Evertz Fiber Systems Score Olympic Gold

Ed Yiu
TORONTO—With some 3.5 billion viewers during the 16-day run of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, it was the most watched Winter Olympics ever. The Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which was responsible for providing these amazingly captured moments to broadcasters around the world, provided the engineering, production, setup, contribution and distribution of HD video.


In preparation for the Olympic event coverage, we had to select a manufacturer of fiber transmission terminal products that could support our extensive transmission infrastructure. This was a crucial task, as the amount of dark fiber installed this time was more than that used in the last three Olympics combined. We commissioned hundreds of fiber links between sports venues and the International Broadcast Centre to serve more than 110 broadcasters.

My main goal was to have completely fault-free transmission. I also wanted the terminal equipment selected to be user friendly.

Olympic signals were transmitted to and from all the event venues in Vancouver and Whistler. The fiber path between Whistler and Vancouver is about 135 km and this distance presented our greatest challenge, in connection with the 1.5 Gbps video we had to move about.

After some extensive research we knew that Evertz was the only equipment manufacturer at that time that could provide us with the products to satisfy our entire requirement. In particular, Evertz was able to establish Olympic contribution and distribution networks from Whistler to Vancouver in one shot without any regeneration needed.

Evertz' fiber optic systems provided the long haul capabilities we required in our coverage with a flexible platform that could manage all our signal types and technical requirements. In addition, Evertz was eager to work with us in meeting all of our specific needs, as well as in accommodating any additions or modifications that might be required. We used hundreds of Evertz' fiber-optic products, including their electrical-to-optical video converters, gigabit Ethernet fiber transceivers, optical regenerator/wavelength converters, and wideband RF fiber transmitter/receivers.


Another important consideration in our selection of Evertz fiber optics equipment was recovery time. I wanted products that would allow operators to recognize a problem and resolve it in 20 seconds or less. This 20-second rule was imperative, as Olympic coverage is urgent and immediate and we couldn't afford to lose anything, as it could never be recovered.

We found Evertz' VistaLink to be a good foundation upon which to build our SNMP network management system.

Our selection of Evertz fiber optics products allowed us to provide full high-definition bandwidth to our rights holders—something that is almost unheard of when you consider that most telcos will only provide compressed services to broadcasters.

I was personally very pleased with the Evertz platform. Evertz' fiber optics equipment proved itself to be robust and reliable in our application.

To this day, my team and I are especially pleased when viewers and broadcasters alike utter those two very pleasing little words: "nice pictures."

Ed Yiu was the director of broadcast telecommunications in the engineering and technical operations division for OBS Vancouver and is currently a principal in the Spectrum Nexus Group broadcasting consulting firm. He may be contacted at ed.yiu@spectrumnexus.ca

For additional information, contact Evertz at 877-995-3700 or visit www.evertz.com.