Level 3 VenueNet Looks To Change the Game of Remote Transmission

Level 3 Communications spent its NAB squarely focused on the expansion of the Vyvx VenueNet+ network to all NFL and NHL venues this year and to NBA and MLB venues next year. The network will provide fiber transmission links and encoding equipment at the venues, based on Cisco technology, so that networks and leagues can more easily set up two-way pipes between a venue and network-operations center.

Upgrades will include support for 1080p HD video services with native uncompressed HD-SDI customer handoffs and support for the next generation of 3-Gbps HD services.

“This enables us to hand off an uncompressed signal, if the client wants, without requiring encoders in the remote-production truck,” says Mark Taylor, VP of product delivery and strategy content. “But just as exciting as the video transport is high-speed data, as clients have struggled to get broadband connectivity at venues.”

Each venue will feature a “white panel,” where the client will tap into video, data, and voice services, and a “blue panel,” located in the venue telco room where the Cisco devices will be located.

Taylor says that, by providing pipes that can deliver at least 150 Mbps, Level 3 will be able to open up new workflows, including delivery of melt reels at the end of a game and also moving video and other files between venues to provide highlights from around a league to fans in an arena or stadium.

“Some of the workflows will change when our clients realize they can do things that may not be obvious today,” says Taylor.

One of those changes is embracing transport of uncompressed signals. Taylor says that, although improvements in video quality between a 270-Mbps compressed signal and a 1.5-Gbps uncompressed signal may not be noticeable, a pristine, uncompressed video and audio feed will offer other improvements. “For sports networks and leagues that want to remove as much latency as possible, the uncompressed signal will be attractive. It also means no artifacts have been introduced into the signal, so postproduction work is improved.

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