South African Broadcaster Distributes FIFA World Cup With Harmonic

The FIFA World Cup was played in 10 stadiums in nine South African cities over 31 days. For South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the complex contribution and distribution task was solved in part by encoders and decoders from Silicon Valley-based Harmonic Inc.

The SABC used Harmonic Ellipse 1000 contribution encoders, Electra 8000 HD broadcast encoders and ProView integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs) along with Atecom’s ATM adaptors from local Harmonic partner Graphic Image Technologies (GIT). Harmonic and GIT were selected due to their video quality, scalability, support, integration and performance.

To bring the matches live to fans, an Electra 8000 dual-channel HD encoder and 12 Ellipse 1000 SD encoders, ProView 2900 SD IRDs and ProView 7000 HD decoders were integrated through Atecom Falcon ATM units over the local Telco’s ATM network into SABC’s video infrastructure. The link-up facilitated networking the FIFA International Broadcast Centre (IBC) to the SABC’s Broadcasting Centre at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) and their master control room (MCR) in Auckland Park for final broadcast.

“We chose Harmonic to improve and power our broadcasts simply because the company, through its local partner GIT, provided a good quality, cost-effective, integrated and feature-rich video solution to meet our needs,” said David Wilson, Hi-Tech Manager at SABC. “This latest deployment provided the added performance we needed to bring the World Cup matches, in good quality, to our viewers.”

“With Harmonic’s contribution and distribution solutions, we were able to offer SABC, the host broadcaster, a unique and integrated solution that further enhances scalability, improves performance and eases management of their video services,” said Mark Chertkow of GIT. “With this deployment, SABC has expanded its use of Harmonic’s video delivery solutions and implemented an efficient solution for increasing its live event programming.”

The Ellipse 1000 encoder is ideal for fixed contribution over IP and legacy ATM/PDH/SDH networks. It provides efficient bit-rate utilization for delivery of high-quality video. It simultaneously encodes video feeds as MPEG-2 SD 4:2:0/4:2:2 and MPEG-4 AVC SD 4:2:0, providing a smooth migration path from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 AVC encoding schemes. It is firmware-upgradeable to MPEG-4 AVC HD as well

The professional ProView family of integrated receiver/decoders are broadcast-quality decoders, decryptors and interface converters that provide MPEG-2 and AVC SD/HD decoding, advanced transport stream processing, cutting-edge IP processing technologies and a variety of front-ends, including DVB-S2 and MPEG-over-IP.