SVG TranSPORT: IP Production Workflows Lead Conversation In Front of Packed House

By Brandon Costa, Senior Editor, and Karen Hogan, Senior Editor

The transmission, contribution, and backhaul industry has enjoyed a year full of advances and innovation, and, at SVG’s TranSPORT event Tuesday in New York City, more than 150 attendees and technology leaders gathered to discuss the latest challenges and best practices in satellite, fiber, and cellular transport, HEVC compression, and 4K and multiplatform delivery.

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Michael Harabin (left) and Scott Adametz discussed Pac-12 Networks’ IP production model at SVG’s TranSPORT event on Tuesday afternoon.

The event was highlighted by a Keynote Case Study presentation by Pac-12 Networks’ Scott Adametz, director, system architecture and technology, and Michael Harabin, VP, technology and engineering, who pulled back the curtain on the network’s innovative IP-based production workflow. Based completely on an Internet 2 infrastructure, the production model has allowed Pac-12 Networks to produce more than 800 events live while reducing the need for large trucks and traveling production teams.

“We couldn’t live competing with resources like crews, satellite trucks, mobile units, or fiber capacity, so we had to come up with an idea,” said Harabin. “We had two main objectives: reduce production costs while improving production values.

“Our goal is to honor the student athletes and make them look good,” he continued. “It’s not always achievable in the world of TV, but IP makes that a little easier.”

Before Adametz and Harabin took the stage to discuss Pac-12 Networks’ campus-to-campus fiber network, however, TranSPORT kicked off with an overview of the latest in satellite and fiber transmission and where sports and media organizations are choosing to spend their budgets. Top broadcasters and vendor execs weighed in on what data means to the industry today and how they expect that to change in the future.

With an eye on future-looking technologies, TranSPORT examines the role of HEVC in content distribution and contribution. A wide range of technology vendors debate the place of HEVC in contribution networks, consider the issues surrounding HEVC’s royalty rates and maturation, and touch on up-and-coming market-disrupting technologies and whether full-bandwidth HD-SDI will become the norm.

Next on the docket is IP and the growth of “at-home” productions. Sports broadcasters clearly are ready to embrace IP production to enable at-home workflows, cutting costs and reducing onsite resources by connecting the remote production with the power of the broadcast center. Panelists offer insight into how Big Ten Network, ESPN, Pac-12 Networks, SEC Network, TWC Sports, Univision, and many others are boosting their production capabilities by embracing this model.

As broadcasters, college teams, and sports venues look to up the production ante with unique, behind-the-scenes shots, cellular-bond technology is certainly having its moment as an affordable alternative to traditional broadcast cameras. Bonded-cellular vendors take center stage to offer attendees the latest on their gear and how it is changing the way that sports content is produced and delivered.

No conversation on future-looking transmission technologies would be complete without an update on 4K/UHD delivery to the home. BT Sport UHD in Europe, SKY Perfect 4K in Japan, and Rogers 4K TV in Canada have all made headlines in recent months, but obstacles remain in delivering widespread 4K/UHD to the home. Cable and satellite operators sit in on a frank conversation to discuss how they are dealing with these challenges and what is needed to make 4K/UHD delivery to the home a reality.

TranSPORT wraps up this evening with a look at transmission over the public Internet, which is increasingly popular for live sports productions looking to save costs while maintaining acceptable quality. Broadcasters and vendor execs on the day’s final panel chat about how contribution and transmission over the public Internet are changing the industry and debate whether major sports broadcasters and content producers will ever rely on these workflows for high-profile events.

Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org this week for continuing coverage from SVG’s TranSPORT.

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