From 4-15 April 2018 GC2018 will welcome more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories. For GC2018 NEP Host Broadcast will provide HD television coverage from 18 venues along with the opening and closing ceremonies. NEP Host Broadcast is responsible for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), which is the nexus of all GC2018 broadcasting activity, handling incoming video and audio from the venues and distributing it to broadcast rights-holders’ home countries. NEP also won the contract to provide IBC and venue facilities for the Australian Rights Holder, the Seven Network. Recently when NEP needed to provide a solution for the Australian Rights Holder to transport multiple live HD signals over IP connections between various venues and the IBC, they turned to Digistor and Caton for the solution.
Digistor MD Andrew Mooney explained, “NEP was looking for a technology solution to transmit live camera signals from multiple stadiums and sports fields to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for production of the Games’ broadcast. The solution needed to be robust, flexible, quick and easy to install. We presented them with a variety of possible solutions but the Caton option was the clear winner.”
NEP’s requirements were to send 10 HD SDI video along with up to 8 audio channels from multiple remote venues back to the IBC whilst simultaneously sending HD SDI video and audio channels back from the IBC to each of the remote locations.
Caton Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan Gerald Wong added, “We had a 100Mb connection for each of these bi-directional circuits to work with. The conversion to digital video and transmission of HD high constant bitrate video and audio streams from the sport stadiums and sports fields to the IBC is critical for the production of the Games’ broadcast. The transmission must be in realtime without delay and in a video format suitable for fast moving sports action. We also had the challenge of transmitting over long distances on fibre and Internet networks.”
To meet NEP’s strict requirements Digistor designed an efficient, high performance solution using Caton’s Integrated Video Processor (IVP) which is able to encode and decode high bitrate and high framerate HD streams with very low latency. The Caton Engine powered by R2TP technology also ensured transmission would be successful over any distance and even over challenging networks.
Mooney added, “Caton, from the very first conversation, were extremely enthusiastic about the project and helped us perform a proof of concept (POC) with NEP. The POC was successful and we then worked with Caton on the logistics.”
In total Digistor will be suppling NEP with 20 Caton IVP-3000 video processors, each one fitted with a 422 H264 encoder and a 422 H264 decoder as well as the required SMIP Caton Engine module.
Gerald Wong continued, “This particular solution was chose by NEP because the high performance Caton Engine ensures the quality and availability of the video stream from the stadiums reaches the IBC in realtime. The excellent monitoring tools employed, willingness of Caton and Digistor to support the project and the ability to easily scale the solution up for the Games and scale down afterwards as required also played a big part.”
According to Mooney and So it’s not just the technology that’s critical when providing a solution of this complexity, pre-planning and onsite support are also key.
Mooney said, “Our Networking Engineer, Edward Shen, undertook extensive in-house testing of the Caton units to ensure they met NEP’s high standards and requirements. As well as undertaking the POC with NEP both Digistor and Caton will also be sending engineers to the Gold Coast to assist with the installation, setup and configuration of the units and we will also provide support throughout the Games.”
The fact that GC2018 will be one of the biggest sporting events of the year and that all eyes will be on how well the technology performs is a fact not lost on Gerald Wong who commented, “What’s interesting is that the IT and broadcast landscapes are ever-converging and we can see that here where the HD signals are being delivered over traditional IP circuits, not broadcast special links such as microwave or dedicated video circuits. Technology requirements are changing and in this instance being met by quick setup times, low bandwidth requirements, HD transmission and proactive monitoring.”
There is no doubt that the Caton solution for GC2018 will give these Games a technology edge and advantage like no other Games have had before.
Gerald Wong concluded, “The edge here is that lower cost IP circuits can be used with Caton encoders and decoders to provide very high quality yet cost effective means of delivering real time HD signals. This provides NEP and GC2018 with a truly high performance solution for broadcast transmission that is scalable and efficient from any, and to any, location. This clever solution also ensures NEP can transmit regardless of distance or challenging networks.”