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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Taps Telestream Lightspeed to Stream 2022 Event

Telstream
(Image credit: HLSR)

NEVADA City, Calif.— The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recently used Telestream gear to stream its 90th annual show. As the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world, the annual 20-day event draws over 2.4 million spectators to Houston’s NRG Park complex, with thousands more watching the free live streams.

This year’s event—held Feb. 28-March 20—was captured by HLSR’s extensive array of broadcast video equipment and streamed out live in HDTV quality from three dual-channel Lightspeed Live Stream encoding systems from Telestream.

Since each of the three Lightspeed Live Stream encoders is a dual-channel system, each was able to encode and stream two separate live feeds simultaneously. Between the three units, there were a total of six channels—two were used to stream live HD program content for the organization’s website, rodeohouston.com, for a total of four feeds. This meant that viewers could choose any of the four streams to watch a different concurrent HLSR event.

While the daytime streaming audience was small, the viewers saw a polished multicamera switched show enhanced by graphical overlays, such as sponsor logos, and CG text. These program feeds emanated from one of HLSR’s two on-site production control rooms, each equipped with a large Grass Valley 3-M/E production switcher and a Ross Xpression for live graphics. These polished video signals flowed through the house routers to the Lightspeed Live Stream units in the nearby machine room. Online viewers could choose and jump between any of the four simultaneous live feeds depending upon which competitive events they’d like to see.

HLSR also provided a live program feed of the livestock show and rodeo events to three broadcast outlets, including The Cowboy Channel, Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks, and the local Telemundo affiliate, which received a Spanish language broadcast with Spanish speaking announcers.

Video crews used 20-plus Sony broadcast cameras—including Sony HDC-2750’s and HDC-1550’s—to shoot concurrent events taking place throughout NRG Park. The high production standard delivered in primetime was the same quality provided during the day on all four streaming channels. The audience size surged once the rodeo events began.

According to Gary Hazen, HLSR’s Senior Production Manager, “We generate four discreet RTMP streams that are sent to Microsoft Azure for distribution. The streaming packages are configured at 1280 x 720 and 30 frames per second [720/p30]. However, the camera input sources are HD-SDI video at 1920 x 1080i at 59.94 frames per second [1080/60i].” In terms of the encoding, the video is AVC 2,000 kbps, while audio is AAC at 128 kbps. The processing load is handled and optimized by the Lightspeed server’s GPUs. And Live Stream has a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) for easy configuration.

The Telestream Lightspeed Live Stream systems were purchased in early 2022 through the Dallas-based Value-Added Reseller (VAR) TM Television as a replacement to a solution that was aging out and no longer supported by the manufacturer. HLSR has used Telestream Vantage for years as part of a parallel Avid editing workflow.

“Quality and reliability matter greatly because it’s important for us to be the best at everything we do and to make this event the best in the world,” Davidson said. “Even though our online audiences tend to be small, we use broadcast-quality cameras, switchers, routers, and highly efficient encoders so that our content looks as good on screen as it does here in person.” The ability to scale the servers factored greatly into the buying decision.