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Turner Sports, Sky Sports, BBC and Sky News Arabia are among the broadcasters whose work has been shortlisted for IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) Innovation Awards.
The global awards program honors innovation and collaboration in three categories—content creation, content management and content delivery—and the honorees are selected by an international jury (disclosure: THR’s Carolyn Giardina is a member of the jury). The winners will be announced Sept. 14 during a ceremony at the 2014 IBC conference in Amsterdam.
Descriptions of the shortlisted projects follows:
Horse Tracker: This app was created by Channel 4 in the UK with technology partners, for the Grand National. How do you help the audience with their most important question: where is my horse? The broadcaster worked with Civolution, Monterosa and TurfTrax to develop the Horse Tracker app. With small data transmitters into the saddle cloths of each horse and 80 receivers around the Aintree course, some clever processing drove a second screen app which aligned horse positions, distances and speed with the live television transmission. The iOS app was used by more than 100,000 people during the live race broadcast.
iPad controlled radio mixers: In November, Cumulus Radio Engineering had committed to providing the facilities for more than 20 radio stations covering the American Music Awards. Each would need a booth with room for four people (hosts and interviewees), with four microphones and four headphones, controlled by a mixer with event feeds also coming in. But the company’s team realized that the mixer electronics did not need to be in each booth, just the control surface. Why not use audio over IP to get the signals to and from each desk, but leave all the processing in a central location? Working with Axia Audio, Broadcast Software International and Telos Systems they built a remote control audio network where each radio station could control its own output from an iPad Mini which managed the central processing.
Monday Night Football: The 2013/14 season of Monday Night Football on Sky Sports got a new look: A super-wide vista display as a set backdrop, thanks to its virtual sets, and improved analysis using touchscreen telestrators. To achieve this immersive new look, Sky Sports worked with two broadcast graphics partners who are normally competitors: ChyronHego and Vizrt.
DPP file-based workflows: In August, UK telco BT launched three sports television channels, from a new broadcasting center on the site of the 2012 Olympic Park. BT Sport determined that it would be a fully file-based broadcaster–becoming the first in the world to be fully compliant with the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) file format, a new digital TV standard. To manage file ingest, re-versioning and delivery to multiple platforms, systems integrator Timeline Television chose technology from Dalet Digital Media Systems. The result is a file interchange using an open standard soon to be used by all UK broadcasters and, likely, producers and broadcasters worldwide.
Content factory for digital and social media: Télévision Francophone de l’Ontario was set up by the provincial government of Ontario, originally to run a French-language TV channel from Toronto. It has developed to deliver content across multiple platforms, and is now known as Groupe Média TFO. It now allows content to be shot on any device, from a HD studio cameras to an iPhone, and the aim is to get the content online, and on air, as quickly as possible. The company reported that in the year since the project’s implementation, it has increased the content it creates by 40 percent, while at the same time reducing the freelancer bill by 50 percent. The system uses IPV’s Curator content management system at its heart along with technology from Adobe, Applied Electronics, EMC Isilon, Oracle and Signiant,
Project SkyNet: The construction of the broadcast center for Sky News Arabia won it a place on the IBC Innovation Awards shortlist in 2012. But should the main center be unavailable for any reason, it wanted to be able to broadcast for 12 hours while alternative resources were mobilized, and to achieve this, it created a disaster recovery network through its own data center, SkyNet. Working with technology partners Blackmagic, Haivision, Nevion, Vizrt and Zixi, it built a platform that could be accessed and controlled from any of its nearly 20 bureaus over the public internet. It allows SNA to broadcast and transmit from anywhere in the world including live programming and breaking news.
Real-time tweets on live television: Airtel Digital Television in India wanted to present real-time tweets as an optional overlay on the television screen. The challenges were that this had to work over existing set-top boxes with the existing controller, and it could not interfere with any other functionality. Together with BrizzTV Media Labs, Airtel solved social, legal and technical issues, and Twitter on TV launched on six channels last October.
Media Factory: The BBC iPlayer delivers to over 7 million users a day, and the catch-up services are expected to be available immediately. This can be a challenge for instance when there are 16 different regional news programs all transmitting at the same time. When, in 2013, BBC Future Media was asked to create a new media factory to meet iPlayer demand, it worked with Amazon Web Services, as well as Atos, Codeshop, Elemental and Omnia, to create a cloud transcoding service to meet this need.
Snap: In late 2013, Sky Deutschland augmented its on demand service with Snap. This puts much of its library of films, series and children’s programs online for viewing on the web, iPad and iPhone, and Samsung Galaxy and smart TVs, with more platforms to come. It runs as a standalone OTT product, available without a set-top box or long-term subscription. Technical collaborators included Accedo, Atos, Capgemini, Coeno, Contone, CreateCtrl, Deloitte, Fincons, HP, ID Media, Namestorm, NTT Data, SHS Viveon, Sky Italia, TDS, Wirecard and Weeks.
NBA League Pass: Turners Sports’ NAB League Pass broadband service delivers any game live over broadband to any subscriber on any platform. Working with Adobe, Akamai, DNF Controls, Elemental, FreeWheel Media and Harmonic, Turner offers as many as 30 games a night, or over 800 streams published in real time.
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