TVNZ upgrades LiveU newsgathering fleet ahead of 2019 Rugby World Cup
New Zealand free to air broadcaster TVNZ is upgrading its fleet of LiveU portable transmission units to LiveU’s LU300 HEVC and LU600 HEVC. The deal has been overseen by LiveU’s long-term partner in the region, Pacific Live Media, which provides ongoing service and support.
The NZ broadcaster has been using LiveU since 2015 with multiple units deployed around the country as well as in New York, London and Sydney. The units have been used for all major news and sports events, including royal and state visits, covering political campaigns and elections, as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Sydney, Rio Summer Games in 2016, and the recent yellow vest protests in France.
The upgrades come in time for this September’s Rugby World Cup in Japan where LiveU will be used to cover all the action around the games and even serve as disaster recovery backups for the fibre transmission of the games themselves. TVNZ started looking at cellular bonded options at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Andrew Fernie, general manager of operations, News and Current Affairs for TVNZ, explained, “We had been interested in the technology for some time, but it really came to a head before the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. After testing the equipment, we were impressed by LiveU’s LU200 small-form factor, ease of use and video quality and started spreading the units across the country.
“The catalyst for the major growth in pushing these units out were the changes we made to the newsgathering and news operations teams across the entire country. In 2017, we introduced a centralised editing model, taking all the contribution servers and combining them into a main content and production server in our main newsroom in Auckland.
“This meant that all the content could be streamed or sent via store and forward into the main server; we could then get all the content out to our linear and digital channels almost immediately. We were able to create a team of video journalists who could operate from the remotest regions using a small camera and a LiveU unit.”
Fernie continued, “LiveU has completely changed our business. enabling us to cover every story quickly and cost-efficiently with no need for SNG trucks. We can truly go anywhere with this system, even broadcasting live from the remotest Pacific islands using LiveU as the encoder combined with a Satellite IP system. In terms of future big events, TVNZ has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the next America’s Cup in 2021 and we’re already planning our LiveU deployment.”