Onside TV Production has gained significant cost savings by using Nevion’s VideoIPath and Ventura systems to transport live content from Swedish football stadia over IP using JPEG 2000 compression, writes David Fox.
Onside, which is owned by the Swedish Football Association (Svenska Fotbollförbundet) and Svensk Elit Fotboll, has invested in the VideoIPath video services management platform, following its launch at NAB.
It is also using the Ventura JPEG 2000 compression system to transport live content from 16 football stadia across Sweden—from Gävle in the north to Malmö in the south—over IP.
The Nevion systems are being used to transport live SD content, such as news, interviews, clips and match updates, from the local production studios owned and operated by Klubb-TV, the media production arm of SvFF over a 100Mbps IP circuit, using just three decoders. The system can also handle HD if required (but as Klubb-TV is web-based it wasn’t felt necessary at the moment).
The content is delivered to Onside TV’s central facility, which packages it for customers ranging from local and regional broadcasters to web-based sites and other media. Before implementing the Nevion solution, Klubb-TV could only make file-based transfers from each stadium. Although the material isn’t broadcast live today, it could be in future without needing further upgrades.
Onside uses VideoIPath’s web-based tools to manage content, as well as for scheduling, provisioning and complete monitoring of video-over-IP services. The package makes it simple to dynamically shift the connections to wherever they’re needed, whether scheduled in advance or on an ad-hoc basis. This provides significant efficiency and cost benefits, eliminating the need for 16 individual connections.
“VideoIPath serves several critical functions for Onside TV,” said Ikbal Ustrali of Onside TV Production. “First, the ability to link to 16 different locations on an as-needed basis enables us to produce and deliver content to our customers in a very rapid and flexible way. It would’ve been too costly to set up that many permanent connections. This way, we can have three connections at any given time, receiving content where and when it makes sense, according to the match schedule. VideoIPath handles the details and monitors the transmissions to make sure that all goes well.”
Nevion and Onside TV worked closely with JMG, a Swedish-based broadcast equipment supplier, which already had longstanding relationships with both Onside TV and Nevion (for whom they provide local product support).
All 16 stadia have an identical studio setup featuring two Sony BRC-Z700 robotic cameras, a handheld Sony XDCAM EX3 camera, and a Mac running Final Cut Pro for local editing.
Each robotic camera can be operated remotely from Onside TV Production’s central facility or from the local Klubb-TV studio. Content can be streamed in real time, with VideoIPath making the connection to the central site. Producers can set up video-over-IP connections and record directly to Onside, or locally to the Mac, transferring the files later using EditShare. The entire process is managed over IP.
Because it adds a network abstraction layer, VideoIPath allows users to provision and monitor services without having to consider detailed configuration settings in each network element involved. It auto-detects available video end-points and allows users to set up connections by selecting the appropriate video end-points and service profile. It can also offer bandwidth utilization management and calculate forward error correction settings for the most efficient use of infrastructure with the right quality of service.
At Klubb-TV, the SD video is compressed and mapped to IP using Nevion’s Ventura VS901-IED-GE JPEG 2000 encoder/decoder cards. Identical cards are deployed at both the transmission and reception ends, since the VS901-IED-GE can function as an encoder or decoder. As it currently uses 50Mbit for transporting live content, it was thought that JPEG 2000 offered better quality (compared to H.264) and lower latency.