From broadcasting to streaming: watching La Celeste on your mobile phone

What technical elements allow us to watch matches on our devices? What is their history?
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What are the technical elements that allow us to watch the qualifiers for Qatar 2022 on our devices, what is their history, what do broadcasting and streaming mean?

Live streaming of events has undergone a significant and accelerated evolution in recent years. Football is no stranger to this: watching a qualifier match on our phone from anywhere was unthinkable just a few years ago, but we are often unaware of the technological and infrastructural developments that make this everyday act a reality.

streaming woman watching content on her phone

The history of broadcasting

Let's review history: the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954 was the first to be broadcast on television, and 4 million Europeans enjoyed the signal transmitted by Eurovision. It took 16 more years for Uruguayans to experience a live World Cup, broadcast from Mexico via satellite. However, as the signal passed through Argentina first, viewers in our country were not able to see all the matches of that team, which finished fourth.  

The next technological leap came in the 1980s, with colour television of the Mundialito and the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Two decades passed before a World Cup was digitally televised in high definition (HD), which took place in Korea-Japan 2002, but for Uruguay this format only arrived with South Africa 2010, and only for TV subscribers. 

Until then, football tournaments in our country were televised using the broadcasting technique: a transmitter (television channel) sends an over-the-air or cable signal to a multitude of receivers that pick it up simultaneously.

The arrival of streaming in Uruguay

Although in 2001 Antel had already carried out the first experiences in our country of football broadcasting by streaming (a modality in which the broadcaster transmits a signal to the receivers that request it), the Brazil 2014 World Cup marked the milestone for mass broadcasts of this type in HD.

Russia 2018 was the tournament with the greatest technological deployment in history, with television broadcasts in a format four times more powerful than HD: Ultra HD (also known as UHD or 4K HDR). From that moment on, Antel' s Vera+ users were able to watch the World Cup matches on their mobile devices. 

Our work with Antel

At Isbel we worked with Antel to set up the infrastructure that made UHD transmissions possible. 

Gonzalo Vallarino, Engineering Team Leader of Telco and Smart Cities, explains that this new form of content distribution requires the assembly of special networks (CDN), in which various elements solve the technical challenges presented by the transmission of events in real time.

For example, one of them is to manage the requests that users make from their devices to watch the match and that the signal they receive is optimal for each type of device (it is not efficient to send to a mobile phone a signal that is ready to be projected on a 50-inch screen). 

For Vallarino, we got used to watching La Celeste live on a mobile phone or tablet very quickly and naturally, but this would not have been possible without this major deployment of technology and engineering. 

Original article published in Carmelo Portal



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