On 8 November, our Head of TV Outside Broadcast (TVOB), Neil Huggins, took to the stage to speak at the Connected Stadium Summit at the Amsterdam ArenA.
The event focused on future-proofing technology investments and enhancing the fan experience in large venues, a key issue in sports clubs and arenas around the world. While other presenters touched on the issue of improving the fans’ experience inside the stadium, as broadcast pioneers, our focus was on taking the high-quality live content from inside the stadium straight to TV screens.
Neil kicked off his presentation by addressing the issues that are driving change in the broadcast and telecoms market. These included:
- examples of the huge inflation for content rights
- the threat from digital entrants such as Facebook, who are now bidding for content rights
- evolving formats from SD through to UHD and beyond
- the move to IP and data enhanced broadcasts
- broadcasters seeking to enhance content with Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Virtual Reality (AVR) and third screen becoming more prominent
- the squeeze on broadcast budgets.
How Media & Broadcast’s next-generation network can help
After addressing these areas, Neil was able to demonstrate how we’re helping customers to deal with these changes. “Our next-generation TVOB uses optical networks which reduces the number of decoders and encoders, in turn reducing the level of expenditure. Bandwidth is substituted for compression equipment which gives us and our customers a number of advantages, including: less equipment needed; easier upgrade paths; capacity delivered over the same fibre; ability to easily delivery UHD – all delivered by working with proven technology vendors.”
To give further insight into how our TVOB network can deliver this, Neil spoke about the power behind it, using recent case studies. In addition to the solution we’ve been delivering for Premier League Productions (PLP) since the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season, this year we delivered the UEFA Champions League Final and the IAAF World Championships. What has that entailed?
- PLP – up to 20 uncompressed HD services, four compressed HD services and 20+20Gbps into each venue. We provided more HD video, data and UHD services from each venue.
- Champions League Final – a mixture of services (HD, UHD and UHD HDR), contended and uncontended data and video services delivered over our BT Global Media Network. We also installed a dedicated infrastructure just for this event with 10+10Gbps capacity.
- IAAF World Championships – provided multiple broadcast, data connectivity, voice and audio services for multiple customers, interconnected via BT Tower.
We want our customers to be able to take their content where they want it to go, the way they want it. That’s why we’re always investing in networks, infrastructures and next-generation broadcast technology. In the past six months, we’ve doubled the capacity at venues to 80Gbps. Our plans for the future will see expansion to 100Gbps waves, remote production, more UK domestic venues and international expansion.