From video codecs to a complete Real-time Streaming platform: nanocosmos’ journey

The IABM sharing nanocosmos’ journey

IABM Article 25th Anniversary

The original article was published by IABM Jounal on March 24, 2023

Foundation in 1998

Back in 1998, linear television was the dominant medium for video consumption, with broadcast, cable, and satellite television being the primary ways in which people accessed content. Video software and Streaming media was still in its infancy, and the internet was mainly used for email and basic web browsing. Digital video technology was also still in its nascent stages of development. Unbelievable now but true: no digital cameras were available at this time, and most video productions were on tape and cinema on celluloid. Google was founded the same year, and neither smartphones nor YouTube were in sight . It was within this context of technological change and industry evolution that we founded nanocosmos, with the aim of offering user-friendly and reliable software-based video solutions to the industry.

MPEG Softengine: First product by nanocosmos
First product

Studio production & video compression

Maintaining a close relationship with our customers and staying up to date with industry advancements has always been a top priority for us. Already in our early years we closely collaborated with our customers, which in that time was the traditional broadcast industry but also other companies pushing innovations to the market, our focus was early on to create easy to use product innovations for video processing, studio production and video compression. Our roots trace back to our origins as a codec company, working in tandem with research activities at the Fraunhofer/Heinrich Hertz Institute to develop high-quality codecs, such as our MPEG software technology, shipped as MPEG SoftEngine and nanoPEG. Our goal has always been creating unique software products with high innovations keeping things lightweight and easy to use, compared to heavyweight production setups still somehow prominent in the broadcast industry.  

Announcement regarding CeBit Trade Show 2010, Germany
Announcement regarding CeBit Trade Show 2010, Germany

Realtime video processing on standard PCs

The following years were marked by responses to new industry requirements, such as our software for TV recordings to be made directly from the computer- in real-time, which in these days meant MPEG-1 live encoding on a i386 Windows machine with hand-tuned assembler code to achieve encoding of video resolutions of 320×240 pixels, coming from an analog WinTV capture card produced by the company which was leading innovations in Digital TV on the PC: Hauppauge. This technology was a significant breakthrough as it enabled realtime video processing on standard PCs. This technology was used in consumer products like Hauppauge WinTV or Roxio Toast. The next milestone was a real-time lossless video editor called nanoPEG Editor, which made it very easy to cut&paste your own video recordings. Later, we were managing a significant project for the Berlinale, a renowned international film festival. Our team developed a playout system for all the participating cinemas, which required close collaboration with the festival organizers to ensure its stability and seamless operation 24/7.  


nanocosmos' team at NAB Show 2013
nanocosmos’ team at NAB Show 2013

Mobile devices on the rise – video streaming toolkits for all devices

This experience reinforced the importance of fostering strong partnerships with our clients and prioritizing stability and reliability in all our offerings. These values continue to serve as the foundation of our business today. It was in the 2010s when the whole industry changed more from PC based software products to mobile applications. As the internet and digital video technologies continued to advance, and mobile devices were getting more suitable for video, nanocosmos were one of the first providers of video streaming toolkits and SDKs for all devices including iOS and android. One milestone project was Stringwire, an early live broadcast app developed for NBC Universal for Citizen journalism.

From nanoStream marketing collateral 2014
From nanoStream marketing collateral 2014

Audience engagement via interactive live streaming

This was even before any of the large vendors like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube went “Live”. With the rise of user generated content on mobile platforms, large video platforms and content delivery networks opened up to enable larger scale video deployments, easy to handle based on the HLS and DASH technologies, which were much different to former streaming protocols as they were easy to deliver globally due to their simple file caching ideas. However, these developments somehow were blocking out interactive use cases, as latency with HLS and Dash were too high to enable interactivity. We saw an increasing demand for real-time video based on low latency delivery, and started to pivot towards cloud technology and server-based interactive applications around 2015. This was when we created H5Live, our unique technology for live playback with ultra-low latency on all browsers at scale, which positioned us as pioneers in the field of real-time streaming. With the rise of streaming solutions, we started to see the traditional linear TV model decline, while online media gained more traction. This opened up new opportunities for content creation, particularly for businesses that wanted to interact more directly with their audiences. That’s when we decided to create our interactive live streaming platform, nanoStream Cloud, focusing on B2B and offering a complete, lightweight and easy to use API set to deliver real-time video. Live streaming continued to gain momentum, regardless of the platform – be it social video via Instagram or TikTok, or the emergence of new platforms for B2B. As a result, both consumers and businesses began incorporating daily streaming into their routines to connect with their audiences. However, the most significant development was yet to come.

nanoStream Live Player Infographic, 2015
nanoStream Live Player Infographic, 2015

Interaction via live stream everywhere, anytime

The pandemic of 2020 brought about a transformation in the way we consume online content. With restrictions preventing people from leaving their homes, online video content became a popular trend. Hybrid and virtual events also emerged as the new standard, with corporate meetings requiring thousands of employees from around the world to interact through streaming sessions. In addition, traditional physical businesses began exploring new online monetization strategies, leading to the increased popularity of iGaming and Sports Betting. Through this journey, we have had to push our boundaries even further to achieve 100% uptime, 24/7 operations, global reach and of course, the highest quality of service and experience as the audience has become even more demanding. After twenty five years we can say evolving from a codec company to a cloud-based real-time streaming platform leader has reflected the broader changes in the media landscape over the past two decades. The rise of the internet, digital video technologies, and the decline of linear TV has led to new opportunities and challenges for the industry. Our focus on reliable client partnerships and stability and light-weight software products has helped us remain at the forefront of the industry. Looking ahead, we are committed to creating new solutions that help businesses and audiences connect via live video and remain relevant in the ever-changing media landscape.  




Third and fourth from left: Oliver Lietz, Chris Strijbosch
CEO Oliver Lietz & VP Business Development Chris Strijbosch receiving the ICE Landmark Award 2023

nanocosmos offers nanoStream Cloud, the preferred choice for many interactive use cases when it comes to ultra-low latency live streaming. We invite you to read the linked articles below if you would like to dive a bit deeper into the topic of interactive live streaming.
25 years of innovation #Throwbacktime

Watch our documentary series on our YouTube – 1998 – How it all began

25 Years of innovation Interview with Oliver LIetz by the IABM

Delivering interactive content in real-time is a must, but new requirements have evolved Read more  

INDUSTRY Recognition – nanocosmos receives BAM award

At IBC 2023 IABM honors nanocosmos with the BAM Award in the category projects Read more

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