Mediahaus brings SRT live streaming to Mountain Attack ski competition with 5G and URSA Broadcast G2

Mountain Attack, an annual Austrian ski mountaineering competition, was the arena for the first real world test of the live broadcast streaming capabilities of the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 camera.

Mediahaus has been host broadcaster of the event for the past decade, and this year it was able to send live H.264 streams from its mountainside race cameras using SRT, a protocol optimised for live video streaming, down the mountains to its outside broadcast (OB) truck in Saalbach, Austria.

Working with Hutchison Drei Austria, Mediahaus utilised a standalone 5G network to bring live camera feeds with incredibly low latency from the mountaintops to the production team and the director, Wolfgang Angermüller, in the Mediahaus OB.

“Eleven years ago, when we started working with the race founder Roland Kurz, it was quite a challenge to get two cameras on two summits,” said Angermüller, who is also CEO of Mediahaus. “Last year, we set up four cameras on four summits, connecting each through SDI to an encoder, then to an IP connection via a cable car modem. Additionally, we used two mobile cameras on snowmobiles, linked by Mobile Viewpoint’s bonded cellular.”

“Setting up all this equipment and encoders on the mountaintops took us two days.”

This year’s use of SRT and 5G, tested with Hutchison’s standalone network, significantly streamlined the process. The tests, conducted in Vienna and then onsite in Saalbach, achieved a latency of just half a second. “We were streaming SRT at 5Mb/s output with a latency of half a second, which is nothing,” noted Angermüller.

To overcome challenges posed by the mountainous terrain blocking certain 5G signals, solutions included a connection to the Starlink satellite network and backup WiFi access points. Each URSA Broadcast G2 was assigned an ATEM Streaming Bridge converter in the OB truck. Acting as a receiver, these compact video converters allowed an ATEM live production switcher to connect to the cameras’ SRT streams.

At the finish line, the OB gallery employed an ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher for vision mixing, with the same SRT data link sending camera control and tally signals back up to each camera position. That provided Mediahaus with remote control over the cameras, including shading via an ATEM Camera Control Panel. “The other significant advantage was that we now had tally lights on the summit cameras to let the operators know they were live,” said Angermüller.

“One of the hardest summits to reach turned out to be the summit where 5G worked without any problems,” he concluded. “Our operator took his URSA Broadcast G2 and the mobile phone and headed up there. It was so much easier not to bring an encoder and SDI cables; the camera battery powered the phone. We saved a whole day of working time with this setup.”

Spectators were able to follow the race leaders on a  video wall at the finish line or watch the live broadcast on the Austrian sports streaming platform LAOLA1.TV, YouTube and other social media.

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