As the home broadcaster for this summer’s Olympics in London, the BBC has set itself a daunting challenge: broadcast every event live. At times this means it will be transmitting 24 channels simultaneously. On the Sky satellite platform these will be individual channels on the EPG; they will appear as red button services on other platforms; and all will be streamed to the internet. To manage this output the BBC has taken a large space in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in the Olympic Park. The system, which supports the needs of around 300 staff including 70 journalists, was designed in conjunction with BBC Sport and built by Dega Broadcast Systems. There will be two curated channels, on BBC One and BBC Three, each of which will be linked from studios on a high viewpoint some 500m from the IBC, and controlled from dedicated galleries. A third gallery is provided to allow live programme production from other parts of the site. The other channels all pass through a master control room where any switching, voiceovers and graphics can be added. Around 200 circuits come into the BBC operation, including multilateral feeds from Olympic Broadcast Services, and unilateral cameras and OB units to add personalisation. The infrastructure is based on the design of the new BBC Sport facility in Salford Quays, including EVS servers for ingest, Omneon MediaGrid for central storage, access and playout, and Avid Isis for networked editing. Harris has provided much of the core infrastructure, including a 512x1024 Platinum router. System design ensures that main and backup signals never pass through the same card in the router to ensure resilience against failure. 26 Harris Selenio units provide a lot of core processing, including audio encoding and shuffling as well as colour correction. Monitoring makes extensive use of Harris multiviewers, including the new H View Pro cards for 64 signals on a screen. The multiviewer boards are all embedded either in the Platinum router or in the 6800+ modular signal processing frames.
As the home broadcaster for this summer’s Olympics in London, the BBC has set itself a daunting challenge: broadcast every event live. At times this means it will be transmitting 24 channels simultaneously.