France Télévisions partnered with Microsoft, Inlet Technologies and Level 3 Communications to broadcast the French International tennis tournament, held at Roland Garros from 24 May to 7 June 2009, live on the Web.
This was the first ever application of Microsoft’s IIS7 Live Smooth Streaming technology (beta version), encoded on Inlet Technologies ’s SpinnakerTM 7000 live streaming platform and distributed on Level 3 Communications’ Content Delivery Network (CDN), for high-quality, streamed live broadcasts on the Web.
For the 2009 edition of Roland Garros, France Télévisions set a worldwide precedent by offering the high-definition streams broadcast on TV to Web users on the France Télévisions web sites with high definition quality, thanks to IIS7 Live Smooth Streaming and Silverlight technologies. Smooth Streaming is a media delivery method that improves the quality of distribution and is designed to avoid any breaks in the streaming flow by varying the quality in real-time according to factors such as the available bandwidth or the usage rate of the CPU on the client computer.
A genuine digital video player
Thanks to Inlet Technologies ’s live streaming SpinnakerTM 7000 encoders and its ArmadaTM on-demand video management system, which supports Smooth Streaming, Web users watched the live HD streams while benefitting from DVR capabilities (pause, rewind a few hours back, etc.), with no stuttering, buffering or other interruptions to their viewing experience.
Unmatched ease of access
Smooth Streaming uses the standard downloading of HTTP files for easy connection to video streams, even through firewalls, as if they were just another Web page. Video streams can also be cached in existing servers on Level 3’s global Content Delivery Network to allow a massive diffusion of the service on the Internet. This is all monitored from the Level 3 Broadcast Operations Centre.
The Silverlight application developed to read the flows is capable of dynamically detecting that CDN Level 3 flows are available and can switch between them without any breaks. Silverlight can also modulate the quality of the flow according to the condition of the client computer. This means Web users who have broadband connections can enjoy 720p HD images, while users with low-rate connections or less powerful computers receive a flow that is better suited to the quality of their connection.