Harmonic playout, processing for new BT Sport channels

BT Sport has built a scalable, efficient production and playout system for its new sports television channels on Harmonic video infrastructure. The comms giant and now broadcaster is using Harmonic processing, storage and playout systems to enable fast-turn production and to support timely, high-quality broadcasts of high-profile live sports.

The BT Sport facility will broadcast BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN. BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays English Premier League, as well as FA Cup and UEFA Europa League, along with a range of new studio debate and information shows such as BT Sport Live.

Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer of BT Sport, says: “At the core of our new studios build is a spirit of collaboration that brings the best of industry — and sometimes competitors — working together toward a common aim: to make the BT Sport studios a world-class hub for the best ideas and talent. We believe talent attracts talent, and our partnership with Harmonic has helped us to foster that mindset.”

Timeline Television provides the production system for BT Sport channels, which are produced at studios in London’s iCity, the home of BT Sport, as well as at the BT Tower in London. At each site, systems integrator Megahertz has installed a 1-petabyte Harmonic MediaGrid scalable shared storage system that is tightly integrated with EVS integrated production management systems. Supporting the file-based quick-turnaround sports workflow, the MediaGrid systems consistently serve the high bandwidth required while providing substantial work-in-progress storage capacity.

For reliable and scalable play-to-air at playout partner Red Bee Media, BT Sport uses Harmonic Spectrum playout servers with Spectrum MediaPort real-time video encoder/decoders and SAS-based Spectrum MediaStore storage arrays. Harmonic’s market-leading ProStream 1000 stream processing platform and NMX Digital Service Manager carry the main services for the BT Vision Platform, which includes BT Sport. The ProStream 1000 provides simulcrypt scrambling and is integrated with Nagra and Marlin digital rights management systems.

“Harmonic video infrastructure enables leading media companies to achieve fast, efficient delivery of content while maintaining the highest video quality standards,” says Ian Graham, vice president of sales, EMEA, at Harmonic. “The interoperability, performance, and reliability of our processing, storage, and server systems allow users such as BT Sport to leverage all their resources effectively in creating exciting and engaging content for their viewers.”

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