NFL Network has gone live from newly expanded facilities with the largest Riedel intercom system in the U.S. The cable network has undergone a significant upgrade that added a second studio, ten edit bays, and increased its Riedel communication configuration threefold. The project’s launch coincided with the debut of NFL Network’s eight-game package of regular season games that began on Thanksgiving night.
The Riedel installation consists of three Artist 128-port mainframes and nearly 100 control panels. NFL Network chose Riedel’s Artist digital intercom platform based upon the organization’s successful history with the manufacturer’s equipment. The Artist 128 represents Riedel’s next generation intercom with increased scalability and flexibility. It was designed to benefit mission-critical applications such as broadcast studios and remote production. The platform consists of a fiber-based backbone providing a decentralized network infrastructure for production intercom and the distribution of analog and digital audio. The system is fully redundant, all modules are hot-swappable and extensive online, realtime system monitoring as well as multiple computer control capability via Riedel’s Director Configuration software allows the highest degree of reliability and ease of rapid repair, so essential to live sports operation. “The system has been virtually trouble free since initial operation began in late 2003 and the only time we ever hear from them is when they need more equipment or they have a programming question. They are the proverbial ‘customer from heaven’,” reports Bruce Bidlack, manager of technical support.
Prior to broadcasting from its newly expanded digs on November 23, NFL Network had been utilizing temporary facilities located onsite. Sweetwater Digital Productions, an LA-based organization that provides turnkey production system rentals, has provided interim facilities, including their own rental Riedel Artist system which is fully interconnected with fiber to the existing system to keep NFL Network on-air as operations expand to occupy their greatly expanded home.
NFL Network launched on November 4, 2003 to 11.5 million homes, making it the most widely distributed sports network in the history of cable and satellite television. It presently runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and reaches over 41 million subscribers with more than 1,500 hours of original programming.
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