NBC Olympics Relies on Omneon for Vancouver Games

NBC Olympics will once again make use of Omneon storage, processing and high-speed distribution platform technology for its live HD production workflow and to streamline delivery of all Internet and VOD content during the network’s coverage of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

“The footprint of digital media is expanding every day, and the impact of new media outlets has been significant, giving viewers a new way of interacting not only with media, but also with surrounding content in so many different ways,” says David Mazza, NBC Olympics, SVP, engineering. “Our Omneon- and EVS-based digital infrastructure is critical to rapid delivery of our Internet, mobile, and VOD content. The remarkably fast transcoding and delivery capabilities of the Omneon platform will allow us to create, process, and deliver media clips for multiplatform distribution with great speed and reliability.”

An Omneon MediaGrid active storage system at the NBC facility in Vancouver will be integrated with the high-performance EVS XT[2] production server to enable fast, seamless access to high volumes of HD media in live and near-live broadcast production. The Omneon MediaGrid system is a high-performance shared storage system featuring a massively scalable architecture capable of delivering petabytes of storage capacity combined with gigabytes per second of bandwidth. The Omneon MediaGrid system, which incorporates the new Xyratex HS-1235 converged storage server product, directly supports media production workflows by applying its grid-based computing power to the processing of stored content.

The Omneon MediaGrid also will leverage Omneon ProXchange to transcode edited content for rapid delivery via the Omneon ProCast CDN content distribution system to NBC’s “30 Rock” facilities, where a second Omneon MediaGrid system will be the media access point serving all of NBC’s new media delivery outlets.

Throughout the Vancouver Winter Games, the EVS XT[2] production server, along with the EVS IPDirector suite, including the IPEdit on-the-fly editing solution, will be used for HD live and near-live ingest, production, and playout. Feeds from host broadcaster Olympic Broadcaster Services Vancouver (OBS) as well as NBC-created feeds will be recorded on the XT[2] servers in Avid DNxHD codecs and made available on the 144-TB Omneon MediaGrid system as self-contained MXF OP1a files through XTAccess, the EVS intelligent gigabit Ethernet network gateway. Operators also will be able to capture and manipulate video from the Omneon MediaGrid system for production and playout.

Omneon ProXchange will leverage the advanced grid-based architecture of the Omneon MediaGrid system and transcode finished clips and packages into Sony XDCAM HD422- compatible 50-Mbit long GOP files at faster-than-real-time speeds. The Omneon ProCast CDN will then transport media nearly 3,000 miles over dedicated AT&T OC-12 circuit to the 36-TB Omneon MediaGrid system in New York. NBC’s MICAH internal distribution system will use the New York Omneon MediaGrid system to stage all content being repurposed and distributed through NBCOlympics.com, mobile providers, EST outlets, and the network’s SD and HD VOD services. Equipped with Omneon ProXchange, this Omneon MediaGrid system also can provide file transcoding as needed.

NBCOlympics.com will provide coverage of more than 400 hours of live competition events from Vancouver. In addition, the site will offer more than 1,000 hours of on-demand access to full-event replays from broadcast and host-feed coverage of all 15 sports on the Winter Games program, as well as extensive highlights such as event recaps, best-of montages, commentator analyses, and athlete-specific clips. Powered by Microsoft Silverlight technology, the video player will present video in stunning HD quality and offer DVR-style controls (allowing users to pause and rewind live Olympics video coverage), enhanced navigation and more. By comparison, during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, NBC streamed two hours of live action from the men’s gold medal hockey game to NBCOlympics.com, mostly as a back-end test.

“Through its broadcasts of succeeding Olympic Games, NBC has consistently found innovative ways to provide viewers with ever-more dynamic and engaging access to media and related information focused on individual athletes and events,” says Geoff Stedman, senior vice president of marketing and business development, Omneon. “For the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Omneon storage, processing, and content distribution technologies once again will play a key role in the network’s provisioning of high-quality multiplatform coverage.”

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