Wowza Launches Professional Streaming Appliance for Facebook Live

ClearCaster was designed and built in collaboration with Facebook to ensure clean, clear broadcasts and user engagement on Facebook Live, and from any workflow.

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We already have mobile publishing platforms for images, email, social networking and chat; they’re called smartphones. The next step in the continuing democratization of media might be everyone having their own television studios, and that’s apparently not that far away.

This is not craziness. Wowza Media Systems, respected for more than a decade for its video streaming expertise, is making this possible now with its new ClearCaster appliance, which provides professional-level streaming video on Facebook Live.

ClearCaster was designed and built in collaboration with Facebook. The appliance was created specifically for this purpose to ensure clean, clear broadcasts and user engagement on Facebook Live, and from any workflow. The fast-growing use of Facebook Live called for a platform of this type.

Golden, Colo.-based Wowza might not be a household name, but it has 20,000 customers in 170 countries worldwide, with about 40 percent of all streaming video producers using Wowza’s de facto industry standard media server. Wowza plays a major part in streaming about 15 million viewing hours per day, co-founder David Stubenvoll told eWEEK.

Auto-Configures Optimal Settings

ClearCaster auto-configures the optimal settings for each session’s conditions and use case. The appliance intelligently monitors real-time stream health, and automatically adjusts stream settings to ensure uptime and quality, Stubenvoll said.

ClearCaster enables users to stream in crisp 1080p30—and even up to 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition), when supported. ClearCaster connects to cameras, editing bays and live production studios to deliver programming directly to Facebook, without requiring changes to existing broadcast workflows.

It’s simply a matter of connecting to power, the internet, to a videocam and, finally, to Facebook. You can view a brief “getting started” YouTube video on Wowza Clearcaster here.

Professionals no longer have to worry about connection issues and dropped streams; ClearCaster provides good reliability with the fewest possible connection problems, Stubenvoll said. Users can start and stop streams through the Facebook Live user interface and can control the device through the Wowza web app to easily manage streaming and monitor success from any location, he said.

The ClearCaster platform offers these additional features:

  • The ability to see Live Reactions from followers, so users can react to them in real time and tailor content on the fly.
  • Talent View functionality, allowing on-camera personalities to see exactly what their followers see.
  • An integrated countdown clock that cues the exact moment your stream goes live, eliminating awkward pauses for you and your viewers.

As a single, 1U rack-mountable “pizza box” appliance, ClearCaster connects an editing system or live feed to the internet and immediately authenticates to publish on Facebook Live. ClearCaster includes inputs for SDI and HDMI connections to deliver video directly from HD cameras and other professional equipment.

ClearCaster is a professional platform priced at $6,500, which includes three years’ worth of hardware and software maintenance and support.  For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...