ESPN taps Arqiva for playout

UK: International sports broadcaster ESPN has put a new HD playout system into operation for the distribution and transmission of its Premier League football coverage, writes Kevin Hilton. It is part of facilities operated and managed for the broadcaster by Arqiva, which also plays out 11 ESPN channels across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The HD and Dolby surround equipped playout centre at Arqiva Broadcast and Media’s teleport in Chalfont Grove, Buckinghamshire, approximately 25 miles northwest of London, was designed jointly by ESPN and the facilities provider. It comprises four playout areas, a multichannel “playout pod”, production offices, a control room and an editing suite. The UK centre is connected to ESPN’s US headquarters by IP over a fibre network, which allows material to be shared by production teams in different countries.

The Arqiva staff running the centre have been trained for working with ESPN material, which they do in collaboration with the broadcaster’s production and engineering teams in both the US and the UK.

“The entire playout centre uses the very latest technology to simplify and enhance process, from bulk ingest and data archive storage to the playout of multiple language audio streams and targeted live in-programme graphics insertions,” comments Barrie Woolston, commercial sales director for Arqiva Broadcast and Media. “Arqiva ingests and provides live playout of a wide array of sports action for ESPN, including major football, rugby, basketball, motor sports and American football from locations around the UK, Europe and the USA.”

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