‘Spirit of Goodyear’ delivers first-ever HD live shots from a blimp

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Spirit of Goodyear blimp use the JVC system to provide HD aerial coverage for every Monday Night Football game where the blimp is employed.

ABC’s Monday Night Football coverage of the Hall of Fame game made broadcast history Aug. 9, when it became the first telecast ever to transmit high-definition images from a camera mounted in a blimp.

The "Spirit of Goodyear" blimp based in Akron, Ohio, broadcast HD images from the pre-season Hall of Fame game between the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos with the help of the JVC DM-JV600U MPEG-2 encoder and DM-D4600U(c) MPEG-2 decoder, working together with a Nucomm microwave system and Ikegami cameras.

In late August, JVC Professional Products reached an agreement with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company whereby the blimp will use the JVC system to provide HD aerial coverage for every Monday Night Football game where the blimp is employed this season.

As a result, satellite truck operators, production crews and network executives will have the chance to see a live demonstration of a complete HD solution from the "Spirit of Goodyear."

The DM-JV600U is an MPEG-2 encoder that takes the uncompressed HDTV signals from an Ikegami 1080i camera, and compresses them into a 25Mb/s transport stream. The transport stream is then fed to the Nucomm Analog-Coder where it is converted and transmitted to a receiving station on the ground. The microwave signal is then demodulated back to the 25Mb/s transport stream and fed to a production trailer on the ground.

This is done with "The Spirit of Goodyear's" existing analog microwave system. In the trailer, JVC's decoder converts the MPEG-2 data into a 720p feed for ABC's HDTV telecast. The signal is also converted to SD for transmission to ABC's regular feed, enabling non-HD viewers to see shots from the blimp.

ABC began broadcasting select Monday Night Football games in HD during the 1999 NFL season. With the announcement that every 2004-2005 Monday Night Football game will be broadcast in high definition, transmitting HD images from the blimp offers viewers a complete HD viewing experience. For more information, visit www.goodyear.comwww.jvc.com/pro.

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