Making the Lightcast Media Cloud the best OTT Distribution System ever!

2021 wasn’t just to barely get by, not just a year we waited to be over. Rather the opposite: it has been a year of enormous growth, expansion and new releases in every area for and the growing community of Publishers around the world.

From the release of new Media Cloud features, to many new App Framework features, to the continuous expansion of our global server and datacenter infrastructure, to new partnerships with best-in-class business partners, such as HubSpot, Verizon/Edgecast, NetBadgers and the app platforms of Apple, Amazon and Google, we have been able to expand in all directions in 2021.

And the best news is: we are just picking up speed and accelerate all expansions even further throughout 2022. Many new fantastic surprises are on the horizon for 2022 and as the trade show business picks back up again, we hope to be able to meet many of you, the amazing content creators and publishers, in person at industry trade shows such as NRB in Nashville in March, and NAB in Las Vegas in April. Looking forward to meeting you in person and taking your streaming media projects and businesses to the next level!

But first a recap of a few software release highlights from 2021 - a brief reminder about new features available to you to explore, as we are dedicated to help to get even more done this year with your Lightcast Media Cloud and all of its many tools. Here are a few release highlights from 2021:

The Custom Report Builder
The Custom Report Builder, which is part of the Media Cloud Analytics Suite, allows you to create custom reports easier than ever before through the Report Wizard.

Key advantages of the Report Builder vs. the Classic Stats Center:

  • Easier creation through the Report Wizard
  • Any date range possible
  • Ability to go back numerous years
  • Flexible combination of filters and metrics
  • Faster loading
  • Reports remain stored in your Media Cloud
  • Reports can be downloaded at any time
  • Online viewing of the generated report

The Electronic Program Guide for Web Apps and Mobile Apps's Electronic Program Guide for 24/7 Channels is a great way to provide an additional service for your viewers. It displays the same-day schedule with a convenient "details-expand” feature and provides the viewer with upcoming programming for the next 6 days. Each day’s programming is accessible by selecting the desired day’s tab located across the top of the Guide.

App Builder Extensions
The App Builder is a one-of-a-kind product in the leading multi-platform OVP, the Lightcast Media Cloud, which set a new industry-standard. In 2021 we added two new Apps to the App Builder: Samsung SmartTV and LG TV. You can now manage Samsung and LG TV Apps through the App Builder. In addition you can now control ad feeds for Web Apps and Mobile Apps via the App Builder for adding/removing videos ads, as well as changing the settings for pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads.

More additions and extensions are soon to be released!

Watch the App Builder Video Tutorials

Additional CDN Access Point (POP)
We added a South American POP you can connect to for your live streams via your encoder. The new POP is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This will provide our South American clients an even better performance for their live steams.

Improvements to the 24/7 Cloud Scheduler
The Cloud Scheduler is an innovative video delivery product, which allows you to create a 24/7 stream out of your uploaded on-demand video content, simply by dragging and dropping your videos into a schedule, assigning them to a certain "broadcast time”.

With the changes we released in 2021, we improved not only the performance of the Scheduler, but also the copy & paste feature which allows you to copy days or weeks forward. It is now set to the channel’s timezone instead of strictly being EST. For easy view of the channel’s timezone, we added the timezone information in the header next to date.

Web App Extensions
Throughout the past year, we integrated many functionalities and features into the Web App to make it even more versatile, user-friendly and loading efficient. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Live Event Schedule Overview Feature
  • EPG Design adapted
  • New Sign In / Sign Out feature
  • Channel-by-Channel Email Capture Feature
  • Video Player continuous play
  • Several improvements in the back-end
  • Captions for linear streams

App Framework Extensions: New Mobile App Templates
In 2021 we released new mobile app templates based on a new code base, which provides even greater stability and flexibility. They load faster, and allow publishers to link to their websites, landing pages and own online resources, while beautifully displaying all contents managed and published in real-time via the Media Cloud. New mobile app features include:

  • Electronic Program Guide
  • Sign In/Out Feature for Subscribers
  • New Side Menu
  • New Watchlist feature
  • And much more

New Lightcast EasyPay Feature
Lightcast’s proprietary and exclusive multi-platform authentication and subscriber handling system, Lightcast EasyPay, rolled out a new extension to allow publishers to use its authentication functionality without being tied to a payment by the subscriber. It is a new multi-platform access restriction and authentication system for “membership-only” access to select contents of a publisher, across all web, mobile and TV app types without payment.

Publishers who seek to restrict access to select contents to registered members, but do not intend to charge members for it, making registration and subscription free of charge, can now use the Lightcast EasyPay system to allow registered viewers to sign in with their selected credentials across all web, mobile and TV app types of the publisher.

More about SVOD

Lightcast API Extensions
One of the features requested by clients in 2021 was the ability to schedule a publish date when adding media to channels via the LightcastAPI. The new parameter has been integrated and can be used in the Archives->Create action and the Archives->Update action. You can also see this new parameter in the API documentation in our Lightcast MediaCloud. Keep in mind that this parameter can only be used if you have scheduled publishing enabled in your account. Other extensions include the following:

  • When searching for media you can now search via keywords
  • When creating or updating media, you can now set a language
  • The API will no longer return secondary channels of multi-bitrate group
  • For returned hls_url and hls_url_adaptive we now use the new dynamic m3u8 urls
  • Added platforms to LightcastAPI documentation (only for those with streaming urls enabled)

More about the Lightcast API

AppleTV Streaming Protocol Change
We switched the AppleTV streaming protocol for faster delivery, better quality for on-demand content and captions support.

Improvements for the Live Recording feature
When transcoding a “Live Recording” to an on-demand channel, it is now easier to see all live recordings currently under transcoding.

Watch the Live Recording Video Tutorials

Additional email notifications
New courtesy email notifications have been released, such as:

  • When channels are going to expire soon
  • When an app questionnaire or app graphics have been submitted and received by our developers. This email also includes additional information and reminders regarding the setup of apps

    In addition, we are now sending out our low video minutes email notifications only when a specific percentage level of low video minutes is reached.

For a full picture of our 2021 releases, check out our release page.
We are wishing you a happy, healthy and successful New Year!