The world is watching
FIFA World Cup fans are expecting the best in quality and reliability of coverage, and with 3.4 billion people watching, the tech happening behind the scenes must be flawless.
With half the world expected to tune in to the FIFA World Cup at some point during its run, there’s no room for error by those with the rights to broadcast it. After all, we’ve seen the level of emotion in people no matter the outcome of their teams!
In the UK, where three-quarters of the population is expected to tune in, those with broadcast rights are ensuring British fans are getting the best coverage. Of course, this World Cup is unlike any other for viewers — FIFA is producing all 64 matches in 4K UHD for premium content viewing on all devices, not just televisions. Viewers are promised the sharpest, brightest images yet, and they don’t want to be disappointed.
A lot goes on behind the scenes to make it all work seamlessly, and our team at Garland worked with our partners to ensure all the needed equipment was ready and waiting for our customers. From delivering the video content from the stadiums in Russia to covering fan reactions back home in the UK, we’re part of what makes it happen.
At this World Cup, we’ve supplied the most innovative solutions around from our partner LiveU, which enable live video transmission from any of the 12 venues, the furthest of which are over 1,800 miles (3,000 km) apart. We’ve provided broadcasters with rental units of LiveU’s new portable transmission unit, the LU600s Offering both exceptional performance and speed, the LU600 is perfect for live global sports coverage. The LU600 delivers the highest video quality and bitrate in the market (up to 20Mbps), and is set to offer the fastest file transfer (60Mbps), lowest delay and 100Mbps high-speed Internet connection.
LiveU also arranged with two Russian operators to give customers the option of using priority SIM cards. These give a minimum bandwidth needed for live video delivery and excellent coverage in the most crowded areas.
The advantage of LiveU solutions is that you’re not tied down to a single transmission method, such as a single cellular, hardwired Ethernet, Wi-Fi or satellite. Instead, you can load balance across all methods, including multiple cellular channels. Customers get guaranteed coverage even when connectivity is unpredictable. LiveU also has support crews located in every venue city.
One UK broadcaster transmitting to the UK from Russia is using LU600s. They also have a LiveU Xtender integrated antenna solution to increase network reception. The Xtender provides additional resiliency for live video transmission in extreme scenarios, such as in heavily crowded areas or remote locations. It lets them bond cellular connections with their satellite connections for ultimate live video performance, or to remotely connect to the LU600 uplink units over traditional IP networking allowing for connections to different cellular masts when others may be saturated. The streams from Russia then point to the LiveU LU2000 downlink server residing in the UK, part of the transmission and delivery of World Cup content for UK viewers. The LU2000 bonded video receiver is used to receive, reconstruct and playout any bonded video stream sent by LiveU’s range of field units.
LiveU solutions are used to cover the England matches for multiple media outlets. One broadcast crew is located at the England team’s hotel in Repino, and they travel to the locations of the England games providing up-to-date reports on England’s activity, interviews and fan reaction.
In addition, many UK broadcasters are using NTT Electronics’ 4K UHD contribution solution we’ve provided to them. NTT Electronics encoders and decoders are noted for their superb quality, fast boot-up, low delay and multiple input/output interfaces making them the choice for high-definition digital broadcasting. A For example, a UK teleport and content aggregator is downlinking the FIFA broadcast feed using the NTT 4K UHD decoder and delivering the content OTT in 4K UHD to a broadcaster in Africa. Also in this workflow is the Media Excel HERO 4K UHD distribution encoder.
Once the content has landed in the UK, scores of organisations have found innovative ways to share content with fans. One UK casino and entertainment company, for example, takes World Cup satellite feed and converts to IP using a DVB headend from WISI. The content is then transmitted around their internal IPTV system and up onto large video walls to showcase the matches to its on-site fans keen to keep informed on the latest World Cup outcomes. Similarly, several Premier League football clubs are providing atmosphere shots on their stadium video screens.
Of course, making it all worthwhile will be seeing the reaction of the fans as they witness the best in coverage and content. Having done our job right that reaction is all to do with what’s happening on the field.