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Staying ahead of the game: How Vena enables the future for TVOB

Our market leading TV Outside Broadcast (TVOB) solutions and Vena, our intelligent media platform, deliver real-time, high-quality content through on-demand connectivity.

BT has consistently helped move content seamlessly from venue to desired destination. From delivering the first international sporting event in 4K in 2013, to the rollout of live broadcasting using a 5G private network at a Rugby Premiership match in 2022.


For several years within TVOB, we’ve been offering a range of connectivity services including fully remote productions. In 2023 alone, we were able to deliver over 250 rugby matches in the UK, with over 3000 visions over the season, as well as all UK based UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League matches for UK host broadcasters and international rights holders.


The launch of Vena in 2021 marked a pivotal moment, offering a next-generation media platform which intelligently connects media chains. By introducing Vena, our commitment to deliver cutting-edge solutions and improve customer experience became the main motive behind retiring the UK Media Network (UKMN) on 30 November 2024.


Vena is a multi-million-pound investment and one of BT’s flagship projects, having been built on 70 years of practical experience as a broadcaster and global broadcast network operator. Vena brings not only the flexibility of a cloud-like service and the reliability of a dedicated broadcast network but provides us with the capability to support new formats quickly and easily as and when they are adopted.


In the second part of this blog series, we caught up with Benjamin Webster, Senior Product Manager for Occasional Use Services, to delve into what BT Media and Broadcast’s Vena platform means for TV Outside Broadcast and how it’s benefitting our customers.

Can you tell us about BT’s current TVOB platform?

“Today we provide a range of Outside Broadcast solutions to our partners and customers. Whether delivering from venues where we have fixed connectivity, to remote locations with our satellite truck fleet, our extensive fibre network is key.” says Benjamin Webster.


“We deliver services for major events such as the top football leagues in the UK, Horse Racing and Rugby, which has historically been underpinned by the UKMN or what we call Next Gen TVOB. With the connectivity reach we have; we are fundamental to enabling high bandwidth remote production for sports and entertainment events across the UK.”


Talking about the services we have historically provided in TVOB, Benjamin adds “historically, we were able to provide broadcast services such as J2K, ASI, SDI or uncompressed video, but with fairly limited capability in terms of lighting up the connectivity to a particular venue.


Benjamin explains, “With the launch of our Vena platform in 2021, we initially migrated the rugby venues on the UKMN onto Vena, increasing the network capacity into the venues to enable more video services to be booked from these locations. The continuous development of Vena has meant we have been able to successfully operate in rugby stadiums across the UK and the next phase is to migrate racecourses nationwide, which is due to complete early this year”.

What does Vena mean for TVOB and how does this benefit our customers?

Benjamin explains, “The Vena platform has been built to meet the evolving needs of the media industry, and in turn, allows our Outside Broadcast services to leverage the intelligence and flexibility of Vena. We now have the ability to offer more advanced media services from venues than ever before with the likes of JPEGXS, SDI, ASI, H.264 & H.265 alongside data and internet-based services. Utilising JPEGXS across our network allows us to provide visually lossless encoded video format elevating picture quality with stronger utilisation of network bandwidth, and as part of our sustainability goals we can now run a variety of services, HD to UHD, all from the same equipment. The flexibility of formats being provided with minimal notice which is critical in a production environment.”


“Our services become more resilient than ever before, with rapid re-routing of services across the network and a path computation engine to diversely route services. This will enable us to build more venues onto our core network making it more time-effective and cost-efficient at the same time. The average time for us to now provision an increase in service capability from a venue, for what could be a major one-off event, has gone from weeks to hours.” Benjamin adds.


“We are as focused as ever on enhancing customer experiences whilst performing substantial reliability of services. Vena is the real driver of being able to do this. We will be migrating remaining UKMN TVOB services onto Vena this year of which our customers will be part of this

enablement too, bringing more access capacity that we have had before and enabling customers to book an increase in services.”

Why BT Media and Broadcast?

“Now more than ever we are able to integrate more elements of the media supply chain. With our contribution services, bringing live content into our network from venues across the country, this is the starting point of acquiring content to feed into your end-to-end media supply chain”.


Benjamin continues to add. “Whether you need to send content to BT Tower via Vena, to your remote operating centre or your studios, we can now facilitate this with better flexibility and higher access capacity from venues driving more potential for broadcast of major events.”


Currently, our TVOB services can help you broadcast from wherever you are. Plus, our remote production capabilities offer flexibility to support your broadcasts no matter the level of equipment or on-site engineers. Vena draws on more than 70 years global broadcasting experience, and by migrating our services onto our intelligent media platform, we're adding more potential and increasing the capability of our Outside Broadcasting proposition.


To discover more about how Vena can give your TVOB operations a foundation fit for the future, you can
contact us here or visit our website: Outside broadcast - Content capture - Solutions | BT Media & Broadcast

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