Each year BBC Sport has to work hard to bring an ever richer and more interactive viewing experience to its Wimbledon audience. Creative use of the latest technology helps achieve their desire to produce more and better services than ever before. At the same time, the BBC needs to maintain its brand leading quality and reliability.
A key part of this challenge is their need to move the massive amount of content from Wimbledon to the BBC’s production centres.
THE STATUS QUO
The standard method to deliver so much live content from a sporting event such as Wimbledon, is to use high levels of compression. On one hand compression is great as it allows the content to be squeezed into a small, commonly available network pipe such as 1Gb. On the other hand;
It makes the solution more complex
Uses pricey equipment
Makes sound and picture quality worse
For the Championships, Wimbledon 2019, BMC UK successfully transported the BBC content using an alternative approach. This year we chose to use little or no compression. Although using 50x more bandwidth than former suppliers, we achieved this within a very tight budget. We engineered a solution that took the latest, high bandwidth, fibre products and combined them with the latest studio techniques and standards. We transported uncompressed HD signals, and lightly compressed UHD signals, with maximum simplicity and premium reliability.
Working at Layer 1, we used our Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) know-how to deploy 10 x 10G services. This level of network connectivity enabled us to avoid complex, temporal, compression completely. All services benefitted from the lowest latency and highest quality possible.
In order to carry UHD signals we used mezzanine techniques, designed for studio working to best utilise our, cost effective 10G channels. Each UHD was reduced by a ratio of 4 to 1.
Our novel solution used 50x more bandwidth
than previous suppliers while sticking to a tight budget
We made use of the latest SMPTE standards. These standards enabled us to encapsulate the video and audio into IP, and provide the ultimate fault tolerance, using hitless protection for all services.
The solution was delivered in partnership with vScaler Media Services. vScaler is a cloud platform that enables Broadcast and Media companies to transition to IP-based infrastructures, either as a physical appliance, as a cloud-based service, or as both in a hybrid model. Our technology and delivery method was managed, provisioned and executed across vScaler’s private cloud platform which enables BMC UK with a safe and secure environment to host content and deliver it to our clients with the performance and the high quality that is required.