September 6, 2012

Italian Sports Fans Treated to Super Tennis Channel in HD on Sky Italia

Since early summer, sports fans throughout Italy have been able to watch their favorite tennis stars in fantastic high definition (HD) television thanks to a new state-of-the-art HD playout facility for Italian broadcaster Sportcast that features infrastructure and workflow solutions from Harris Broadcast Communications at its core.

Italian production and post-production company SBP created, hosts and operates the Rome-based facility for Sportcast. SBP designed, installed and commissioned the facility in cooperation with local systems integration company, Allyn. The tapeless HD facility supports the production and transmission of the broadcaster’s Super Tennis Channel, which is available nationally via satellite over Sky Italia.

The file-based workflow incorporates numerous Harris broadcast technologies, including a Harris® Platinum™ router, capable of supporting 64 inputs, 64 outputs and a range of SD, HD and 3G signal types. The Harris solution also includes HView™ SX Hybrid multiviewers, an IconMaster™ master control switcher, Harris® ADC™ automated content management and distribution, and three Harris NEXIO AMP® servers that provide seven terabytes of online storage capacity.

In addition to these production elements, Harris 6800+™ core processing enables signal distribution, test signal generation and up/down conversion throughout the facility. A Harris® Videotek® TVM-9100PKG test and measurement solution offers multi-format signal analysis for facility-wide media content.

The Rome playout center also houses a TV studio, which is used for interviews and continuity operations. The studio is equipped with remotely controlled HD cameras operated from the production gallery. Two separate voiceover rooms enable commentaries to be recorded over the incoming video signals.

An important element of Harris’ contribution to this ambitious project is technical support, which it has provided to both Allyn and SBP, especially focusing on the integration of Harris equipment alongside that other three other suppliers. Working with the customer, Harris has helped create a truly multi-vendor turnkey solution for SBP, including integration of Harris ADC playout automation with a third-party media asset management solution. Other third-party systems integrated alongside the Harris infrastructure include a multichannel broadcast monitoring system which records and stores all broadcast transmissions for a 90-day period, and a system that is used to capture HD content throughout the workflow.

Sportcast goes with proven sports pedigree
SBP, part of the Mediacontech Group, has developed a reputation in Italy as a technology pioneer and a provider of resilient and efficient broadcast services. It was the natural choice as service support provider when Sportcast decided to migrate its Super Tennis Channel to HD.

“We won the contract for the play out of the Super Tennis Channel thanks to our long-standing relationship with Sportcast in broadcast production and post-production,” commented Marco Balsamo, managing director of SBP. “We selected Harris as our primary technology provider at the new facility after extensive evaluation of the various systems available on the market. A key factor was their close relationship with Allyn and the technical support that they can offer us.”

SBP’s strategic investment represents a technically advanced and highly efficient broadcast facility. “The SBP staff take incoming live signals via satellite and fiber, record them onto video servers and then combine them with live studio content, archive footage, audio and graphics, which is all edited and broadcast from the same building,” said Mathias Eckert, vice president, sales and services, Europe & Africa for Harris Broadcast Communications. “To achieve so much in a single live facility is a testament to the skills of the production team and the sophistication of the technology which empowers them to make fantastic HD sports entertainment.”

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About Harris Broadcast Communications
Harris Broadcast Communications offers products, systems and services that provide interoperable workflow solutions for broadcast, cable, satellite and out-of-home networks. The Harris ONE™ solution brings together highly integrated and cost-effective products that enable advanced media workflows for emerging content delivery business models. Additional information about Harris Broadcast Communications is available at www.broadcast.harris.com.

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