connect any Zixi Broadcaster output to their XL8 account, and translated streams are fed back to Zixi Broadcaster for processing and distribution. Now, XL8 customers have access to the performance, efficiency, security, and reliability that the Zixi Software Defined Video Platform (SDVP) enables. Further, the integration of XL8’s media processing engine with Zixi unlocks a range of powerful capabilities for the combined XL8 and Zixi user bases.
Bonded delivery allows users to combine disparate topologies including 5G, LTE, leased lines and unmanaged Internet, and to dynamically adjust for fluctuating bandwidth, network congestion, packet loss and latency differences. The lower bandwidth requirements resulting from this joint integration allows for “content aware” stream optimization, lower overhead dynamic error correction and “congestion aware” video routing.
Sequenced hitless failover offers an updated take on the SMPTE 2022-7 protocol, applying Zixi-optimized alignment algorithms to re-create a single coherent uninterrupted stream from multiple stream fragments.
The security concerns over using the public internet for content delivery are erased through a combination of end-to-end AES-256 content encryption, session establishment whitelisting and password protection, Zixi’s DTLS secure certificate validation and cipher protection.
Live-stream monitoring and quality of service is ensured through ongoing advanced monitoring technologies, including ePSNR/eVMAF scores, impairment detection, TR101-290 measurement, and a range of live and trending KPIs to help operations teams understand the health, quality and performance of live events and linear channels.
Not Just Technology …
The XL8 and Zixi integration has the potential to reimagine the worlds of live sports and news, enabling content owners to expand their reach to wider audiences and beyond their physical audience demographics. For example, football (not the American kind) is popular worldwide, except in North America. This integration could change that by bringing the sport to more viewers and giving them easy access to watch matches in their language of choice. The same holds true for other traditionally “lower-tier” sports that, while also popular, often don’t draw the type of crowds or sponsorships to warrant the expense of localizing the content.
Basically, it’s a low-risk, low-cost method of exploring the viability of entering a new content market.
There’s no question that live events are back; maybe changed, maybe reinvented, but definitely back. As the market continues to evolve, subtitling technologies like XL8’s LiveSubs engine will keep pace and draw in viewers from around the world.