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NHL Network

Submitted by: Comcast Runner-upRunner-up: WJLA-DT & NewsChannel 8
Submitted by The Systems Group

In late 2011, Comcast Media Center (CMC) launched the new NHL Network program origination operation in Comcast's Dry Creek facility. The NHL looked to employ the latest technologies and practices to enhance the on-screen experience and overall quality of its broadcast. It turned to the CMC to provide scheduled and live-event origination as well as distribution services.

The NHL Network's goals for the new origination operation included enhancements to the NHL Network ticker, in-game production-grade graphics, alternate-market programming and improved overall signal quality via a new compression platform that maintains native HD programming to the receiving affiliates.

In the facility, two MCRs are located immediately adjacent to each other within a short distance of the CMC central equipment room. The control rooms each include full-featured systems that offer advanced control over dynamic scheduling, as well as on-screen contribution elements.

The addition of a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) terrestrial fiber network connects nearly all of the North American hockey arenas to both the NHL studio operations and CMC via terrestrial fiber, yielding significant inbound feed capacity.

CMC's in-house Software Solutions Group provided automated traffic log conversions that saved the NHL and CMC programming staff many hours of time. They also worked closely with Chyron and Reality Check Systems on logical placeholder-style graphics scenes to ensure on-air elements could be updated dynamically with minimal effort from in-room staff.

CMC leverages the multi-protocol label switching network to acquire content, graphics and ticker data, in addition to sourcing venue feeds, enabling cost-effective delivery of multiple elements over a single platform.