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Product Update: Optimising Video Delivery to Facilitate Swift Match Analysis

People often ask us what has been the single biggest development we have seen in player scouting processes since we first started delivering scouting management systems back in 2001.

Whilst the end-goal for a club remains the same - recruiting the right players, the tools available to support decision-making has meant that clubs can now comprehensively research, assess and analyse prospect players in a way which was impossible 15 years ago.

Whilst we can proudly claim to have been part of this revolution, through initially pioneering central online database systems, personally I would have to say that it has been the advent of mass-global video capture, which first appeared commercially towards the end of the last decade, has been the biggest game changer.

For the first time, it meant that clubs were able to watch full-length games, from any major league in the world, remotely from their PC. All of a sudden, a lot of preliminary assessment work on players could be done at any time and at any place, without the need for putting a scout on a plane to watch a player from overseas play in the stadium.

As more and more footage has become available, supporting tools have been developed that enable detailed analysis to take place using the video, including our very own Pro.tv platform and VideoHub, which has been developed in collaboration with our partners OptaPro.

But in order for our client clubs to make the most of these cutting-edge technologies, our video operations team in Munich are constantly looking to improve processes around our video capture, which includes finding ways of enhancing the video quality of new matches and crucially, making the games available for viewing as quickly as possible after the final whistle.

This autumn, following a number of upgrades made to our datacenters around the world, I am very pleased to announce that we have taken major steps forward with both these objectives.

HD+ Download – Analysing Matches in the Original HD Broadcast Quality

Our existing video quality is perfect for analysing matches online, however several clubs have requested an option to download a higher quality version of our recordings, which are suitable for playing on bigger screens.

Now, having upgraded our video transcoding facility, we have been able to successfully launch this feature in Scout7.tv.

Since October, HD+ files have been generated alongside the existing HD files for selected matches played in the ‘big six’ European leagues, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. So far this season, we have made over 500 matches available in HD+ quality from these competitions.

As the season progresses, we are hopeful that we will be able to make more HD+ files available from games played in other key recruitment markets too.

The HD+ download is as close as you can get to the broadcaster’s original quality and as with our standard download files, are fully compatible with all major video players and video-editing software.

The video download options available for last weekend's 2. Bundesliga game between VfL Bochum and FC St. Pauli

Enhanced Video-Turnaround Times

Through utilising state-of-the-art technology from Intel, we have been able to completely upgrade our video processing environment.

Having incorporated hardware acceleration devices into our internal processes, we can now transcode recorded matches into a streamable format four times faster than was possible before. As things stand, every match that we record at our European datacenters is now processed using this new technology.

In recent weeks, I am sure clients will have noticed a significant increase in the number of matches that are available within less than two-hours of the final whistle. This is all down to these new processing devices and we are confident that moving forward, the vast majority of games played in the ‘big six’ European leagues will be available within this timeframe.

Working for the Benefit of our Clients

This investment in our internal operations is an example of how we are constantly striving to provide the best service possible for all Scout7.tv clients around the world.

As well as improving video quality and turnaround times, other by-products of our investment has also seen considerable improvements to the download time of standard HD video files – which is now three times quicker than before and if you have fibre-optic broadband, will take just a few minutes.

Improvements to our own bandwidth connection and network infrastructure also means that clients wishing to stream footage can now connect to our services with a speed three times faster than before.

Of course we recognise that we must always aim to remain one step ahead and having seen the ever-growing demand for fast, high-quality video, we hope that these initiatives will mean that club staff can start their review of weekend matches at tea-time on a Saturday night!

If you would like some more details of these changes, please feel free to email me at eric@scout7.com and I can tell you more....

by Eric Themar Video Operations Manager

Published 12 December 2014

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