Snell & Wilcox Successfully Supports 2006 FIFA World Cup

Snell & Wilcox today announced that leading media companies, including major U.K. and German broadcasters and one of the largest Spanish-language networks, completed coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup using Snell & Wilcox technology to deliver all 27 matches to viewers across the globe in the right format and at the highest quality possible.

Backed by a dedicated support team from Snell & Wilcox, FIFA World Cup broadcasters used 10 Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switchers, along with the company's Alchemist Ph.C standards converters and a variety of Snell & Wilcox distribution, processing, monitoring, and control solutions to mix HD feeds of the game with other HD and SD sources for worldwide delivery (PAL and NTSC) in HD, SD, and analog formats.

"The FIFA World Cup final alone was estimated to draw one billion television viewers, and many of the broadcasters providing this coverage relied on Snell & Wilcox equipment to bring top-quality live pictures home to their viewers," said Joe Zaller, vice president of marketing at Snell & Wilcox. "By providing exceptional levels of support during the install phase, we were able to ensure that issues did not arise during the actual tournament. Then, during the five weeks of World Cup play, we provided front-line support on the ground in Germany, as well as 24-hour phone and E-mail support, to guarantee these systems operated without a hitch."

Continuous technical support throughout the tournament was complemented by the availability of service spares at Snell & Wilcox's German offices in Wiesbaden/Frankfurt and also in Munich.

During their production of the FIFA World Cup, broadcasters benefited from the Kahuna's ability to handle both SD and HD sources transparently and relied on the system's integrated conversion processes to drive HD and SD versions of their productions. During the BBC's coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup from studios and facilities in both Munich and Berlin, the broadcaster relied on Kahuna systems installed at both sites to work with both SD and HD sources in the same mainframe, integrate them seamlessly into production, and supply transmission feeds simultaneously in both formats. For Spanish-language broadcaster Televisa, the Kahuna's unique ability to integrate SD and HD sources seamlessly into productions without the need for external up- or down-converters enabled the use of existing SD equipment and newer HD technology to deliver high-quality broadcasts to viewers across Mexico on the country's first two HD channels. Because the Kahuna also provides a robust feature set and familiar, intuitive switching interface, it allowed operators to achieve high production values while working using industry-standard switching techniques.

With its Ph.C phase correlation motion estimation technology, the Snell & Wilcox Alchemist Ph.C allowed broadcasters to realize near-transparent conversion between frame rates, a particularly important capability for a prestigious, high-value event like the FIFA World Cup. Although noise would not normally be considered an issue today with modern cameras, it can be an issue when cameras are covering areas, such as the various pitches of the World Cup, shot in bright sunlight and in shade. The Alchemist Ph.C is immune to noise and changes in lighting levels, giving broadcasters a reliable tool for delivering crisp, clear pictures.