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Remote Commentary Solution Successfully Deployed at Major Sports Events

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Remote Commentary Solution Successfully Deployed at Major Sports Events
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Remote Commentary Solution Successfully Deployed at Major Sports Events
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VITEC’s live, low latency solution for Broadcasters was deployed during the isolation of COVID-safe security measures, delivering excellent results for Eurosport during the lock down across Europe.

It has been used at major events, including the world’s premier cycling race, the Tour de France, the French and US Open tennis tournaments, and is now used in their day-to-day operations.

The solution is planned to be extensively used for the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan this summer.

The Challenge

Delivering Live, Low Latency Remote Commentary over the Internet for Broadcasters in Spite of Demanding Global Logistics Remote commentary is used to deliver live sports content to different countries using remote production technology. As part of its remote production capabilities, the VITEC solution, thanks to its ultra-low latency performance, is perfectly suited to remote commentary. The concept ensures commentators can provide live commentary while being based at home, not at the event. For the solution to be efficient, broadcasters require latency - from capture, to playback, to the commentator at home - to remain below 250ms, ensuring minimum impact on the live broadcast. On the business side, to ensure low operational cost and easy deployment, the ‘public’ internet as well as a software player at each commentator’s location is used. As a result, no specific IT infrastructure, special equipment or logistic arrangements are needed.

The Solution

In consideration of the strict latency requirements, VITEC developed a workflow based on its existing MGW Ace Encoder to ensure highly reliable, ultra-low latency, and low bitrate HEVC encoding across the internet. Since several commentators can connect simultaneously, the solution is scalable based on the event’s broadcast reach. VITEC incorporated ChannelLink IP gateway into the workflow to replicate encoded feeds to multiple locations, or in this instance, remote commentator’s homes. The ChannelLink also serves the critical role of adding transport protocol protection and encryption to the encoded feeds to avoid video corruption over the lossy internet and to protect the high-value video content.  

During operation, the live feed is received by the commentator on a customised software player featuring latency monitoring (compatible with Windows and MacOS) and then the commentator’s audio feed is sent back to the production studio for mixing and distribution. VITEC ensured a 250ms delay pointto-point allowing broadcaster to mix the commentary from remote sources, so that live feeds could be sent out in native languages, for multiple markets, from a single live event video capture.