Betting Industry Transformed by Video Technology


Chris Thornton TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

In the betting and gaming industry, the streaming of live sports from across the globe is a big business. It’s proven that revenues increase when bettors are able to watch the event that they have placed a bet on, providing a far more engaging experience.

At Sports Information Services (SIS), we transmit in excess of 620,000 hours of live sports content every year to countries as far away as Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, from more than 18 linear satellite and OTT channels; all from studios in Milton Keynes and Manchester.

For us, the latency from live event to customer screen is the most important factor in everything we do. Milliseconds count because any delay means the integrity of our content can be in jeopardy. Not only that, consumers can gain unfair advantages if they bet on content before it arrives in a retail outlet or online.

Satellite technology has served a great purpose in delivering content from around the world, however it does add unwanted delays to proceedings. In previous times, we sent satellite trucks using MPEG2 encoding in order to deliver live pictures from race courses and greyhound tracks, as the high cost of bandwidth meant it was one of only a few available codecs.

However, this is all changing. Using Jpeg2000 encoding/decoding from on-course using a direct fibre connection keeps the latency down below 200 milliseconds. Plus, taking that content in as 1080P means that the quality of streaming isn’t compromised. Progressive scan was chosen for our new SIS Greyhound Service to ensure that slow motion replays did not suffer from the judder associated with interlace scan. It all adds for a better end product for our customers, and let’s not forget, the customer is the most important person in any business.

Although low latency and high-quality content does benefit the customer, ultimately it does come at a cost. As a result, SIS has been focusing on automating a great deal of its broadcast operations to reduce overheads and provide a cost-effective solution to our customers. Our linear channels have a very similar feel to rolling news channels, where each hour is split into repeatable sections of content which can be pre-planned and scheduled. As such, we tap into some of the automation principles which have been used across the TV News industry for many years. Traditional back-end broadcast equipment such as vision mixers, sound desks and graphics machines, are now triggered by data, rather than an operator. This automation system is built in house, which gives us greater flexibility when it comes to adapting to customer requests and changes. It means our resources move from operators to programmers, but still keeping the editorial control required, and the quality of our channels is not compromised.

When it comes to technology we don’t like single points of failure. As with any live broadcaster, resilience is paramount and any disruption to our services is not tolerated. The IT principles of 99.99% up time is irrelevant, as broadcasters are looking for 100% up time. This is a key difference in mentality between broadcast engineers and IT engineers, and will need to be tackled as we start to share more and more technologies. Where possible, redundant paths and systems are installed with automatic switch over should video or audio loss occur. We also ensure we work with broadcast partners who can provide robust hardware and quick turnaround of spares.

Over the past five years, there has been a noticeable increase in companies offering prosumer equipment to the broadcast market. You only need to walk around trade shows such as IBC or NAB to see that one of the largest stands is usually taken up by one of these companies. It’s an area that we have experimented in, but we found that the return on investment is not there. The old proverb of ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is very much relevant.

So, what does the future hold for video technology in the betting industry? What we can be sure of, is that any developments will be led by customer demand, as ultimately, they want super quick turnaround from new idea, to delivery on their TVs/screens. One area that we’re particularly excited about is cloud technology and believe it will be a real game changer for us and our customers. Within the broadcast industry, the typical 6-8 weeks lead time on hardware, which then needs installing, commissioning, and testing, is too long. The speed of delivery if we simply spin up another instance in the cloud, will mean we can really start to deliver solutions in days, rather than months. There are still some individuals that are yet to be convinced that the use of the cloud is achievable with live broadcast video. However, we have seen several early stage demonstrations of the use of cloud technology, and it performs very well.

There are challenges, but as is always the case when embracing new technologies, there’s always a solution to overcome such hurdles.

For instance, who would have thought even 15 years ago that we would be using an off the shelf PC to drive a vision mixer, or put graphics to air via an SDI PCIe card. These things became a reality, and so will live broadcast production in the cloud. The challenge for the betting industry is getting the latency down to acceptable levels.

Above all, it is innovation of technological solutions which sets us apart from our competitors. Ensuring broadcast solutions are not over engineered, but also giving the customer exactly what they want for the best possible cost, is a key factor.


Tags: iss131 | sis | betting | latency | satellite | jpeg2000 | Chris Thornton
Contributing Author Chris Thornton

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

  • SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

    SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

  • SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

    SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

  • SIS LIVE at IBC2011

    SIS LIVE at IBC2011

  • Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

    Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

  • ChyronHego Live Assist Panels shown at NAB 2019

    ChyronHego Live Assist Panels shown at NAB 2019

  • Mediaproxy LogServer for compliance monitoring and analysis at NAB 2019

    Mediaproxy LogServer for compliance monitoring and analysis at NAB 2019

  • SIS LIVE with Anylive Fibre Network at IBC 2018

    SIS LIVE with Anylive Fibre Network at IBC 2018

  • Eco Express Expansion Chassis from Sonnet at IBC 2017

    Eco Express Expansion Chassis from Sonnet at IBC 2017

  • SIS Live Anylive and Gateway Service Platform at IBC 2017

    SIS Live Anylive and Gateway Service Platform at IBC 2017

  • IP, 3G-SDI + HDR generation, analysis and monitoring from Phabrix NAB 2017

    IP, 3G-SDI + HDR generation, analysis and monitoring from Phabrix NAB 2017

  • SIS LIVE at IBC 2016

    SIS LIVE at IBC 2016

  • SIS LIVE at IBC 2015

    SIS LIVE at IBC 2015

  • SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

    SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

  • NETIA Media Assist at NAB 2015

    NETIA Media Assist at NAB 2015

  • Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

    Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

  • SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVEs Mark Shadbolt on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVEs Mark Shadbolt on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sisvel Technology at IBC2011

    Sisvel Technology at IBC2011

  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

  • Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Bridge Technologies PocketProbe App at NAB 2013

    Bridge Technologies PocketProbe App at NAB 2013

  • Adder show super low latency 4k KVM with Autodesk at IBC 2019

    Adder show super low latency 4k KVM with Autodesk at IBC 2019

  • CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

    CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

  • Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

    Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

    Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

    Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

  • Haivision at IBC2011

    Haivision at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Day 4 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 4 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
Taking a Stand at IBC - The Future of Exhibiting Clouds
Julian Wright If you’re reading KitPlus you probably don’t need us to tell you that, each year, the IBC Show attracts 1,700 exhibitors, each parting with a significant sum of money for the privilege of touting their wares from the darkened halls for five whole days. For the last eight years Blue Lucy has been one of these exhibitors and the show has always more than paid for itself in generating new business, as well as the less directly-tangible benefits from partnerships and networking opportunities.
Tags: iss140 | blue lucy | ibc | cloud | iabm | Julian Wright
Contributing Author Julian Wright Click to read
MEDIAPRO leads across the audiovisual value chain
Marc Andreu Valls

MEDIAPRO is a leading independent production company in Europe’s audiovisual market. Offering a full slate of technical and creative services, our portfolio includes everything from content production, to post production, to media and digital asset management, to the acquisition of sports TV rights, and the distribution and broadcast of television channels. We currently have 58 offices spread across 36 countries on four continents.

Tags: iss141 | signiant | mediapro | media shuttle | transport | Marc Andreu Valls
Contributing Author Marc Andreu Valls Click to read
Get Your KitPlus On - The KitPlus Show MediaCityUK 2019
KitPlus A record number exhibitors, ready to demonstrate leading products, services, and technologies from more than 100 brands – many for the first time - will be on hand at the ninth annual KitPlus Show Manchester, taking place at MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, on 5 November.
Tags: iss140 | kitplusshow | cherry wallis | alex pettitt | chris pearless | matt lees | shut up sit down | neil thompson | fx9 | venice | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
Complex Live Streaming At Scale
KitPlus On Saturday September 14th in the Content Everywhere Hub Theater at IBC, Zixi hosted a panel featuring partners and customers who have integrated with and utilized the Emmy-winning Zixi software for contribution and distribution of live video over managed and un-managed internet connections.
Tags: iss140 | zixi | streaming | video transport | ip | zen master | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Class: Pragmatism In Engineering
Bruce Devlin - new A couple of years ago, Hermann Popp from ARRI came to me and talked about putting MXF in ST 2110. My initial take away was that his proposal felt like exactly the right way to solve the problem he presented, but was completely counter-intuitive to the IP Engineering purists who would push back on the concept of double wrapping the content.
Tags: iss140 | mxf | st2110 | smpte | hermann popp | ip | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read