(San Diego, CA, March 9, 2018 by Cirina Catania, Sr. Editor) Live steaming has been around since the late 1990’s and many of us have, in the last few years, held up our iPhones and streamed live to Facebook and our friends. If you want a professional solution allowing you to broadcast a high-end image to the world, the proposition has been an expensive one … until now. Gordon Daily, CEO and Founder of BoxCast (started in 2013) explains how an innovative solution in a small box that fits in the palm of your hand and costs just under $500 can launch your programs and send your message to a global audience.
The BoxCaster is a plug-in and stream solution from BoxCast that is pre-programmed to live stream using an internet connection wired through through the device to a camera and your internet connection. Simple, easy to use and streams to multiple locations at once. Cirina Catania called the CEO of BoxCaster after she got the unit to ask a few questions about what she sees as a simple, accessible and low-cost solution. Remarkably, it retails for only $499 as of March 2018.
For more information about BoxCast and the products offered, visit www.boxcast.com
The full written transcript of Cirina’s interview is below:
Cirina Catania: Good morning. This is Cirina Catania with US Times. I am with Gordon Daily. He’s the CEO and the co-founder of BoxCast and I’m really excited about this, because I recently got one to try out. When I get all the equipment set up, we’re going to get Gordon back on, and we’ll do a live stream, but for today, we’re recording this interview on Skype and I want to ask him all kinds of questions about this amazing company that he’s started. Gordon, tell us, for people who don’t know, what is BoxCast and what does it do?
Gordon Daily: BoxCast is an easy way to stream. It’s a complete live video solution that takes what was once complicated, if you want to use your own video equipment or your mobile device, and makes it easy to stream for any organization.
Cirina Catania: Now how does it do that? I have to tell you when I got the box, I pulled it out, and it fits in the palm of my hand, the BoxCaster. Hold it up so we can see it.
Gordon Daily: What we have is the ability to … Instead of having to worry about all of the equipment set up, the complexity of managing all the different parameters, what we’ve tried to do is make it so that you didn’t have to have any configuration or buttons to press, that we could have it all handled in one little simple box and then, behind the box then is all of the technology and software platform to make that video end up wherever you want it. You’ve amazing experiences that you’re creating and you want people to be able to see that wherever they’re at, on your website or on any social media platform or in an Apple TV or Roku app, we make it possible for it to go there really, really simply.
Cirina Catania: We can stream to multiple locations at the same time, correct?
Gordon Daily: Absolutely. That’s one of the big reasons why a lot of people love to go with BoxCast is because what they find is that if they’re streaming in Facebook, it only goes to Facebook. If they’re streaming in Periscope, it only goes to Periscope. But when you go to BoxCast, you get all of the … in addition to creating a good online presence on your website or in your own apps.
Cirina Catania: I set up an account so I could try everything out, you can schedule a broadcast ahead of time. You can add titles, lower thirds, all kinds of graphics if you want. It’s really easy to manage, very easy to manage. While we have the BoxCaster with you, can you hold it up and show us both sides of it, and for our geeks and … I have a lot of geek friends that are going to be listening to this. They’re going to want to know how this works. Can you talk about what’s actually on the box and what attaches to it, how to set this up?
Gordon Daily: Sure. For the BoxCaster itself, this is basically a 1080p encoder and we’ve got for inputs, we’ve got an HDMI input on it as well as for older workflows, we even have the ability to do it in old school standard definition stream through a composite input. In addition to sending the audio through the HDMI, which most people do, you can send it through an auxiliary audio feed here ’cause there’s a little audio mixer inside the box that can help you control where the input’s are coming from, and that’s great if you’ve got a sound system already set up. You’ve got speakers set up at a venue and you want to stream the experience, you just connect from the soundboard right into the box and the video is there also, and you’re good to go.
Gordon Daily: But what the box does is it does everything on-site that you need it to do in order to stream so you don’t need a computer to stream. You just put the video camera or whatever video source you’ve got if you’re mixing it into the box and then, the box then compresses the video with the audio and sends it to BoxCast servers automatically so that it can then be routed all of the places you want it to go. We can serve any size audience on your website. It automatically will take the video and transcode it up there, too, so that when people connect with a slower connection, it still works for them. You may want to have that video available later, we record it for you. But there’s all the promotion features that you want to go with it.
Cirina Catania: You can also edit the video after the fact I noticed right on your site. You can trim it.
Gordon Daily: It’s really a one-stop solution. That’s part of what makes it easy. We found with Livestream, it’s just not so simple to do. You may want to charge money for it. You may want to see the analytics from what people are doing. You may want to go back and trim off the beginning or the end of the broadcast. You may want to download the video out. You may want to go create highlight clips so that you can promote or showcase what happened at the event. All those things are all found in one place and it’s so simple, it saves everybody time.
Cirina Catania: I noticed you can also do fundraising … Am I right about that?
Gordon Daily: Yeah, you can. Absolutely. You just set a ticket price for what you want to collect for a per game basis or you can set a price for many of them and make almost like a pass for it. Sixty percent of our sports teams now are actually making money doing it that way. They want to add a little extra money. One of the things that most people don’t know how to do, but they love to take advantage of with BoxCast is that you can stream it in a lower quality for free for your viewers, but those that want to pay to see it in higher quality can pay and it actually ends up paying for the service and you can make money doing it. We’ve got a lot of organizations that are making money doing it.
Cirina Catania: With the BoxCaster you have in your hand, show me the other side and let’s talk about internet connection for a moment ’cause there are some other alternatives.
Gordon Daily: Audio and video is on one side. On the other side, we’ve got a hard line internet connection that you can use so that you can use your broadband connection. There’s also WiFi built in the box, too. It’s always better to do a hard line if you’ve got a hard line connection. There’s a power connector. The other thing that’s useful is a USB connection that we use in order to connect it with almost any scoreboard that’s out there. For sporting events in particular, if it’s a youth football game or a little league baseball game all the way up to major league soccer teams … We have a number of major league soccer teams that use us for their games too, you could stream just like on ESPN the scoreboard at the bottom of the screen by plugging the scoreboard into the box, too.
Cirina Catania: That’s really awesome. I can’t believe something that small is that powerful. I was blown away by it. Now you have some other solutions as well. You have an iOS solution. You have what’s called the Pro. Can you explain those and what they do?
Gordon Daily: Sure. Just like with Facebook and some of the other platforms that lets you stream from your phone, we have a best-in-class streaming application that we made called BoxCast Broadcaster that works with iOS so just-
Cirina Catania: Hold it a little bit closer to you so I could … There you go. Now we can see it.
Gordon Daily: I could just hit the stream button and give it a name of what we’re doing. If I can spell Cirina correctly … You know, my daughter’s name is Serena-
Cirina Catania: Right. Yeah, but she doesn’t spell it C-I-R-I-N-A, right?
Gordon Daily: That’s right. Yours is unique. You just create the name and type in Cirina and I hit go and now we’re broadcasting. What’s neat about it is this feed will be broadcast onto your site, but at the same time, you can then simulcast it onto the other social media platforms or send it out through RTNP (sic Real Time Network Protocol) to any other place that you want. It’s really nice to have a one-stop place to go to get streaming. We make it easy and compatible with every system that’s out there through RTNP out.
Cirina Catania: What about your Pro solution? You have the BoxCaster Pro.
Gordon Daily: We found that this is great for the middle of the road person who’s getting started. It’s a $500 box and it works with any kind of HD connection or SD connection, but we’ve got a lot of folks out there that have higher-end equipment, SD cameras or a mixing system they want to use professional. We’ve got a product that we just came out with called the BoxCaster Pro and it’s wonderful for those that are willing to spend a little bit more money to get a much better product, but it’s got both HDMI and SDI inputs. It has a confidence monitor on the screen so you can see exactly what’s going with the box. It’s really compact and small. It’s a little bit bigger than the BoxCaster Pro, but still very portable and light.
Gordon Daily: The one thing that’s a subtle feature that I really like about it is, it’s got outputs for those same inputs so you don’t have to have a splitter. If you already have video that they are doing at an event maybe going onto the screens, you could have this box be in line, just have it siphon off the video so that anybody that’s not there in person can also watch remotely. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment because not only does it have professional inputs and the confidence monitoring and It allows for better compression. It uses HEVC compression and it can support 4K video streams.
Cirina Catania: What is your background? How did you get started in all of this?
Gordon Daily: It’s a very, very curious tale because oddly enough, we were building technology for mission-critical applications like airline control lighting systems and caustic chemical processing. It was in a world where if people got involved, sometimes they’d mess it up, so we’d automate them out of the equation. When we thought about video, it was a funeral home director who said, “Hey, I don’t know anything about technology. I can’t make this work. You need to make it just work automatically.” We said, “We’re experts at automation.” Of all things, it was a funeral home director that said, “I want to automate funeral streams.” At the beginning, we were like, “That sounds kind of weird because I don’t know who wants to tune in.” He said, “No, loved ones want to. We’ll password protect it and people can be a part of the grieving process.” We said, “Yeah, you’re right and it’s a meaningful thing. So we’ll help you out.”
Gordon Daily: We started building automated streaming solutions and then what we realized is that livestreaming is such a hard thing to accomplish. Unless you have the equipment to capture and the servers and the play out pieces all working together automatically, until you have that simple and affordable for everybody, no one’s going to do it and that’s what got us really excited about it and it’s brought us a tremendous amount of customers in all kinds of different markets. We do a lot of churches, a lot of sports, a lot of business meetings, a lot of municipalities. There’s no end to it.
Cirina Catania: That’s awesome. I’m really excited. I’m actually going to use it with my BlackMagic URSA Mini Pro and I have a small Flanders monitor so I’m going to be playing with all the connections. I’m using SDI out on the BlackMagic camera, but I got the BlackMagic SDI to HDMI box and I’m going to daisy-chain the monitor through that into the BoxCaster. We’ll see if that works. That should work, right? That should work fine.
Gordon Daily: It will definitely. Yeah, that’s what’s great about having a device that just takes the video in. You don’t need to have drivers to install or a software application going on. You just basically connect them together with a convertible box in this case or we’ll have to send you a Pro with the next batch of shipping.
Cirina Catania: We’ll do a test with the Pro. That would fun. The biggest problem I had yesterday was the BlackMagic box didn’t come with the SDI cable so I had to order one, but it’s here now. I have it so we can set it up.
Gordon Daily: Fantastic.
Cirina Catania: When people ask you there are a lot of companies saying, “We do livestreaming. We have solutions.” How is BoxCast different? How would you explain that to people?
Gordon Daily: The simplest way I would explain it is that we do it all ourselves from scratch. In the same way that Apple says, “Hey, we have the hardware that’s made for the software.” We do the same thing. We don’t depend on other people’s transcoding. We don’t depend on other people’s hardware. I don’t know of another livestreaming company that makes all their hardware from scratch and all of their transcoding software and everything like we do from scratch. That gives us the ability to make it easier. A lot of people say that things are easy, but until you can see the difference, it doesn’t make sense or it until you’re depending on a bunch of volunteers at your organization to make an event happen and they know nothing about technology, that’s when we start to shine because there’s no buttons or switches on purposes, right, so that nobody can mess it up. We’ve learned the hard way that most of the time when things go wrong, it’s because someone didn’t know what they were doing. We want to automate that out of the equation.
Cirina Catania: Is that why there’s no off switch on the BoxCaster?
Gordon Daily: Exactly.
Cirina Catania: I was going to ask you about that.
Gordon Daily: That’s exactly right because that’s a place where people can make a mistake, not knowing to turn it on. I know it sounds so silly, but we’re obsessive about this. That’s what makes us different. We’re so obsessive about how we can make this easy and approachable for everybody to use.
Cirina Catania: You definitely know when it’s online because those lights are very bright and it’s awesome. I know I’m going to do this all by myself. I don’t have anybody. I’m doing this at my small studio, not at the big one where I have people to help in the back room. This is in my small studio so I’m going to be setting it all up myself and I think it’s going to be very easy.
Gordon Daily: Yes.
Cirina Catania: I’m really proud of you guys. What are you most proud of? When you look at what you’ve accomplished since … What? You started in 2013 with this company, right? What would you say you’re most proud of?
Gordon Daily: It’s easy for me. I’m most proud of the people that I’ve assembled to do this. I feel like everybody that’s a part of BoxCast has been put on this earth to do exactly what we’re doing, which is make this technology work for people. It is an absolute joy to come into work every day and work with … Everything else just comes from that.
Gordon Daily: The second most exciting thing is, of course, when parents and fans and people understand that they were able to be a part of something that they didn’t think they could because we made it simple enough for an organization. Moms crying ’cause they’re making it to their daughters’ volleyball games. We’ve had people saying, “Hey, if it wasn’t for the church service I saw, I was going to commit suicide.” You can’t make these things up. It’s these experiences that matter to people’s lives that aren’t being streamed. It’s 2018 and still, most of these organizations aren’t streaming their events and that’s going to change. BoxCast is going to lead the charge.
Cirina Catania: That’s awesome. I wish you the best of luck with it and I’m going to be contacting you again very shortly. We’ll see if we can do a live feed from here. Okay?
Gordon Daily: You got it.
Cirina Catania: Is there anything I didn’t ask you and you want to tell anyone while I have you on?
Gordon Daily: Just that if you want to learn more, it’s boxcast.com. Everything that you want, you’ll find there that explains all about the solution, the platform that we’ve got. In this amount of time, there’s no way I can go into the depth of all of the features that we’ve got, but that scope of what we’ve built is what differentiates us. It’s everything you’d need if you want to get your organization to be able to stream. We’ve just done it really, really well. I think people are going to really enjoy it.
Cirina Catania: We’re going to be seeing a lot of BoxCast I’m sure. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.
Gordon Daily: You bet, Cirina. Appreciate it.
Cirina Catania: This is Cirina Catania from US Times signing off. I’ve been talking with Gordon Daily, the CEO of BoxCast and he’s also the co-founder. Thank you very much. Have an awesome day.
Gordon Daily: You, too.
Tech Specs from the BoxCast team:
- Dimensions: 4.34”W x 3.06”D x 0.94”H
- Rugged bullet-proof plastic
- Slip-free, dampening rubber feet
- Weight: 0.5 lbs
- Temperature: 0 to +70 C
- Humidity: 0% to 90% non condensing
VIDEO & AUDIO
- HDMI input (480i to 1080p60)
- RCA composite input (NTSC/PAL)
- HDMI or RCA stereo line in (48 kHz)
- Hardware encoder
- H.264 high profile level 4.2
- 1080p/30fps output
- AAC-LC audio compression
- IP address assignment via DHCP
- 802.11agn wifi with beam forming MIMO
- 10/100BASE-T ethernet port
- Automatic device firmware upgrade
- No firewall configuration needed to stream
- Power Input: 9V-24V DC, center positive
- 5W to 10W nominal power consumption with USB accessories
- Centralized device and broadcast event management through BoxCast.com
- Automatic stream scaling to serve any sized audience
- Automatic video archiving with VOD playback
- Automatic credit card processing for ticket purchase based viewing
- Automatic bitrate profiles (5 levels for smooth playback)
- Promotion Tools for Email, Twitter and Facebook
VIDEO PLAYER COMPATIBILITY
- BoxCast is designed to work with any modern device