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Goodbye Periscope!

More than five years after being acquired by Twitter before it officially launched, Periscope is shutting down. Twitter made the announcement in a blog post saying the high cost of operating Periscope and declining usage are the main reasons for fading out the service. In recent weeks most of Periscope live stream functionalities were added to Twitter as features, and streams created by Periscope that were shared on Twitter will continue to be available for replay. Users can also download an archive their data and content before Periscope goes off the app store in March or earlier. Image: The announcement visitors see on Videolinq is working with Twitter to replace Periscope with Twitter live streaming. We plan to offer Twitter live streaming capabilities to our customers soon. Stay tuned for more news! Like what you read and are you interested to try Videolinq? Open a 7-Day FREE trial account. No credit card needed. #Twitter #TwitterLive #Periscope #LiveStreaming

Why is My Live Stream Buffering?

Live video production is complicated, especially when you use tools that need adjustments. When you live stream from the Instagram App on your phone the result is a perfect stream. Why? Because the IG mobile App was designed to work with presets, tested on cellular networks, and delivers to Instagram the correct settings it expects. In comparison, you download OBS or another software tool, start using a hardware encoder you just purchased, and suddenly when you connect to Videolinq the stream looks so bad! We don't want you to blame Videolinq and this is why we will share with you few tips how to fine-tune a broadcast and create a beautiful crispy clear stream. Source, Source, Source In the video industry we use the term "garbage in, garbage out" - meaning bad video we receive is the same bad video we will send out to a player or to a social media platform. To avoid that take in consideration the following guidelines - Camera and Lights: Use a high-definition camera, placed on a tripod. If you use a smartphone hold it horizontally not vertically, and keep movements to minimum. Shaky vertical view will produce poor results. Be conscious of light settings. The subject you shoot must be visible, avoid "burning" the face, and give the background proper light to help show the entire environment. Clothes and Patterns: A camera captures average of 25-50 MBps bitrate when a live stream is broadcasted at 1 - 4 MBps. The natural compression of the stream is done by the "encoding" process of your smartphone or encoder. To help the encoder deliver the best result avoid using busy patterns in clothing or backgrounds. For example: a pock dot shirt will focus the encoder on the little dots and make the presenter face blurry. Showing trees in the background will focus the encoder on the moving leaves instead of the person taking to the camera. Aspect Ratio: Use the 16:9 aspect ratio instead of any alternative. Using other options will show black bars on top, below, or in both sides of the video in the player. Resolution and Bitrate: Plan to broadcast at least a 720p resolution (1280x720 pix) video, encoded with the H.264/AAC codecs at 4 MBps. Lower resolution or bitrate may not look good in the eyes of an average viewer. Use Keyframes: This article by IBM explains the importance of keyframes. Using keyframes in video is extremely important for the quality of the stream. To keep it simple, we recommend sending encoded video with 1 or 2 keyframes per second. These extra frames will help lost frames in transit and improve video delivery and playback of video we send to players or to other streaming services and social media platforms. Files as Source: We wrote a detailed article explaining how to prepare files and use them as source for live broadcast. Follow the steps we recommend to prepare recorded files, and you will see a difference in performance. No Busy Encoder Please: You paid attention to all items and made sure to prepare your production by the book, but when you finally begin the broadcast, your computer runs hot, the fan kicks in, and your live video is now a slide-show! Customers often think their computer can make magic. Truth is that it can't. To stream live HD video an Intel i7 CPU with 16 GB RAM is a minimum requirement. Close all programs and monitor your computer performance. A over heated or resource intense computer will produce poor live streams. Network Connectivity Live streaming to the internet (and to Videolinq) requires high capacity upload speed. Most internet service providers give plenty of "download" speed for multiple people in the same house to watch Netflix, but the "upload" speed is often limited. Many companies block output video from their corporate network for security reasons. A good way to find your location real output capacity is to run a speed test. Speed test services use the HTTP protocol. When you stream to Videolinq you use the RTMP protocol. To be safe, take the "upload" speed test result, divide in 4, and compare it to the RTMP bitrate you plan to use. If the "upload" result was 10 MBps - you can stream up to 2.5 MBps. Last, connect to an Ethernet cable, not to a Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi connections are not stable and may drop your connection and reconnect during the broadcast. Avoid shared public networks such as a McDonalds or public-library Wi-fi. Live broadcasting requires dedicated lines when possible. Regional Entry Points To avoid many "computer hops" between your computer or media encoder to Videolinq network we operate multiple-entry points in various regions. When preparing a channel video source look for the dropdown menu and select the nearest point to your location. Selecting a closed-by regional entry point to Videolinq will help reduce computer hops and further connectivity to 3rd party streaming services or social media platforms. Troubleshooting The tips listed in this article helped produce better quality live streams for 95% of customers we spoke to. Despite all efforts our customers make, sometimes a live stream will have technical challenges. To help us help you, if you followed all the steps we recommend and still have a problem - submit a support ticket through the help desk including screenshots and as many details as possible. #livestreaming #tipsandtricks #troubleshoot #badstream

Demystifying Facebook Crossposting

Crossposting live videos on Facebook is a simple way to use videos across multiple Pages and Groups. For an unknown reason most streamers that want to send their broadcast to multiple pages and groups on Facebook think they need 1 stream to every destination. This article will explain in simple steps how to create Facebook crossposting with a live stream. We are using as an example the Videolinq platform, but feel free to apply this workflow to any other streaming service provider that can broadcast with the Facebook Live API. First, you'll need to establish a crossposting relationship with another Page or Group unless you already have an admin or editor role on that Page or Group. Remember that crossposting live video only works when you create a live stream with the Facebook Live API. If you use Videolinq follow Step 1 to create a new destination using the "Login to Facebook" option as described in this article. Not using Videolinq? authenticate with your Facebook credentials on your live streaming service provider platform, send the live video to your timeline, and skip to Step 2. Step 1 Create a Videolinq Destination and select the "Login to Facebook" option. Select your timeline as destination for the live stream. Begin broadcasting on the channel and send live video to the destination. Step 2 Login to Facebook with the same credentials you used to connect your streaming service provider platform to Facebook. Find the live stream on your timeline and click the upper right dots ... as shown below. This will expand the selection. Click on "Edit Live Video". Step 3 The Facebook Studio console will open. Look for the lower part of the page and click the "Share" button. Step 4 You will be prompt to select groups you want the video to be posted on. The list of groups shown represents groups you administer, or groups you have an "Editor role" on. Select targets groups and click "Share". Step 5 Live video from your broadcast will appear on the groups you shared the post with. When the broadcast ends, the live video will convert to video-on-demand (VOD) and becomes available on the same post. This is it. It wasn't so hard, and anyone can do this, even if they stream from their computer with OBS! Remember when streaming to public groups you don't manage, you must ask the group administrator permission to live stream to that group. Private groups only allow live streams created by the group administrator. In summary, here are few Pro's and Con's to help consider before you broadcast to Facebook and use the crossposting feature: PRO'S Live video viewer count will appear on all crossposts. Video metrics such as views will roll up to the original broadcast - you can see which Page is driving the most views. You can build relationships with Pages that produce high-quality content. CON'S Comments and reactions from your Page's live video won't appear in the other Page's crossposted broadcast, and viewers can't see where the original live video is coming from. You will have to keep an eye out for comments and questions that may appear on other Pages and Groups. Only live videos created via the Live API are eligible for live crossposting, and live video from a mobile device can't be crossposted. Tips & Tricks: In a concrete step towards integrating its family of apps, Facebook has introduced a consumer-centric portal called "Accounts Center" that allows users to post content across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger as well as manage payment options at one place. Found in the Settings section of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, the "Accounts Center" aims to give users the ability to manage their connected experiences across Facebook-owned apps, like ‘Single Sign On’ and Facebook Pay (to arrive later this year). This feaure is available at the moment only for recorded files, but is expected to expand into live broadcasts. Like what you read and are interested to try Videolinq to crosspost video on Facebook? Open a 7-Day FREE trial account. No credit card needed. #FacebookLive #FacebookCrossposting #FacebookGroups #LiveStreaming

Black Friday 2020 Sale

Looking to both live streaming to multiple social media platforms at the same time, and save money? Now is the time to act. Take advantage of our one-time per year Black Friday special sale and get 50% list price deals on all hosting plans when you order the plan for 12 months * To get this sweet deal discount, do the following between November 27 - 30: Go to Select the Starter, Professional, or Enterprise plan and click "Order". Select the 12 months (annual) option and checkout. Scroll down the page and enter coupon code # 20DS50FF. The total price due will be discounted in 50%. Complete your purchase and checkout. * Black Friday discount deal is only valid for new or returning customers. Live streaming to multiple social media platforms at 50% off. Don't miss our BLACK FRIDAY SALE between November 27-30! #BlackFriday2020 #socialmediavideo #livestreaming #BlackFridayDeals #FlattenTheCurve #marketing #digitalmarketing #streaming #video

How to Embed Facebook Live in a Website

Facebook added a new cool feature to embed a live Facebook streams outside Facebook on a website. Creating players of a live stream is new in Facebook, but widely used by YouTube and other social media platforms. It is not clear at this time if Facebook plans to insert advertising like YouTube does to these players. To stream from Videolinq to Facebook and embed the Facebook player on your website do the following: Step 1: Login to the Videolinq media dashboard and create a new channel. Add Facebook as a destination using the Facebook Manual connection mode. When you use the Facebook login option, you lose the ability to get the embed player code. Step 2: Login to your Facebook account and create a live stream. In the Facebook Studio page find and copy the RTMP path and stream key to the Videolinq Facebook manual destination configuration page and save settings. We recommend using persistence stream settings to avoid the need to create new stream keys. Step 3: Go back to Facebook Studio and set the stream privacy to "Public" view on the left navigation bar. Step 4: In Facebook Studio expand "Settings" and enable "Embed live video". Click "Get Embed Code", copy and paste the player code to your website. Step 5: Start your broadcast on the Videolinq media dashboard. Start the Facebook destination. Confirm you see video in the Facebook preview player and click "Go Live". Video will show on your Facebook post, and in the embed Facebook player on your website. Updated November 16, 2020.

Real-Time Closed Captioning

Need to add real-time closed captioning to your live stream? Videolinq can help in just a few steps! Background: Videolinq is integrated with most hardware and software closed captioning publishing tools in the market. Through our partnership with leading closed captioning vendors we help traditional closed captioning systems send captions also to the video on the web. The service is widely used by traditional TV stations as well as new online broadcasters, businesses, churches, and schools. Step 1: If you do not have hardware closed captioning decoders skip this step and move to step 3. Customers with hardware closed captioning decoders have three ways to send closed captioning data to Videolinq – (a) Insert captions over SDI and use video encoders that support closed captioning over the SDI signal. (b) Send the captions data from the EEG encoding device to Videolinq (models 490-492). Contact EEG for instructions. (c) Extract the closed captioning data from the hardware encoder with a USB cable (EEG, Link Electronics, Evertz, or Norpak) to a Windows desktop application (Telestream CaptionMaker Live or Captions; EEG iCap; 1CapApp 1Fusion; Videolinq VLcap) and send data from the desktop application to Videolinq. Step 2: Videolinq also partners with closed captioning automation software companies. Voice Interaction is an enterprise solution to process speech to text. From the Voice Interaction dashboard select Videolinq as the target output. Use the closed captioning credentials provided in your Videolinq channel and send captions to your live video. Step 3: Many customers do not need to purchase expensive hardware or software. If they have a one-time event or only a few events per year, it makes sense to contact a Videolinq closed captioning service provider and contract them to capture audio from your event (via phone or online), and use their equipment to send closed captioning to your Videolinq live stream. Closed captioning service providers, or “stenograph operators” as they are called, will charge about $100-150/per hour, depends on how many hours you will need their service. Step 4: Regardless if you use hardware, software, or vendor services, you will need to point the closed captioning data to Videolinq. When you create a channel, look for the CC tab below the preview player. Copy the details we provide and use them to send closed captioning data to your Videolinq channel. For closed captioning data to be available in real-time on your live stream you must start your RTMP encoder first. Once captions are available you will see them on the preview player, and they will appear on the Player HLS path and broadcast with the video to target social media platforms and 3rd party CDN’s. Did you find this article helpful? Open a video trial account and stream live events to your website and to multiple social media platforms! #LiveStreaming #ClosedCaptioning #CaptioningProvider #Captions

How To Stream To YouTube?

Videolinq integration with YouTube will be ready soon. Until this is available, to stream to YouTube, and assuming you have permission to live stream to a YouTube channel - follow these steps: Step 1: Log in to YouTube and click on the "Go Live" icon (upper right side). This will open YouTube Studio. Step 2: Configure your stream with a name, description, category, and other settings. Step 3: Copy the primary RTMP path and stream key. Image: YouTube Live Studio page. Step 4: Create a new Videolinq destination (part of the "Quick Start" process or from inside a channel). Paste the YouTube RTMP path and stream key in the new destination and save settings. Step 5: Enable your video source (RTMP, webcam, or URL source). Start the YouTube destination. Push "Go Live". The video will show in the Videolinq player (if you created one), and in the YouTube Studio console. Push "Go Live" on the (upper right side). The video will stream to your channel. IMPORTANT: If you are sending video with closed captioning, enable the closed captioning feature on YouTube and select the Embed 608/708 option (see image right lower corner). Did you find this article helpful? Open a video trial account and start streaming to multiple social media platforms! #YOUTUBE #LIVESTREAMING #YOUTUBEDIRECT #SOCIALMEDIA

Meeting the Challenges of Creating and Distributing Video Content during a Pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated streaming and blurred lines as OTT services, broadcasters, CEOs, large corporations, universities, business owners transmit content remotely. While circumstances vary, the challenges faced are the same: producing and distributing captivating content efficiently and with quality suitable for traditional and emerging platforms including social media. This webinar will share insights on key aspects of video streaming, including cloud encoding, orchestration of cloud tools, the evolution of video to social media platforms, and the ability to reduce bitrates while keeping the viewer experience high. Moderator: Jan Ozer Leading expert on H.264 encoding, Author, Blogger, Founder of The Streaming Learning Center Panelist: Zohar Babin Executive Vice President of Platform and Growth at Kaltura Panelist: Eyal Menin Serial Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Videolinq Panelist: Carlos Hernandez Chief Revenue Officer SSIMWAVE The webinar was recorded October 1st, 2020. Click here to watch a recording. #connectechasia #broadcastingasia #communicasia #ssimwave #kaltura #janozer #pandemic #flattenthecurve

Virtual ConnecTechAsia 2020

Videolinq is proud to be part of the Ontario Export Business Mission to ConnecTechAsia between September 29 - October 1. During this virtual event we will be meeting with potential clients and partners throughout South Asia and attend web seminars including market briefings and presentations by leading industry players and stakeholders focused on key opportunities in the broadcast technology sector in markets across the region. Image: ConnecTechAsia promotional banner ConnecTechAsia, the brand new umbrella event encompassing CommunicAsia, BroadcastAsia and the new NXTAsia, is where technology, ideas and business converge. ConnecTechAsia is Asia’s only B2B platform that covers the entire spectrum of communication, broadcast, and enterprise technology and services catering to the needs of the industry in Asia and beyond, providing the technological innovation and thought-leadership that will help pave the way towards a brighter and more connected world. CommunicAsia brings together Informa’s 5G Asia, Broadband Asia, Telco AI Asia and Edge Asia shows creating a networking and insights power-event catering for the region’s telecoms ecosystem. Featuring 130+ legendary speakers from across the region who will share insights, experiences and vision for new service offerings, monetization opportunities and technology evolution, as well as an interactive exhibition allowing you to experience the technology and F2F time with buyers and innovative partners. At the BroadcastAsia event in Singapore, industry leaders present the newest and most innovative technologies for film, television and digital advertising. In addition to the exhibition there is also a conference where speakers inform visitors on the developments in the industry. Visitors have the opportunity to inform themselves about products on the one hand and to get news about the exhibition themes on the other. Videolinq will be live streaming two presentations during this event: Real-Time Closed Captioning on Live Video (September 29th at 5:30 AM GMT) This 30 minute presentation will demonstrate how Videolinq accepts closed captioning data inserted by 3rd party partner systems like EEG Falcon, 1CapApp, or Telestream CaptionMaker, sync it with a live stream, and distributed live video with captions to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. How to Stream to Multiple Social Media Platforms (September 30th at 4:00 AM GMT) A 30 minute live presentation showing how to use the Videolinq platform to source video from a web camera, a recorded file, or an RTMP encoder, and live stream the same video to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, and your own website. Recording of these live presentations will be available on the Videolinq ConnecTechAsia booth during the event. Register to attend this virtual event from the comfort of your home. To experience first-hand the new Videolinq platform open a trial account. #CONNECTECHASIA #BROADCASTINGASIA #COMMUNICASIA #STREAMINGMEDIA #LIVESTREAMING #ONTARIOEXPORT #COVID19 #FLATTENTHECURVE

IBC 2020 Virtual Alternative

The annual in-person popular IBC Amsterdam 2020 trade conference for online and traditional broadcasters is not taking place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other trade shows IBC opt instead to a substituted virtual platform that will be available online in early September. Videolinq is proud to part of the Ontario Virtual Broadcasting Technology Export Business Mission to Europe in September 14-17. During this virtual event we will be meeting with potential clients and partners throughout Europe and attend web seminars including market briefings and presentations by leading industry players and stakeholders focused on key opportunities in the broadcast technology sector in markets across Europe. Image: IBC Show 2019 in Amsterdam. Joining the Ontario digital broadcasting technology mission represents an excellent opportunity for Videolinq to showcase our new released media platforms version 3.0 to prospective customers interested in solutions related to content delivery, production, and media distribution related technologies. To experience first-hand the new Videolinq platform open a trial account. #IBCSHOW #STREAMINGMEDIA #LIVESTREAMING #ONTARIOEXPORT #COVID19 #FLATTENTHECURVE

Lockdown Live Streaming Numbers are Huge

Nobody can dispute that we are living in unprecedented times. Verified data began coming from various streaming platforms. No doubt, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the lockdowns started the numbers of audience consuming live-streams are huge. We are focused here on user generated content, not traditional entertainment paid subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon, or Disney+. While the industry in general see a 99% increase year to year, and there were gains across the board, they weren’t distributed evenly. Twitch - the biggest live-streaming platform - saw the most growth in terms of viewable hours, with its hours watched jumping 50 percent between March and April and a full 101 percent year over year. Twitch average now 1.645 billion hours watched per month. Another big winner was Facebook Gaming, which saw 72 percent growth between March and April and a massive 238 percent jump in growth over last year. YouTube Gaming was up by 14 percent from March to April and up by 65 percent year over year. Mixer grew by 15 percent over those same months and 0.2 percent year over year. Mixer’s growth did not help much, and Microsoft officially closed down the service in July and migrated players and audience to Facebook Gaming. The industry’s growth, then, mostly comes from Twitch and YouTube, which are still the two biggest players in the space. Image: Statista chart shows Twitch viewers during lockdown. Twitch is trying to grow its non-gamer streams. The biggest growth came from the influx of musicians to Twitch. The Music & Performing Arts on Twitch saw a stunning growth of 524% in March-May, year over year, because so many acts joined the site to mitigate the impact of lost touring revenue due to the pandemic. Many recording artists like John Legend and James Bay, cancelled tours and were unable to release new albums the way it was done before the pandemic. Taylor Swift's 8th album "Folklore" got worlds attention and an unprecedented number of downloads during its first day of release. They have used live streaming as a method to connect directly with fans over YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Image: Data showing viewership increase on Twitch music category during lockdown. Moving forward, as companies rethink work from home policies, and schools accommodate social distancing safety rules, consumers are expected to have more leisure time, and to consume more live streaming. This trend will drive content creators to increase production and tailor their message to attract and capture the attention of online viewers. What remains to be seen, of course, is whether these numbers will stick in the next months, as economies reopen, kids are back to school, and adults return to work, remotely or in brick and mortal offices. These numbers show just how big live-streaming can be when the industry isn’t competing with real life for audience attention. Did you find this article helpful? Open a video trial account and start streaming to multiple social media platforms! #COVID19 #FLATTENTHECURVE #LIVESTREAMING #LOCKDOWN #VIDEOSTATISTICS

School Board Debate Re-Opening During Pandemic

With September approaching, school boards are struggling with the difficult decisions around when and how to open schools. Making these decisions involves numerous meetings with large numbers of stakeholders. Given the inability to have meetings in person, many school boards have turned to live streaming instead. The Hillsborough School Board in Tampa, Florida, recently used Videolinq to stream a key board meeting to over 13000 viewers through its websites as well as to followers on Facebook Live and YouTube Live. Image: Hillsborough School Board broadcast July 23rd, 2020. “We like that we only have to produce one stream and Videolinq distributes it across these four platforms with closed captioning,” said Scott Maiden, CEO of the Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network who also provides video production services to the Hillsborough school district. Because of Videolinq’s scalability, Maiden added that “Since we typically have thousands of viewers, Videolinq is essential to handle the load along with its superior technology and great support.” While raising the number of platforms can increase complexity and cost, the board considers it worth the cost when compared to the corresponding improved attendance and transparency. Including the recent board meeting, the group has now done two board workshops and two town halls this way in concert with Videolinq. Viewership has been further increased through simulcasts on cable TV. The Hillsborough School Board provides K-12 educational services through 250 schools to over 200,000 students in West Central Florida with a budget of over $3 billion. Hillsborough, like other Florida boards, is dealing with significant pandemic challenges currently as the state now has one of the highest COVID-19 counts in the country. Medical professionals are further warning about the risks of reopening without proper measures. In contrast, politicians are under pressure to reopen schools and businesses. School boards across the state are working to balance these issues while simultaneously providing transparency to all constituents. Did you find this article helpful? Open a video trial account and start streaming to multiple social media platforms! #COVID19 #FLATTENTHECURVE #LIVESTREAMING

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