As broadcasters migrate to a more ubiquitous IP transport and switching network infrastructure, a key benefit is that the variable expenditures of remote on-site live productions can be dramatically reduced, as it is no longer necessary to carry the high field costs associated with these activities. The broadcast studio can now be seamlessly connected to the remote venue via burgeoning fibre networks as if both were in adjacent rooms, meaning less resources and kit on-site, with production located back at home base. The term "leave the truck at home\" may be an appropriate description.
Up until recently, remote production over IP has been difficult due to the lack of last mile bandwidth to the venues, however, this is changing rapidly. Carriers have made significant in-roads to improving connectivity and fibre now connects most of our towns and cities, including our stadiums.
This infrastructure in combination with Media Links\' MD8000 solution, which enables high quality video, audio and data to be transported either uncompressed or compressed using JPEG2000 now makes remote production over IP a reality. Based on the customer\'s available bandwidth, the bit rate can be adjusted on each of the required streams - with an end-to-end latency under 100ms to move content from the venue to the production studios and back to the venue. The encoding process enables lower bit rates while also maintaining pristine image quality and reducing the amount of bandwidth consumed across the network. Hitless switching for video, audio and data is ensured through two identical output streams routed over separate paths to a single destination, where any errors on one stream are avoided by immediately switching to the other, preventing packet loss during event and production.
In reality, this kind of workflow can enable significant costs to be saved on shipping technology and sending staff to numerous venues in different countries and continents. It is this model that was recently used to supply coverage of ski jumping, alpine skiing and biathlon from various remote locations for live transmission by two prominent broadcasters based in Germany and Austria.
Working with our partner VIDI GmbH, Media Links\' MD8000 IP transport solutions and a network monitoring system were supplied to enable the transmission of this year\'s winter sports coverage in Germany. VIDI provided a small OB van equipped with an MD8000 and fibre capacity was arranged from the various remote winter sport event locations to the broadcasters\' studios. An MD8000 was also installed at each studio.
This configuration enabled the production crews to capture their own content from the competitions. The OB engineer received the separate live HD streams while Media Links\' MD8000 enabled the transport of the content over the fibre networks to the studios in Germany and Austria for live transmission. The MD8000 also provides a return path for signals including data and file transfer. The result was seamless live remote production over IP.
More information about Media Links as well as its MD8000 media over IP transport solution at: www.medialinks.com.