Coverage of Winter Games Flirted With the IP Video Transition

(Left to right): Brandon Costa, Sports Video Group; Dan Robertson, Olympics Information Technology, NBC Olympics; Dave Ward, Cisco Systems; Benoît Quirynen, EVS; Sydney Lovely, Grass Valley, a Belden Brand.

Broadcast TV is well down the path to an all-IP transition, and much closer to realizing the agility that technology will bring, but the evolution is not quite complete.

A case in point was NBC Olympics’ recent coverage of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, which spanned more than 2,400 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable and digital outlets, including about 1,800 hours of live, internet streaming coverage.

Though the primary production is still baseband, a good portion of that work did leverage IP technologies and the proverbial cloud, Dan Robertson said during an event hosted by Cisco Systems.

While the main product/broadcast still uses baseband for in-country and at-home product, many of the “peripheral components” used, including digital, were IPbased, he said.

But it marked a step toward a full-IP ecosystem and architecture.

“The technology is there,” Benoît Quirynen, chief market officer, EVS, said, noting that his company is committed to an open architecture that can achieve all-IP.

“We pushed the envelope” with respect to remote production from PyeongChang, Robertson said. By that, he meant there was a massive effort to integrate productions from a vast number of Winter Games venues in South Korea to the International Broadcast Centre, where content was then shipped back to the United States.

However, he said that NBC Olympics faced, and overcame, a significant hurdle there that required NBC to stitch together its own equipment and software brought overseas with gear that had to be rented or acquired from third parties in South Korea.