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Symetrix comes to the rescue for Yahoo! Sports broadcasts

To maintain its leadership of online content delivery, the Yahoo! Sports broadcast facility, which produces original webcasts including the weekly “Fantasy Football Live” show, recently upgraded its video equipment to HD. Systems integrator Snader and Associates, in San Rafael, CA, performed the upgrade and recently returned to install two of the new Jupiter processors by Symetrix to conquer unforeseen delays in the video signal.

Yahoo! continues to define the next generation of online content with an interactive sports channel commanding the loyalty of millions. After the switch to HD, latencies in the new system led to unacceptable delays in the video signal relative to audio. The Symetrix Jupiter processors solved the problem cost-effectively, with processing power to spare for future upgrades.

Snader and Associates, which helped assemble Yahoo! Sports’ broadcast facility back in 2000, was called back to swap out existing equipment for an HD path and a new switcher with the requirement that some of the facility’s SD workflow had to remain in place. “We were all aware that there would be some delay issues with up- and downconversion,” said Snader engineer Nicholas Smith, “but these were worse than we expected and, perhaps more importantly, the delay times were inconsistent and depended on which combination of cameras and devices were used for a particular broadcast. That meant we couldn’t simply slap a fixed delay on the audio and call it done. The situation called for more nuance.”

He continued, “The broadcast world is rife with single- or dual-channel delays. Here, we could have filled a rack with them, but adjusting them would have been cumbersome and they would never aspire to anything else … They’d just be a bunch of delays sitting there. I was aware of Symetrix’s new Jupiter line, which contains high-end processing capabilities within a remarkably easy to manipulate interface at a cost that was actually less than a rack full of broadcast delays. Jupiter was an elegant solution: The users could easily adjust the delays to meet the needs of a particular broadcast, it didn’t cost much and it contained all kinds of potential to meet future needs.”

Inspired in part, by smart phone technology, Symetrix Jupiter users download an app that meets the requirements of their sound system from the Symetrix website, and the Jupiter hardware is immediately and appropriately configured. Users can tweak settings from an intuitive programming interface. For Yahoo!, Smith used the Sound Reinforcement 2 app, which allows the client to route audio sources through the Jupiter and adjust the delay to match the video. The two Jupiter 8 units installed, each with eight inputs and eight outputs, stand between the facility’s audio router and its soundboard. A dedicated laptop allows operators to dial in the appropriate delay with speed and precision.