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Haivision and NBC during the Rio 2016 Olympics

NBC Relies on Haivision Encoders for Remote Production at Olympics

Sports Video Group’s Jason Dachman has penned a great behind-the-scenes series on NBC’s operations for the Rio Olympics. It offers a glimpse into an impressive production supported by more than 1,000 people working out of their newly launched Sports Production Operations Center (SPOC) in Stamford, CT.

Haivision has been working closely with NBC to provide remote production workflows powered by our Makito X H.264 encoders and decoders. Chris Connolly, director, transmission engineering at NBC, goes into more detail in this article about how our low-latency HD encoders transport return feeds and remote monitoring feeds from the Rio venues to their home studios in Stamford.

An except from the article follows below, and you can read the entire article on the Sports Video Group website.

The Connectivity Backbone: Four 10-Gig Pipes NBC’s Rio and Stamford operations are connected via four 10-Gbps fiber circuits (10G essentially has a full backup, making 20G of usable bandwidth) and a 45-Mbps back satellite circuit via NSS 806 (Intelsat 806). Between the MPEG, J2K, and IP HD video feeds, more than 130 HD paths are leaving Rio, most landing in Stamford. More than 30 paths are leaving Stamford, along with dozens more paths sent to iStreamPlanet for streaming…

NBC Olympics is also using Haivision Makito encoder/decoder systems for non-contribution quality video/audio feeds to and from the venues that allow Stamford control rooms to view feeds directly from Rio venues. These units deliver secure, low latency, HD video over NBC’s venue data networks at extremely low bitrates for the multi-viewer return of sources available at venue.

NBC Broadcast Center

Photo: Inside the Broadcast Operations Center in Stamford – Sports Video Group

In addition, program feeds are delivered to commentators, so they can respond to graphics inserted from the control rooms. The engineering team installed a frame of encoder blades in the Rio and Stamford IBCs, which were fed with the Program Output feed of the local control rooms. The encoders are connected to the NBC IT network for distribution to the venues. At the venues, a decoder appliance is connected to the network and is configured to decode the correct control room feed and deliver the HD/SDI feed to the venue distribution system.

“In certain venues we have access to multiple feeds but because of costs we don’t want to use a large amount of resources to bring all those feeds back,” says Connolly. “So we put a Blackmagic [Design] switcher out in Rio that we will then take the output of that switcher and control it from here and that’s what gives us our feed. We use Haivision [encoder/decoders] to bring back a multiview of all those feeds. It gives us the ability to look at it in almost real time. Because of the speed of the Haivision, it’s not drastically behind anything else we have with the J2K [compression]. And then we also are using Haivision to bring back a couple feeds that we’re streaming online.”

Other paths land directly at 30 Rock; at Golf Channel in Orlando; at Telemundo in Hialeah, FL; and at NBC’s Dry Creek facility in Centennial, CO. As always, NBC’s “shortest path to air” philosophy means that on-air transmission paths do not daisy-chain through multiple NBC facilities, except in the case of emergency circuit restoration.

For the full article or to read the rest of the series, visit Sports Video Group. If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact our sales engineers to set up your own live video workflows.

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