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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Apr 4

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4/4/2012 11:59 AM  RssIcon

Planned Network Upgrade Will Offer Tenfold Increase in Bandwidth to Support Expanded Services

NEW YORK -- April 3, 2012 -- HTN Communications LLC (HTN) today announced that it has renewed its contract with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Network to provide comprehensive fiber backhaul services for the network's Emmy Award-nominated Ballpark Cam system. HTN has served as the fiber transmission provider for Ballpark Cam since MLB Network's inception in 2009, and the new contract will extend the partnership for another three seasons and enable an extensive network upgrade.

"When we launched the Ballpark Cam system, our goal was to give baseball fans even greater behind-the-scenes access to players and a unique perspective on what goes on in the dugout and on the field," said Susan Stone, senior vice president, operations and engineering, MLB Network. "Ballpark Cam is a huge success and a highly popular feature with our viewers, thanks in large part to the reliable and high-quality transmission services provided by HTN."

Each of Major League Baseball's 30 ballparks located throughout the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada are equipped with two Ballpark Cams, one installed just beyond the centerfield wall and the other located either next to or inside the first or third base dugouts. The cameras provide up-close video of players going through batting and fielding practice and other non-game activities, and offer interesting footage and interviews to supplement the MLB Network's pre- and post-game programs and analysis.

"The Ballpark Cam system is one of the most innovative video applications in sports broadcasting today, and it's been a privilege for HTN to provide the foundational transmission platform from day one," said Joe Cohen, CEO, HTN Communications. "We're looking forward to working with MLB Network over the next three years to help expand and enhance the system to support future growth and new services."

In addition to providing point-to-multipoint live HD transmissions for every MLB game, HTN installed and manages the full-time private fiber network for the Ballpark Cam system. Going forward, HTN will upgrade the network to 1.48 Gbps HD-SDI local loops -- delivering a tenfold increase in usable bandwidth over the original infrastructure. This will enable MLB Network to add additional cameras and services, and expand Ballpark Cam's usage for high-profile MLB Jewel Events such as the All-Star Game, the Postseason and World Series.

"HTN has proven itself over the first three seasons to be the ideal transmission partner for the Ballpark Cam system. We've never had any major issues; in fact, the network has easily surpassed our rigid standards for availability and reliability for the duration of the first contract," said Jacob Soto, senior engineering manager, MLB Network Ballpark Cam. "Ours is a large network with many moving parts, therefore, we are in constant communication with the HTN team and they truly understand the complexities of managing a network of this size. Their level of service is without parallel."

"The Ballpark Cam system is a true success story for HTN and a textbook example of how a state-of-the-art fiber network can be effectively leveraged to deliver the optimal viewing experience for sports fans," said Christian Kneuer, senior director of operations and client relations at HTN. "And now, with the expanded bandwidth provided by the network upgrade, MLB Network will be able to make the experience even richer and more exciting."

More information about HTN products and solutions is available at www.htncom.com.

# # #

About MLB Network

MLB Network is the ultimate television destination for baseball fans, featuring the Emmy Award-winning MLB Tonight, live games, original programming, highlights, and insights and analysis from the best in the business, including Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, Jim Kaat, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds. MLB Network debuted on January 1, 2009 as the largest launch in cable television history and is currently distributed in approximately 68 million cable, telco TV and satellite homes throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information and to find MLB Network in your area, go to www.mlbnetwork.com.

About HTN Communications LLC

HTN Communications LLC, formerly Hughes Television Network, is the longest-tenured sports television and radio transmission provider in North America -- offering packaged transmission services for broadcast, cable, and radio rights holders. HTN launched services in the 1960s with its first backhaul provider, the Madison Square Garden Network (MSGN), and added the New England Sports Network (NESN) in the 1970s. In the last decade, the company has grown steadily through partnerships with YES Network (New York Yankees), Altitude Sports Network, MASN (Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals), STO (Cleveland Indians), and ROOT Sports. Today, HTN offers seamless point-to-multipoint live HD transmission from every Major League Baseball (MLB(R)), National Basketball Association (NBA(R)), and National Hockey League (NHL(R)) sports venue to any site worldwide and provides services for a broad range of entertainment events and news media outlets. Since 2009, HTN has provided fiber transmission services for the Major League Baseball Network's Ball Park Cam, providing coverage from all 30 MLB stadiums in the U.S. With unparalleled industry experience and a network tailored to the sports market, HTN Communications provides its clients with flexibility and reliability on which they can depend. More information is available at www.htncom.com.

All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.

Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/HTN/MLBNBallparkCam.zip

ENDS

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