NESN Taps Akamai for Its First 4K/HDR Streams

NESN 4K/HDR studio
(Image credit: NESN)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Akamai Technologies, Inc. and NESN, the broadcast home of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, have announced that they are working together to live stream all 2022-23 Bruins home games and future Red Sox home games in 4K/HDR through the NESN 360 app. 

The first 4K/HDR live stream was the Bruins home opener on Saturday, October 15th, making NESN is the first regional sports network (RSN) in the United States to live stream Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Hockey League (NHL) games in 4K/HDR natively via a streaming app, the companies said. 

The partnership between NESN and Akamai is part of the significant investments that NESN has made to produce games at Boston’s TD Garden and Fenway Park in 4K/HDR. 

NESN is using Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery (AMD) to power 4K/HDR live streaming for the NESN 360 app. Built on the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform, a network spanning more than 4,100 locations across 135 countries, AMD is optimized for adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming to provide consistent, high-quality viewing across varying network types and connection speeds, Akamai reported. 

“We are so excited to bring 4K/HDR into New England homes on NESN 360,” said Ahmed Darwish, NESN’s chief marketing officer. this technology provides a rich, immersive experience for NESN 360 subscribers and those with access through their TV provider. Fan reaction when we piloted 4K/HDR during the Red Sox season was spectacular, and we look forward to wow’ing Boston sports fans this Bruins season.”

Users can watch the 4K/HDR streams on the NESN 360 app via direct subscription or by authenticating with their TV provider on an iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV and Google TV. 2023 Red Sox home games will be available in 4K/HDR on the NESN 360 app beginning in April. 

“Akamai has been a crucial partner in providing the streaming infrastructure that we need to deliver 4K/HDR,” said NESN’s vice president of technology, Kenny Elcock. “The NESN team broke new ground, testing around the clock, to produce and package live home games in native 4K/HDR. Akamai media delivery solutions helped get it all into viewers homes as fast as possible,” 

“NESN is proving that the technology to live stream 4K/HDR at scale and consumer demand for the content have both finally arrived,” added Will Law, chief architect, Edge Technology Group, Akamai. “Akamai is proud to partner with NESN in this cutting-edge streaming service and excited to help bring it to our hometown base of avid Boston sports fans.”

Adding 4K/HDR live streaming to the NESN 360 app is the latest in a long string of innovative “firsts” for NESN, the company said. 

With its introduction of NESN 360 earlier this year, the network was the first regional sports network (RSN) to offer a direct-to-consumer streaming service. During the 2022 baseball season, NESN became the first RSN to broadcast MLB games in native 4K/HDR when it announced availability of all Red Sox home games in the high-quality format on DIRECTV, Verizon Fios and fuboTV. Bruins home games on NESN will also be broadcast on 4K/HDR for DIRECTV, Verizon Fios, and fuboTV customers. In 2015, the network was the first RSN to fully automate studio production and the first to deliver all professional MLB and NHL games in HD.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.