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BSkyB deploys StreamBox

19 October 2006

BSkyB will be deploying the Streambox ACT-L3 newsgathering system at its Sky News bureaus to increase the depth, quality, and timeliness of breaking news coverage from even the most remote locations.

“With a compact and rugged design, advanced video compression, and ability to transport high-quality pictures over a variety of low-bandwidth IP networks, the Streambox solution gives our newsgathering staff much greater flexibility in delivering live coverage from around the globe” said Sky News technology executive Bevan Gibson. “Using this flexible, yet powerful kit, our first response teams will be able to get set up quickly and transmit better-quality pictures, faster than before, as events unfold.”

With the move to Streambox systems, BSkyB replaces outdated technology with an integrated solution for transmission of video via Inmarsat’s BGAN satellite network or over available IP networks, such as DSL, local Wi-Fi hotspots, or hotel Internet connections. Compared with BSkyB’s old system, which filled the equivalent of four suitcases, the compact and lightweight Streambox system gives news staff much greater agility in following news and covering significant events worldwide.

In a typical scenario, the BSkyB reporter and camera person will carry the “plug-and-connect” Streambox SBT3-7500 compact encoder or the Mac- or Windows-compatible ACT-L3 portable system along with a BGAN-compatible satellite phone. Transmission of video and audio simply requires the camera to be connected to the encoder, which in turn is connected directly to the satellite phone. Front-panel controls facilitate transmission of signals via satellite to the Inmarsat earth station in The Netherlands and, via a leased line, onto a Streambox distribution server at BSkyB’s West London facilities for real-time playout or recording.

The complete newsgathering solution from Streambox includes portable and rackmount encoders and decoders; real-time and store and forward systems for field and bureau reporting; back-end systems for managing live video streams; and back channel real-time communications systems. It also includes IFB servers, distribution servers, and store and forward sub-systems.

BSkyB is deploying the compact, single-box SBT3-7500 video transport system and the flexible ACT-L3 portable system, both of which are designed to provide reliable transmission in a variety of IP-based network environments. The portable encoders, in particular, will be used for real-time video transmission and for sending on-site edited news segments. Both video transport systems are built on the Streambox ACT-L3 codec and advanced proprietary video compression technology, which will allow BSkyB to use cost-effective packet-based networks in the real-time delivery of full-motion, full-frame interlaced broadcast video and audio.

The Streambox systems provide much higher video compression and quality at lower data rates than competing systems. Advanced forward error correction and burst error correction manage, control, and recover packet loss and correct video-delivery irregularities inherent in satellite and IP-based networks.

BSkyB will also deploy the Streambox IFB Server and Client solution to simplify secure, real-time communications between control room or studio staff and field reporters. Low latency and low bandwidth requirements ensure smooth delivery of six channels of balanced audio.

“Our complete newsgathering solution excels over low-data-rate networks and offers a low total cost of ownership, making it feasible for broadcast groups to deploy one or more systems as newsworthy events unfold across the globe,” said Bob Hildeman, chairman and CEO of Streambox. “System flexibility and ease-of-use are critical in such applications, and we’re seeing more and more news organizations choosing Streambox solutions to gather news faster and at a lower cost.”

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