Time Warner replays Zeplay for live sports

Time Warner Cable is simplifying its live sports production and enhancing its regional sports viewing experience for viewers with Tightrope Media Systems’ Zeplay multi-channel instant replay systems, writes David Fox.
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Time Warner Cable is simplifying its live sports production and enhancing its regional sports viewing experience for viewers with Tightrope Media Systems’ Zeplay multi-channel instant replay systems, writes David Fox. The company will install 10 of the four-in/four-out Zeplay units across several of its biggest sports markets through late summer. Time Warner Cable is upgrading its mobile production trucks with Zeplay and other production systems in various markets, such as Los Angeles and Milwaukee, where it will use the system for efficient and professional-quality replay for high school, college and some professional sports. “We were seeking a partner that would listen to us, and a product competitive to top instant replay systems but more open and cost-efficient,” said Peter Buxton, senior remote broadcast engineer, Time Warner Cable. “Zeplay is competitively priced, reliably handles multi-angle replay, allows more collaboration with our Final Cut Pro editing systems and offers a far easier learning curve for new operators. We fully intend to transition other trucks to Zeplay moving forward.” The upgrade is also part of a move to HD for its regional productions. Time Warner Cable already has three Zeplay units in use in New York State, where local crews report improvements in production efficiency and on-air quality. Tom White, its director of operations for the state, believes that the ability to record four channels at once — and handle multiple other production tasks from the same unit — has elevated their productions to another level. “Zeplay improves the broadcast immensely because instead of rolling out one look we can offer multiple looks by continuously recording four channels,” said White. “Previously, two of our three locations couldn’t utilize all of these various production elements because they lacked any type of server. The Zeplay gives them all the necessary elements and replay looks right at their fingertips. It’s all very intuitive, and it’s really been an improvement.” By intuitive, White points to the ability to easily build sequences, use macros and shortcut keys, tag and edit clips, and pull clips from its archive. He also notes that the built-in multiviewer allows his operators to efficiently see all inputs and outputs. “Everything is right in front you,” he said. “We very quickly got to the point where we are building packages and utilizing the box to its full potential. Anyone that can wrap their minds around the basic function of a replay server can operate Zeplay with no problem.” The 4RU Zeplay continually records four MPEG-2 I-frame 100Mbps HD 4:2:2 streams and provides replays from any or all of them at the same time without interrupting the recording. Capacity of the standard unit is 40 hours of 1080i HD, using a RAID 5 array, for each of the four channels, for 160 total hours. It has a built-in multi-viewer; dedicated controller with T-bar, Jog/Shuttle, 42 keys, RS-422 (CAT5) control and 4-pin power supply; and can round-trip to Avid or Final Cut and back without transcoding. www.timewarnercable.com www.trms.com

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