It’s not often that improvements in technology make something not only easier to accomplish, but less expensive too. However, that’s precisely the case with the low-latency digital-transmission solutions now available to sport and media organisations looking to produce and broadcast more live events from remote locations.
“Until now, a satellite truck, on-site production equipment and a host of skilled people were needed to broadcast live events,” says Malcolm Harland, Managing Director of UK-based digital solutions provider Garland. “Connectivity limitations and the delay in delivering live video globally meant that the final produced programme needed to be done at the event location before being broadcast for onward delivery to the home site.
“But that’s all now changed with technological innovations such as wireless transmission over multiple global 4G cellular networks and ultra-low latency delivery. Now, if you want to showcase an event far from your home base, technology within reach financially is making it easier, with less equipment and fewer people needed onsite.”
Charlton Athletic Football Club provides an excellent example of this new technology being put to use by an organisation where budget was a consideration. The club travelled to Ireland as part of its pre-season tour and, for the first time, streamed live game coverage to its fans. It was an option that had previously been financially impossible for the club given the high cost of hiring a broadcast truck. The use of solutions from LiveU made it not only fit within their budget constraints, but also allowed them to broadcast with the level of quality they knew their fans were expecting. By using cellular networks, the club also did not have to depend on local connectivity.
“Using LiveU broadcast kits, we were able to beam back two camera feeds from Ireland to a gallery in London where a final feed could be mixed with graphics, replays and VT links,” says Steve Adamson, Audio Visual Content Editor at Charlton.
By keeping production “at home” in a centralised studio, you can gain savings in many ways and will find logistics are easier, too. You not only reduce the number of staff and trucks involved, but you save on the costs and time associated with personnel travel and equipment rentals/purchase and shipping. Once at the event site, you’ll find that setup will be far more efficient as no camera cables need to be run.
Sky Sports provides another example of an organisation that has been using the latest innovations to streamline their production workflows and save money — money it can then re-invested into programming and improving the experience for its viewers. By deploying low- latency encoders from NTT, they’ve been able to manage in real time in their London headquarters the production of sporting events taking place the US. Sky Sports can now add to their impressive list of global live tournaments those events that they previously found to lack commercial viability to do live.
“Sports viewers are among the most discerning when it comes to the quality of video,” says Gordon Roxburgh, Technical Manager at Sky Sports. “We want to continue be the leader in providing this audience with the highest calibre coverage. Garland was able to provide us with a solution that not only improves the quality, but is more efficient.”
“When you’re flying tonnes of cargo around the world, the motivation is clear to find better ways of making it efficient,” said James Clement, Sky Sports’ Head of Operations, when speaking at a seminar at last year’s BVE 2016 conference for broadcasters.
Back at Charlton Athletic, they hope to expand their use of remote production to cover more activity throughout the season. “But for now,” says Adamson, “on a personal level, remote broadcasting is another thing to tick off the list of achievements.”
About Garland Partners Limited
Garland Partners Limited is an established UK company working with leading suppliers of digital video streaming and IPTV solutions to deliver professional, end-to-end systems for many applications, including Internet TV, mobile TV, IPTV, and broadcast services. The company focuses on meeting customers’ system requirements, providing a full package of technical and commercial support with the best available products. Customers range in size and application, and Garland’s strength is its flexibility in matching the right technology to client needs. For more information, visit Garland at www.gpl-uk.co.uk.