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Video Streaming Fitness Classes – Couch Potatoes Need Not Apply

Nabil Kanaan

Written by:
December 18th, 2018

Immersive virtual fitness experience and the API-based customizable multi-device Bitmovin Player at ClassPass

When a leading group fitness company, ClassPass, looked to expand its reach beyond the rapid rate of growth of its physical locations and partner network, it went on a quest for a virtual, immersive video-delivered experience – that later became the ClassPass Live offering.

How did the ClassPass team develop this offering, and what was it about the Bitmovin Player that enabled ClassPass Live to achieve its goals? Read on.

The production environment that the ClassPass Live team dealt with consisted of classes produced in Brooklyn, NY, that needed to be captured with a number of cameras, encoded using an on-premise encoder, and transmitted to the cloud for transcoding into the HLS format. A cloud provider CDN was then used to distribute the content to the devices.

The user experience on the subscriber side consisted not only of video playback covering the live or on-demand class, but also a heart-rate monitor that was monitoring the subscriber biometrics and sending the data back to the cloud. That enabled the ClassPass Live application to show a competitive leaderboard, real-time heart rate, target heart rate zones, as well as calories burned.

Very importantly, the user experience that the team was targeting was a “large screen” immersive experience that was consistently applicable across mobile platforms to achieve the widest reach possible. This “large screen” requirement resulted in the playback happening on a desktop computer, or on a TV through a Chromecast device.

The Bitmovin Web Player and the Bitmovin Android / iOS SDK’s were chosen for their unified API approach, which streamlined development by avoiding the need for specialized development on separate player stacks. The customizable user interface across the platforms also offered the ability to create the interactive UI specific to ClassPass’ needs.  Bitmovin Analytics was also seen to be complementary to the players to provide ClassPass insights into usage. Analytics data provided by Bitmovin technology integrates into a wider system with other tools, and includes such quality of experience data as buffering experienced on the player side.

ClassPass is now scaling its classes through its virtual classes offered by ClassPass Live, as well as its continued physical presence growth organically and through partners.

Download the Case Study