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Sky Sports Active chooses Harris

16 November 2006

10 Harris Corp Nexio servers and eight NewsFlash networked, high-resolution editors have been installed at Sky Sports’ new broadcast facility in London to provide highlights packages for BskyB’s interactive sports channel, Sky Sports Active. The new facility will provide the control room capabilities for live sports programmes, including international cricket and UEFA Champions League football coverage.

“We evaluated a number of server manufacturers on the market for this project, and our key driver for choosing the NEXIO servers was the ability Harris had to complete the installation quickly and effectively,” said Darren Long, head of sports operations at BSkyB. “It wasn’t all about cost, time and implementation also were very important factors for this particular project. We needed to be on air to deliver the cricket coverage to our viewers earlier this year, and Harris was able to deliver, install and complete all staff training required within a very short time. To achieve this, we worked very closely with the Harris team to ensure the build went as smoothly as possible.”

The NEXIO production system forms the backbone of the Sky Sports Active facility, which consists of two newly enhanced, continuously operating control rooms. Integral to the production system are the NewsFlash editors, which allow highlight packages to be cut quickly and played to air almost instantly through the NEXIO servers. The combination of the powerful NEXIO tools and NewsFlash editors enables Sky Sports to provide a unique, interactive viewing experience to its subscribers, allowing them to select alternative camera angles, access a wealth of statistics, review match highlights and even choose between live matches and place bets through their set-top boxes. The NEXIO servers enable a fast turnaround of sports production and enhanced interactive opportunities.

“With the NEXIO servers, we found a system that was scalable, flexible and able to deliver on our critical programming requirements,” said Long. “We needed to be able to turn programme material around quickly, seamlessly and instantaneously to the viewer, and we found that the NEXIO server with the integrated NewsFlash editing tool was able to achieve this.”

“The installation at Sky Sports Active’s enhanced control rooms demonstrates that our NEXIO servers are able to achieve fast turnaround of content for sports production applications where timing is critical,” said Dave Dougall, vice president of sales, EMEA for the Harris Broadcast Communications Division. “At Sky, the production team using the NewsFlash editing software is able to deliver up-to-the-minute programme packages and achieve a very different style of production output.”

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