There’s a new player at many live-broadcast sporting events – fiber optic networks.
With the sports entertainment industry’s move to deploying large numbers of field cameras, fiber-based networks have a clear advantage because they don’t have the same restrictions as metal-based cabling when it comes to signal loss and distance limitations. The trend to embrace ultra high definition (4K UHD) television standards, which deliver up to 4,000-pixel resolution is also a compelling reason to use fiber networks to support the required bandwidth and performance.
With this transition comes the need for fiber connectivity, which is where the CALIENT S320 Optical Circuit Switch joins the team. The S320 is protocol agnostic, supports high-bandwidth links and has very low end-to-end latency. These features make it ideal as a high-bandwidth interconnect for transmission and master control functions.
We expect this to become a significant market segment for CALIENT in 2016, which is why we’ve joined the Sports Video Group. SVG is the community for pro sports broadcasting. The organization’s mission is to be a knowledge resource for sports video professionals. With CALIENT on board, SVG members can learn more about fiber optic networking.
Although CALIENT just joined SVG, we have had some success already in the market for sports video broadcasting.
In 2014, the S320 was selected by Major League Baseball to link its two video production sites and provide protocol-independent switching of UHD and other network protocols.
Later that year, we started to work with CP Communications to network the 4K UHD cameras and production trucks that it uses to broadcast major golf events. The company has incorporated the S320 into its new HD21 project, which is a 53’ transmission and master control truck that goes to all of the events that the company televises. CP planned to use the HD21 truck for the 100 golf events that it is televising for the Golf Channel as well as hundreds of other events.
In a world of digital video recorders and time-shifted television, the immediacy of live sporting events make them important for TV networks. We see a big future for fiber optics in these broadcast networks and look forward to working with SVG members to make that a reality.