On a weekly basis, Time Warner Cable Sportsnet mounts a minimum of ten to fifteen productions from its regional network location. Between broadcasting for professional Los Angeles sports teams like the LA Sparks and LA Galaxy, and covering local high school games, Sportsnet covers a wide range of markets for regional audiences.
Due to budgetary concerns and a desire to keep set-up simple and easy, the Time Warner team prefers to use IP instead of satellite whenever possible. But for Senior Broadcast Engineer Tony Sonnanstine, finding an IP solution that could provide a return feed hadn’t been easy. With a list of criteria in mind, he set out to investigate his options.
High quality, low delay
Sonnanstine wanted an IP solution that could send return video efficiently, without any extra equipment. He also knew he needed something with consistently low delay, and impeccably high picture quality.
Comrex LiveShot met all of his criteria. LiveShot’s ability to send two-way video with the touch of a button was appealing, as was the camera mounted design. In the field, LiveShot’s adaptable coding algorithms manage even compromised IP networks, resulting in stable broadcasts and consistently low delay. Additionally, LiveShot allows delay to be pre-specified, which meant Sonnanstine and his team could guarantee that their programming would synchronize with their live footage.
More games, less money
Sonnanstine found that the introduction of LiveShot to Time Warner sports productions increased transmission quality in a way that was noticeable in the final broadcasts. LiveShot has enabled Sportsnet to cover games at a high quality, without jeopardizing their budget. “We’re able to cover events we hadn’t been able to before,” said Sonnanstine. “We’re able to broadcast over 350 games per year now, all in incredibly high quality. We had never been able to do this in the past with satellite alone.”
Time Warner also spends less time setting up for shoots, thanks to the remote configuration functions of LiveShot. Sportsnet makes use of the LiveShot Control app to log in to their LiveShot units from the control room. This application makes it easy to configure whichever unit Sportsnet is planning to use that day from a web browser or iPhone. Engineers can adjust settings, monitor status, and connect networks. The team in the field doesn’t need to do any complicated configuration, and an engineer doesn’t need to be present on site – the system can be monitored and adjusted from anywhere with an internet connection.
Sportsnet has also had full control over the data coverage they pay for with LiveShot. “All of the other solutions we looked at required us to purchase a subscription to a data bundle, which we didn’t want to do, because we have access to deals from providers that a third party wouldn’t,” said Sonnanstine. “LiveShot was the only option that let us negotiate our own data plans.”
“It’s great, because we’re not roped into paying for networks that we ultimately don’t need. It’s saved us plenty of money.”
Ultimately, Sportsnet has saved money and broadened its reach since introducing LiveShot. “It’s easy to deploy, it’s efficient, and it’s cost-effective. Management has been really happy with the unit, and going forward, we’re going to use it even more.”
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