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From increasing investments in live sports production and OTT delivery platforms to the growth of market segments such as remote production and esports, the sports broadcast industry is evolving in very dynamic ways and Grass Valley has it covered in its NAB exhibit.
“Broadcasters and media organizations want flexibility and scalability to create, manage and deliver unmatched viewing experiences to consumers across a wider range of platforms,” explains Mark Hilton – VP Live Production Product Unit, Grass Valley. “This is why our focus for NAB Show 2019 is to promote how this can be achieved in a number of areas that are of growing importance to our sports customers – OB production, venues, remote production, esports and IP.
As sports fans expect more high quality, richly immersive viewing experiences, the pressure is on OB companies to meet increasingly complex live production requirements while delivering stunning images. Grass Valley says it’s helping OB companies future-proof their businesses and leverage the greater flexibility and efficiency needed to support mission critical live productions.
“We have already seen major OB providers and broadcasters – including Canal+, RTL, Timeline and Arena among others – make major investments in IP-based infrastructure to deliver the scale affording with an IP infrastructure for live workflow,” says Hilton. “Visitors to NAB will get a first-hand look at how we deliver scalable, future-oriented IP solutions – from cameras to processing platforms – that revolutionize the OB environment, optimizing it to meet the insatiable consumer appetite for live sporting content. We will also be highlighting significant improvements to our replay workflows and capabilities for OB applications.”
Grass Valley recently collaborated with ChyronHego to deliver an integrated graphics creation and switching solution for sports arenas. Designed for complex venue productions, this single-point-of-control solution allows a technical director to switch shows with game-in-progress graphics delivered simultaneously to multiple displays – including LED ribbon boards, scoreboards and concourse/concession screens – all in a simple, repeatable manner.
“This tight integration between graphics and switchers is unprecedented – and it’s how we see the control for live production graphics moving forward,” says Hilton. “Coupled with the fact that this integrated graphics solution is based on key emerging technologies – such as HDR, WCG and IP-based workflows – it puts us in a very strong market position. Technical directors now have more control and greater efficiencies in fast-paced high-pressure live arena production environments.
Grass Valley claims to be the only manufacturer that delivers an all IP communication between a camera and base station. At NAB it will demonstrate how it is pushing the boundaries of true remote production solutions.
“With our unique DirectIP solution, we have the proven ability to deliver uncompressed HD, UHD and SlowMotion camera signals as far as 20,000km,” says Hilton. “The widespread availability of typical IP network speeds of 100 GbE are proving to be a game changer for the transport and switching of uncompressed 4K UHD and HD ensuring high reliability and low latency. This has paved the way for centralized, remote production for sporting events over IP.”
For bandwidth constrained applications, the DirectIP+ solution leverages a partnership with Net Insight to provide a J2K link between GV camera head and base stations.
The Belden-owned company is also targeting esports and has previously supplied Riot Games, FACEIT to Blizzard Arena. A claimed NAB first will be a dedicated area of the GV booth featuring a live esports demonstration. “This will give viewers a taste of a full-scale competition environment and the broadcast experience,” he says. “The demonstration will be integral to Grass Valley’s live equipment workflow, using the same solutions currently deployed for several esports league broadcasts.”
With the rate of IP adoption rising with more major sports broadcasters, OB companies and service providers now forging ahead with IP projects – or making concrete plans to do so in the coming months, Grass Valley says it has more open-standard deployments than any other vendor.
“We deliver flexible, tailor-made IP solutions to meet our customers’ specific needs – from equipment only to full turnkey commissioning,” Hilton says. “Our IP solutions are built on standard COTS hardware and switches, enabling our customers to benefit from flexible, scalable, format agnostic architecture that gives them the agility to meet the challenges of the current mediascape head on.”
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