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Posts Categorised: Streaming

Easy fast setup is a selling point

Ahead of the InfoComm show in Las Vegas next month, Barix is highlighting an expanded suite of low-cost, multi-site audio contribution and streaming solutions.

While some of the announcement is focused on retailers, the discussion also pertains to temporary live internet radio services for houses of worship, corporate and other specialty “broadcast” applications.

Barix will demonstrate Instreamer ICE and Retail Player. It said it is pursuing a “unified strategy across its music streaming solutions” to provide users with new options to serve larger audiences.

“InfoComm marks the global debut of Instreamer ICE , which combines the bandwidth efficiency of AAC+ encoding with streamlined integration, thanks to a built-in Icecast server that supports up to 50 simultaneous listeners,” the company said. It’s suitable for specialized online broadcasters. “The enhanced compression of AAC+ encoding allows end users to deliver the same audio quality as mp3 at half the bandwidth, or double the audio quality using the same bandwidth.”

It said Instreamer ICE is believed to be the first product of this nature to combine an Icecast server with the encoding platform.

“This removes the need to download and configure an Icecast server on a separate machine, a time-consuming and often complex process, that enables listeners to receive live streams on their connected devices.” The integrated solution enables setup times of less than five minutes, Barix said.

A partner product, Barix’s Retail Player , combines hardware receivers with a web-based management portal for large-scale retail, hospitality and corporate music applications. Instreamer ICE customers can scale beyond 50 streams with Retail Player, it said. “The combined solution is ideal for private internet radio networks, as well as for businesses that previously turned to less reliable, consumer-grade players due to budget restrictions.”

Listeners can consume live streams on mobiles, laptops and connected devices while Retail Player provides a robust, network-configurable device with automatic playout for business applications.

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Why should broadcasters care? A consumer identity crisis is afoot

NEW YORK — Chocolate or vanilla?

A new report by behavioral marketing platform SmarterHQ shows that consumers are evenly divided over Amazon Alexa- and Google Assistant-infused smart devices.

According to the survey , which explored the omnichannel shopping habits of 1,000 adults, Alexa barely edges out Google Home products in preference and usage (44.4 % to 43.7%), with Apple HomePod coming in a distant third at 11.9%.

Perhaps more remarkable: American households now have an average of two Internet-accessible devices, while a startling 53% of consumers own more than three. What’s more, the likelihood of ownership increases with the number of kids at home; for example, families with three or more children are 35% more likely to have home assistants, while those with fewer offspring resort to mobile sites and apps for their online needs.

But digital assistants aside, the big takeaway from the SmarterHQ study is that the multitude of in-store and online shopping options has created something of a “consumer identity crisis” for retailers, making it extremely difficult to attract and maintain brand loyalty.

“Consumers view all the channels they shop on — online, in-store, through social media, or via assistant home devices — as a single point-of-contact with a brand, yet many retailers still treat these channels as disparate systems that aren’t connected,” said CEO Michael Osborne. “This puts pressure on marketers to make the brand experience a consistent one, no matter the channel. Without a marketing strategy that includes customer identity resolution, brands risk losing buyers to the more targeted and personalized campaigns of their competitors.”

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Shopping online doesn’t necessarily mean purchasing online. People prefer omnichannel fulfilment, which pairs the convenience of shopping online with purchasing in-store. In fact, fully 90% of respondents have browsed online and purchased in-store (“web-rooming”), turning the old showrooming fear on its ear.
  • Shop online, return in-store. The majority of online shoppers (55%) prefer bringing their returns to a store vs. mailing them back (45%), although returning in-store decreases as age increases.
  • Stay-at-home parents are itching for the strip mall. Eighty percent of stay-at-home parents prefer to shop in-store, if only to get out of the house.
  • Immediacy of shopping in-store is key. Among brick-and-mortar shoppers, another 80% said they prefer the in-store experience because they can leave with the product in hand that day. 

Read the full article at TWICE.

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The streamer will pay $145M for the programmatic ad company

OAKLAND, Calif. — Pandora made news today when it announced that it is acquiring AdsWizz.

Founded in 2008, San Mateo, Calif.-based AdsWizz is focused on digital audio advertising, with programmatic “self-serve” ad-buying a core part of the platform, which “explains its appeal to a company like Pandora,” according to venturebeat.com .

Pandora is paying $145 million for AdsWizz, “at least” 50% of which will be paid in cash, with the remainder payable in cash or stock. The company said advertisers will eventually be able access AdsWizz’s marketplace through Pandora and other audio publishers, meaning that Pandora is “keeping AdsWizz alive for potential rivals to use,” according to the same article.

Pandora’s Q4 2017 financials indicate that revenue was up seven percent year-over-year, while its subscribers grew by 25% over the previous year. That news pushed its stock up marginally, but its share price of $5 is still down dramatically from its 2014 peak of $37.

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In Austria, radio’s future may not only include digital terrestrial broadcasting

LOS ANGELES — Often we cover digital radio and 5G as separate topics. This time, however, we have an opportunity to cover both in the same article. 

Let’s turn our attention towards Austria, where the new federal government “in addition to the clear commitment to the digitization of terrestrial broadcasting, also anchors the goal of making Austria one of the leading countries in 5G expansion,” according to this article in leadersnet.at

Several questions are posed:

  • What potential does 5G offer for the classic medium of radio?
  • What features can this technology fulfill?
  • Which new program formats and business models are possible?
  • What investments could be necessary as a result?

The Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP), Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ) and the Association Digital Radio Austria were invited to consider possible scenarios of technology 5G in the field of radio.

“The 5G standard could be a newly developed market in the terminal sector from 2025 onwards. However, many other applications are likely to rely on the bandwidth of 5G, so it is questionable whether 5G could succeed as an important digital transmission path for radio at all,” according to Reiner Müller, the Deputy Managing Director and Division Manager Technology / IT of the Bavarian State Center for New Media in Munich.

“The analog-terrestrial possibilities in the radio sector (FM) are qualitatively and quantitatively limited by the regulated market and the free access for the listeners,” according to Wolfgang Struber of the Digital Radio Austria Association, from the same article. “That’s why digital terrestrial is the way to bring radio into the digital future, complemented by the possibilities of the 5G standard, i.e., an unregulated market with restricted access for listeners.”

“For the future of the medium of radio, it is crucial that it is available on all platforms,” said Corinna Drumm, the VÖP managing director. “The commercially most important distribution path for them is VHF. In addition, IP-based distribution via streams, podcasts and more would become increasingly important. In addition, there will be digital terrestrial in the form of DAB +, which will be available in Austria from 2018. The rapid expansion of the DAB + network and rapid market penetration with DAB + terminals are critical for success.” According to Drumm the expansion of a high-performance 5G network is important, not only for the supply of the population with broadband Internet, but also with Austrian broadcasting services. “When auctioning future mobile radio frequency spectrum, the Republic must ensure through appropriate conditions that the mobile access to the streaming offers of Austrian broadcasters for the public and broadcasters is free,” said Drumm.

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Jay Krivanek most recently served as the senior product developer at Spacial Audio


PITTSBURGH — Live365’s parent company has named a vice president of engineering. Media Creek has tapped Jay Krivanek to lead product and engineering efforts, according to an announcement this week.

Krivanek most recently served as the senior product developer at Spacial Audio, a broadcast automation company that has been acquired by Triton Digital.

[Read: Live365.com Is Back With Open Sign Ups]

He also founded Radio Toolbox, a company providing statistics and analytic solutions for digital audio publishers.

Media Creek’s portfolio also includes EmpireStreaming.

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The company is asking for Special Temporary Authority to advance its understanding of 5G and network potential in the millimeter wave bands

STAMFORD, Conn. — Charter Communications is going ahead with more tests of fixed wireless in the 28 GHz band, in and around the Los Angeles area. The cable company is asking the FCC for Special Temporary Authority to advance its understanding of 5G technology and network potential in the millimeter wave bands, according to fiercewireless.com . The application lists Ericsson as the manufacturer of 25 units to be tested.

The company is asking for the STA for 180 days, starting at the end of March. The goal of the tests is to develop techniques and to gain a greater understanding of fixed wireless broadband systems in the millimeter-wave bands.

Charter is also seeking permission to conduct more tests to study coverage, capacity and propagation in the 3550-3700 MHz CBRS band. Their latest application calls for outdoor fixed wireless experiments in Lexington, Kentucky, using 19 different models of equipment, according to the same article. “Charter plans to continue testing in rural communities to investigate further how to expand the speeds and services it delivers,” the company said.

Charter has also shown its support to the FCC for the opening of the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use as soon as possible, noting the 5.9 GHz band’s size, location and capacity would be ideal for “next-gen” technologies.

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A panel of experts answered questions about voice-controlled tech during a CES event

LAS VEGAS — Smart speakers are increasingly common, but just how comfortable are consumers with voice controlled technologies?

In January, TWICE convened a panel of retail execs and an analyst to discuss this and other questions at CES. Their conclusions tended to be optimistic, but also acknowledged that users do not yet fully utilize Google Home or Amazon Alexa’s more advanced abilities — such as shopping by voice order.

Of course, this has a lot of implications for advertisers as they consider whether to shift ad dollars away from radio toward new delivery methods. Time will tell.

Read the full article at TWICE.

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ARES Interactive Media platform enables viewers to ask questions, participate in contests and be interviewed in real-time

MONTREUIL, France — MultiCAM Systems has integrated two-way interactivity into its video production systems, which include MultiCAM Radio and MultiCAM Studio.

[Exhibiting at NAB Show? Nominate a product here for Best of Show Award consideration .]

According to the company, using the ARES Interactive Media platform developed by MultiCAM Systems partner ARES Interactive Media, streaming media originators can now receive online comments from viewers in real time. These viewers can also ask the host questions as well as participate in online contests and polls during streaming events.

When integrated within the MultiCAM Radio automated visual radio system and MultiCAM Studio for local TV and PEG stations and live remotes, the ARES Interactive Media platform allows show producers to contact viewers during live video streams, and put them “on air” using the viewers’ own web cams. The platform can support an online video window of the host, plus windows of the viewers being interviewed.

[Related: “New Studio Interface Features on the Way From MultiCam “]

MultiCAM adds that the ARES Interactive Media platform further immerses viewers into the event by allowing webcasters to utilize them as production resources. For example, the ARES Interactive Media platform allows on-air hosts to poll audiences on their views during live broadcasts, compile those results automatically and deliver the results in seconds. In addition, says the firm, hosts can deliver a breaking news story by using the links supported by ARES Interactive Media to reach people in the affected area.

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With the proliferation of TV offerings available via the internet, the emphasis is on internet access

LOS ANGELES — Interesting how form follows function. It wasn’t long ago that cable TV companies began offering up internet access via DOCSIS (the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification). 

Now, with the proliferation of TV offerings available via the internet, the picture has completely turned over: The emphasis is on internet access. Who really needs cable TV? Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.

Atlantic Broadband, the nation’s ninth largest cable operator, recently announced the widespread availability of its Gigabit internet service known as GigaEdge (residential) and Pro GigaEdge (business) in its South Carolina region, which includes Aiken, as well areas it services in Graniteville, Jackson, New Ellenton, Wagener and Warrenville. The company’s fastest speeds will increase from 250 Mbps/20 Mbps to 1 Gigabit or 1,000 Mbps/50 Mbps, according to a company press release . (I’m assuming that means down/up speeds.)

According to a recent report from Cisco, there will be as many as 13 networked devices and internet connections per person by 2021 in the U.S. Clearly having a lot of data capacity in the home will be important. Hopefully some of that will be used for “radio” in whatever form it’s in.

WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone, based in Englewood, Colo., recently announced the availability of its 1 gigabit per second Internet service to more than 95% of the company’s customers and network footprint, according to lightreading.com . WOW! is one of the first internet providers to offer 1 Gig services to such a large portion of its customers. The company has introduced the service to nine markets, including: Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston; and Pinellas, Fla., and has completed the rollout of 1 Gig services to the entirety of Columbus, Ga., and large portions of Huntsville and Montgomery, Ala. 

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There are strong indications that the streaming company is on the way to creating its own hardware

STOCKHOLM — Evidence is mounting that streamer Spotify is gearing up to enter the smart speaker market.

According to a job listing mined by MusicAlly last month, Spotify is seeking someone to fill a new role that requires the employee to “define and manage Distribution, Supply, Logistics, fulfillment and Customer Service for Hardware Products and work with partners to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users.”

Since the ad was discovered, Spotify’s employment website says the “gig has been closed or canceled,” which either means the company has filled the position or changed its mind about diving into this crowded market. However, other job listings earlier in the year would indicate the former is more likely.

In the US, Spotify is currently available on a host of smart devices , including models from Sonos, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Denon, Bose, Chromecast Audio, in addition to a number of devices that feature Spotify Connect — including some BMW and Ford vehicles.

According to the Guardian , Spotify “has also faced pressure from a few manufacturers who don’t want to incorporate the Connect functionality into their products – notably Apple, which doesn’t support native Spotify playback on either the HomePod or Apple Watch. (Spotify users can still use the service with both devices through their phones, but with limited functionality.)”

Significant questions remain. Will the company build its own AI system, or license Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant — or both? But Apple, which doesn’t like to play nice with competitors, won’t be an option.

Why should broadcasters care? Spotify is a competing for listeners’ ears, and the potential hardware would be another device where radio would be second fiddle, if AM/FM capability is included at all. 

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