LiveU portable field units to replace traditional transmission technology for live broadcasts in South African horse racing
LiveU technology is replacing traditional satellite, fibre and microwave technology at South African race tracks to boost fan engagement. LiveU’s portable field units are being deployed to create exciting live coverage from the race tracks, inside betting centres, and around award ceremonies and special events.
Heading up this trend are Tellytrack Horseracing, Highlights and Sports Betting Television, as well as Gold Circle Horseracing and Betting, two key players in the country’s sporting world.
Tellytrack started to use LiveU for its filler programme around the races following an extensive testing period. LiveU backpack units are now deployed in different regions around the country, providing live crossings and special segments. The LiveU feeds used for TV broadcasts are then streamed via the same channel to its web site and social media platforms.
Wesley Lloyd, operations manager at Tellytrack, explained: “LiveU gives us the flexibility to walk around, enabling us to broadcast live from places we couldn’t go before. For example, we can go and interview the jockeys in the stables at the far end of the track by simply sending a camera operator out into the field with a backpack, some batteries, a camera and a LiveU unit. In the past, we would have had to use complex microwave services with three or four cameras.”
Lloyd continued: “Going live from the betting shops has also enhanced our coverage, enabling us to connect with our customers and make everything more relatable; the fans can have their say and feel part of the action. We’ve also used LiveU for award ceremonies and special events in shopping centres to get more feedback from the public, with excellent signal levels every time.”
Gold Circle has been testing the viability of the LiveU solution since early 2018 for both camera signal acquisition while following the horses and in the distribution of content to supplement and as a substitute for satellite newsgathering (SNG) trucks.
Sherwin Singh, TV department manager and production director, Gold Circle, said: “We have been impressed with how reliable and robust LiveU technology has proven to be on both ends of the production cycle. The fact that the LU600 field unit can be used for both video acquisition and distribution has been a key factor in our buying decision. The unit is very user friendly and offers a level of redundancy without having any external devices plugged in. It also looks and feel solid.
“One of our camera operators will be using a camera on a gimble, for example, while the LU600 unit will provide a signal from the start that can track the horses as they are loaded into their starting positions,” continued Singh. “The same camera operator can then be used to track the horses for most of the course, following the inside line. The fact that the LiveU unit can provide a sub-second signal to the studio means that it can be integrated into the live multi-camera mix reliably and add a new dynamic to the presentation.”
Alexander Gechtman, regional VP, LiveU, added: “South Africa is a magnet for innovative sports coverage using LiveU, as we saw with the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race, Ballito Pro international surfing event and Otter African Trail Run. It’s exciting to see how these leading players in the horse racing industry are using LiveU to enrich the live experience and provide greater interactivity with their customers.”