Nothing can make a guard stationed in cold, remote Antarctica feel more at home than a live look at the Super Bowl in warm, sunny Tampa, Fla. This year, more than 850,000 audience members in 175 countries and on countless Navy ships cruising the seas will have full, live coverage of the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants competing in Super Bowl XXXV, which is being aired by CBS on Jan. 28, 2001.
(click thumbnail) Initially a radio-only division formed in 1942 by the War Department, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (AFRTS) has grown to encompass television and data delivery, and will be broadcasting the Super Bowl through its global broadcast network, which transmits programming to U.S. military installations around the world.
Using a combination of distribution networks – including the SATNET satellite network and the TV-DTS system, short for TV direct to sailors –AFRTS will be taking the Super Bowl feed directly from CBS and ingesting it into its broadcast center at March Air Force Base in California. From there it will be uplinked to its viewers around the world. "Before we had various facilities overseas that would offline the game, make lots of copies and then on the next supply run to a ship, they would deliver the tapes," Mel Russell, AFRTS director, said. "That could be a matter of weeks." Now, Russell said, the Super Bowl will be seen live across the AFRTS network.
The AFRTS has worked closely with Atlanta-based Scientific-Atlanta in building its radio and television network, and Scientific-Atlanta’s PowerVu compression and encoding system will be employed for compression and encoding needs.
"Content is presented to a video encoding system, which will then convert the analog content to digital content, and this will all be put together, along with similar encoded channels, to create a complete multiplexed signal," Sam Lim, Scientific-Atlanta vice president and general manager of Media Networks, said. "The Super Bowl programming will then be scrambled and transmitted via satellite worldwide. This makes the AFRTS one of the few truly global networks – and one of the really neat attributes of this system is that you can bring a little bit of home to individuals either in the middle of the Antarctica or based in the Persian Gulf."
The AFRTS regularly broadcasts weather, travel and U.S.-based news, which is acquired from stateside services via cable, satellite, fiber or videotape. Using the PowerVu system, the AFRTS uplinks multiple channels over the same transponder. "Because of the PowerVu and the multiple channel-capability," Russell said, "we can carry ‘NYPD Blue’ on 9 p.m. on Wednesday, for example. So if you’re in Europe or in Japan it arrives at 9 p.m. your time. [The system] allows us to set up multiple channels and provide that familiarity to our viewers."
The AFRTS uplinks six channels of television, nine channels of audio and uplinks the Armed Forces publication "The Stars and Stripes" to publishing facilities worldwide so the newspaper can be distributed locally.
One special challenge is delivering the programming to Navy ships. Using a variety of satellites that cover the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, programming is uplinked from March AFB to these satellites. "But the technical challenge is receiving on a platform that is constantly moving — ships are rocking back and forth on the ocean," Russell said. Using a GPS guidance system on the ship, the satellite tracks the vessel’s movement to help eliminate signal disruption.
The end goal, however, is to be able to bring U.S. military individuals stations around the world U.S.-based programming, and "we get a lots of positive comments on our ability to do that," Russell said. "We really pride ourselves on providing a touch of home and the Super Bowl is one of the best ways to do that."
3D EYEVISION TECHNOLOGY TO DEBUT AT SUPER BOWL XXXV
Princeton Video Image, Inc. (PVI) announced a joint venture with CBS Sports and Core Digital Technologies to develop and implement EyeVision, a new instant replay system that will debut during the live broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV.
EyeVision, developed by CBS Sports Engineering and PVI, produces three-dimensional replays from multicamera angles. Using cameras synchronized on a particular player or players on the field, EyeVision will provide views of approximately 270 degrees around the object and will also have stop-action capability. CBS Sports will utilize 33 EyeVision cameras for its coverage of Super Bowl XXXV.
"EyeVision will revolutionize televised sports, and PVI's technology will have a major impact on the performance of EyeVision and its ease of implementation,'' Brown Williams, chairman of PVI, said.
PVI, which also supplies its First Down technology to CBS Sports, will utilize its live video modification skills to further enhance the impact of EyeVision.
"My hope is in the very near future EyeVision will be a technology used in every major sporting event around the world, as well as for entertainment and commercial projects,'' Sean McManus, president, CBS Sports said.
Core Digital Technologies, a company dedicated to creating, storing and re-purposing video and audio assets, will operate EyeVision's facilities and power EyeVisions' Internet activities. Core has supplied services to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the Stanley Cup Championships, the Sydney Olympic Games and the George W. Bush Inauguration.
VI[Z]RT TAKES TO FIELD WITH MODEL AND COMPOSITION SOFTWARE
RT-SET, doing business as vi[z]rt, announced that CBS Sports will deploy its technology in this year's Super Bowl broadcast.
CBS will use vi[z] real-time rendering and modeling software for 3D graphics as well as vi[z] content pilot for the composition, database management and playback of graphics on this year's broadcast.
Purchased for the NFL pre-season in 1998, CBS Sports has been preparing for this year's Super Bowl production since the conclusion of 1999's NFL season. "By using [this system] CBS will be able to significantly enhance the presentation of content in real time," Shlomo Nimrodi, president and CEO of vi[z]rt, said.
The vi[z] and vi[z] modeling 3D software packages will be used, as they have been throughout the season for CBS Sports' NFL game coverage, to create the network's signature graphic "eyebox" clock, and to produce statistical graphics and scoreboards in the upper third of the screen. vi[z] content pilot will create and control statistical graphic information and over-the-shoulder animated graphics for "The NFL Today" pre-game show and control the statistical information from CBS Sports' scoring systems during the game.
vi[z]rt's solutions will be used for "NFL Today," for the main game coverage and for the HDTV broadcast.
CBS Sports Graphics Manager Mike Bird said that this year's look will be slightly more complex than previous designs, featuring more shading and the rotation of different light sources. "The look for the Super Bowl broadcast will not be a radical departure from what we've done in the past, but it will be noticeably different and definitely catch the viewer's eye," Bird said. "We'll be employing the software extensively throughout the broadcast and, thanks to [these systems] we have been able to make significant changes to the design of our broadcasts, and the improvement has been dramatic."
CBS Sports has nine vi[z] modeling packages; seven are installed in separate CBS Sports mobile production trucks, traveling from game to game for live coverage. The remaining systems are located in the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Last minute graphic effects are created in New York and transferred to all seven systems in the field via ISDN lines.
WILLIAMS TO PROVIDE VIDEO BACKHAUL FOR SUPER BOWL XXXV
For the 12th consecutive year, Williams Communications Broadband Media Services, through its Vyvx business, will provide backhaul television transmissions for the Super Bowl.
Williams Vyvx Services was the first company to transport live video over a switched fiber network when it provided transmission for the first in a string of 12 straight Super Bowls in 1990, the company said. Williams Communications currently backhauls 80 percent of all professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey sports broadcasts, the company said.
"The biggest names in the media space, companies from professional sports leagues and broadcasters to news agencies put their trust in us to move their mission-critical video content," Laura Kenny, president of Williams Communications Broadband Media, said. "We execute events of this magnitude on a regular basis, and the Super Bowl is the most visible example."
To enable faultless transmission in both standard and HDTV formats from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to its customers' production centers, Williams Communications will carry 10 fiber-optic transmission paths to and from the stadium. CBS is broadcasting the game live domestically, while NFL Films will distribute the game internationally to more than 200 countries.
Williams Communications will also provide ESPN and Fox Sports with remote transmission paths to their respective production centers. Williams Communications officials will monitor the on-site transmissions from a mobile broadcast facility that was developed for this and other special events, such as the 2000 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics from Salt Lake City.
iBEAM Teams Up with NFL, CBS and Sportsline.com to Stream Video and Audio fromSuperbowl.com
iBEAM Broadcasting Corp., a provider of streaming media, was named today as an official streaming provider of SUPERBOWL.COM, the NFL's official Web site for fans of Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 28, 2001. SUPERBOWL.COM is produced by the NFL in partnership with CBS Sports and SportsLine.com Inc., an Internet sports media company and publisher of CBS SportsLine.com.
Under the agreement, SUPERBOWL.COM will utilize iBEAM's intelligent streaming media network to deliver broadcasts of the events surrounding the game as well as live foreign language audio streams of the game to the worldwide audience that visits SUPERBOWL.com. In the days prior to the Super Bowl, iBEAM will deliver streaming media produced by the NFL and its content and technology partner, SportsLine.com. Streaming content will include numerous video and audio features, including player diaries, an archive of past Super Bowl highlights, live audio Webcasts of team and coach press conferences and podium feeds from the Super Bowl media day. The coverage will culminate on game day with more than 10 simultaneous live audio streams, including play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XXXV in six foreign languages. Streaming video of the game itself will not be offered.
The iBEAM Network uses satellite and fiber-optic technologies to deliver content to the MaxCaster media serving systems located in Access Providers' networks near the end-user, on the edge of the Internet. This approach allows streams to avoid the congestion that frequently causes interruption and poor quality in live Webcasts.
Crispin to Provide Playback Automation for Super Bowl
Crispin planned to provide the playback automation services that control the millions of dollars of ad spots during the Super Bowl.
From simple to total TV automation, Crispin is a provider of reliable and flexible solutions for broadcast facilities around the world.
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