Elemental, today named one of America's Most Promising Companies by Forbes, is working with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports programming, to create the on-demand video offered on the ESPN family of websites and ESPN iPhone, iPad and Android applications. ESPN is using Elemental™ Server to create 14 distinct video outputs for adaptive bit rate playback on each of these platforms. This enables the sports network to put high-quality digital highlight packages online faster than ever before to satisfy fan demand.
In the ESPN deployment, Elemental Server quickly converts a variety of inputs, including MPEG-2, DVCPRO HD and MOV files, to a wide range of web-based outputs. These assets are made immediately available for viewers to watch any time on their platform of choice. In addition to the ESPN.com flagship site, Elemental Server also powers the video for ESPN’s mobile applications and regional properties, such as ESPN New York and ESPN Dallas. Foreign language-speaking fans can find Elemental video on the internationally-focused ESPN Deportes.
To see for yourself how Elemental is enabling web-based coverage for the network giant, head over to ESPN.com where you can find video clips and highlights of the best in sports online, anytime.
2011 has proven to be a sport-acular year for Elemental, as our gear is now found within several major sports leagues’ networks, at some of the world’s largest tournaments and competitions, and even inside athletic stadiums and venues. Helping companies deliver live video and highlights to fans via PCs, tablets or mobile devices is one of Elemental’s sweet spots, and we are excited about playing a significant role in this evolution. Let’s take a look at the ways Elemental is making an impact on the streaming sports world.
Host team New Zealand was recently crowned champion of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, winning an 8-7 nail biter over France in the final, and two companies leveraged Elemental solutions to deliver video coverage of the tournament to fans around the world. TF1 took advantage of Elemental Live for live event capture and delivery to six different service providers across France, while deltatre provided near real-time turnaround of match highlights on the official event website and mobile applications using Elemental Server. More than 17 million video clips were viewed on the mobile application, which was available on BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices. Fascinatingly, this was over three times the number of videos viewed on the official website.
Just as the Rugby World Cup semifinals were underway, another worldwide event kicked off: the 2011 Pan American games. In this case, Terra, a subsidiary of Telefonica, used Elemental Live to deliver high-quality adaptive bit rate video streams of the multi-sport games to a variety of IP devices. It was important for Terra to choose partners wisely to be in top form for the 17-day event. Why? According to Terra USA CEO Fernando Rodriguez, the Pan American games served “as the pre-amble to [their] London Olympics coverage in 2012,” for which Terra also has the streaming rights.
In other deployments, BTN (the Big Ten Network) has gone live with BTN2Go, offering streaming of live games to subscribers’ PCs and mobile devices. Across the Atlantic, Eurosport uses Elemental solutions to convert its entire content library as well as improve video quality and increase the number of live streaming offerings available to end-users.
Whew! 2011 has certainly been big, but at Elemental it’s pretty clear that 2012 is shaping up to be the biggest year ever in streaming sports. In fact, we dare say that the 2012 Olympics in London will be the best and most widely viewed live streaming event the world has ever seen. Keep an eye out for us over the next few months as more exciting news flows in. In the meantime, if you plan to attend Streaming Media West in Los Angeles November 8-9, stop by booth 89 and see Elemental's video processing solutions in action.
Although he passed far too early, Steve Jobs’ impact on human endeavor cannot be overstated. Much has been written about how the products he helped create at Apple changed the way people interact with technology, and how his attention to aesthetic beauty and intrinsic usability created machines with which we formed intense personal connections. The confluence of art, technology and design that Jobs brought to his work is something that many entrepreneurs aspire to – but only he was able to master.
I’m proud to consider myself an entrepreneur as well, albeit a far less successful one (aren’t we all?). Looking back, my path is due in no small part to Mr. Jobs’ influence, although I never had the good fortune to meet the man himself. I was born in Southeast Portland in 1976, the same year Jobs and Wozniak established Apple. A sweet family lived next door to me then: Barb and Jack Dudman and their son, Joe. Jack was a much-loved math professor and later Dean of Students at nearby Reed College. I spent much of my free time as a child at the Dudmans; first and foremost because they were great friends and secondly because they had wondrous computers: an Apple II, an Apple III, and then, in 1984, the first Macintosh. At my house, the most advanced technology was a 12” color TV.
Despite my mother’s strong preference that I grow up to become a writer, she couldn’t ignore the fact that whenever we went to OMSI, I was strongly drawn to the electronics section. When I was six years old, Barb Dudman offered to teach me Logo on the Apple III. Logo is a programming language that uses commands to move a turtle cursor around the screen, a deceptively simple concept that can generate amazing graphics. After one lesson with Barb, I was hooked: at home, I wrote a long program that drew a complicated picture, as I recall it was an American flag. At the next lesson, I typed in the program – and lo and behold the turtle drew the flag for me in beautiful green-on-black monochrome. What power! My programming skills improved over time, and soon Barb was teaching me Pascal. By then there was a true reward for doing well in the lesson: I would get to play One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird with Joe on their Mac.
Only later did I learn how the Dudmans came to have such amazing computers in their Eastmoreland home. During Jobs’ legendarily brief time at Reed, after he dropped out but before he returned to California, Jack Dudman helped him survive those tight, couch-surfing days when Jobs audited classes – including the famous calligraphy course that inspired the ground-breaking fonts pioneered on the Mac. Steve never forgot Jack’s kindness during this period, and made sure the Dudmans were always equipped with the best Apple gear; they in turn patiently tutored the eager kid next door.
I’ve worked in the technology industry for over a decade now. My engineering days are behind me, and I’m learning a new set of skills in leading the team at Elemental. Once again, the environment that Steve created at Apple is a guiding light. We are working hard to build a culture that will allow us to hire new people at a steady clip while maintaining and strengthening the core values with which we’ve attained our modest level of success so far. It’s been a challenge, to say the least. Yet a friend of mine recently interviewed for a position at Apple, and during the process was told that the only goal for each employee is “to make the platform cool.” That’s it. So simple, yet so effective; this mantra permeates everything Apple creates, from the lovely devices themselves to the shimmering operating system to the elegant packaging, even down to the environmental impact statement on Apple’s website.
I’m a Windows user now, and have been ever since a late-1990s engineering curriculum forced me to trade in my Power Mac for a PC. But Steve Jobs will always be a guiding light for me and entrepreneurs everywhere, and Apple the company we endeavor to emulate. Thank you, Steve, for your incredible innovation and inspiration.