The Selenio Network Processor from Imagine Communications has proved to be the cornerstone to ST 2110 IP connectivity for 12th Man Productions, the sports broadcast and post facility for Texas A&M University.
The campus in College Station, Texas, incorporates seven sports venues, spread across the site, which host as many as 110 events a year. As well as offering broadcast outputs from any event at any location, 12th Man Productions also provides in-stadium big screen entertainment and information.
Fibre circuits connect every field back to the Kyle Field stadium, allowing resources to be allocated to any venue dynamically. Four control rooms allow two venues to broadcast live, while also producing big screen shows at two more venues. This calls for a large number of feeds in each direction, supporting monitors, multiple digital signage networks and big screen replays, as well as feeds for home and visiting teams. There is also a need to provide for official replay facilities in many sports. All signals are handled as uncompressed HD, minimising latency by eliminating compression delays, and allowing for live remote production even when venues are 10km from the control room.
Zack Bacon, chief broadcast engineer for 12th Man Productions said: “When we originally installed fibre, we used it as point-to-point connectivity. Not only did that limit our capacity, it meant that every device became a critical point of failure.
“What this project has done is to network every device at every location,” added Bacon. “It means that instead of a fibre carrying just a single SDI feed, it carries multiple bidirectional signals – as many as 32 uncompressed HD feeds. Capacity between venues is no longer an issue, giving us much better utilisation of the fibre capacity and allowing us to do much, much more. And because it is IP, should there be an equipment failure, then the network will simply work around it.”
The Selenio Network Processor (SNP), which supports both SDI and IP networks, helps provide for IP connectivity between every field, the studios, the central technical facilities and the control rooms. A single SNP can support up to eight channels of Ultra HD, 32 channels of HD, or a combination of the two, configured as SDI to IP, IP to SDI or IP to IP. Each FPGA-based SNP has four independent processing paths in a single compact 1RU frame, which can be reprogrammed for different functionality at the click of a mouse. The result is a very dense broadcast installation that is IP native and sits transparently on the network.
This project was carried out in association with Cisco, which provided the QSFP fibre optic interfaces for bandwidth optimisation, along with Nexus high-performance switches.
Cassidy Phillips, VP for networking solutions at Imagine Communications, said: “This installation is a huge endorsement of the SMPTE ST 2110 standard for live, uncompressed production, along with the SNP as the ideal gateway and processor. It means that operators at 12th Man Productions can build and develop their workflows without worrying about the physical layer –allowing them to respond horizontally and vertically to the demands of their consumers.”