NeuLion Feeds Need for Football With NFL Preseason Live
The start of the NFL regular season is less than a month away, but, for many fans, that just isn’t soon enough. For the third consecutive year, NeuLion will feed this immediate need for a football fix with NFL Preseason Live, which delivers every out-of-market NFL preseason game to desktops and — new this year — to iPads and Android tablets through the free NFL Preseason tablet app.
The Flash-based service, available for $14.99, allows subscribers to watch every out-of-market preseason game live or on demand and in high definition.
To deliver the entire league’s preseason slate, NeuLion takes the local broadcast feed for each game accompanied by the home and away audio feeds, as well as the NFL stats feed. The stats feed is synchronized with the time clock to create Big Play Markers, which enable subscribers to instantly view the biggest plays as they occur during live games and at any time during on-demand games.
“We create these Big Play Markers, so you can go back and look at a touchdown, a field goal,” says Chris Wagner, EVP/co-founder of NeuLion. “All that video, all the audio, and all the stats get surfaced in that player, and then you can watch it on your iPad, your Android tablet, or your [desktop].”
In addition to the Big Play Markers, which appear along the scrubber bar, Preseason Live offers full DVR functionality, instant-replay capabilities, and the ability to navigate throughout the game but still go live at any time.
With 32 NFL teams to cover, NeuLion will have to manage as many as 26 concurrent feeds, via either fiber or satellite. The signals are transcoded into seven bitrates, ranging from 4.5 Mbps to 400 Kbps. While Neulion offers adaptive-bitrate streaming — and most subscribers will select the “Best Available” video-quality option — fixed-bitrate streaming is also available for subscribers wanting to use less bandwidth.
Subscribers to the video player can watch up to four games simultaneously, using either picture-in-picture or the matrix viewing option. The past three NFL preseasons can also be accessed in adaptive-bitrate streaming.
“We have to store all of the games in their respective formats because we deliver all the archives in adaptive streaming,” says Wagner. “That means, for one game on the [desktop], you’re actually storing seven different profiles, 4.5 Mbps all the way down to 400 Kbps.”
For fans unable to watch games in their entirety, Preseason Live also offers condensed games. They show every play from an entire game — including penalties, coaches challenges, and plays under review — without commercial interruption.
“It’s a snap-to-whistle product,” Wagner explains. “Basically, if you miss a game, [you] can go into the archive and watch that game in [approximately] 30 minutes.”
NFL Preseason Live joins Game Rewind and Audio Pass as the three streaming options for domestic fans. Through Game Rewind, subscribers can watch full or condensed NFL games on demand. Audio Pass allows fans to listen to live NFL game radio broadcasts online.