Rio 2016

Live From Rio 2016: RTVE Serves Games to Spain Viewers

Victor Sánchez Garcia, technical support director/technical manager, special events, Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE), is on hand in Rio with a team of 128 people to ensure that Olympic fans in Spain get their fill of the action, even if the time-zone difference is not ideal.

“The best hours were in London. Down here, it’s 5 a.m. or the middle of the night when some of the finals take place,” Garcia points out. “That’s been the worst thing for us. But, yesterday, we had the largest audience, so it’s been good.”

Victor Sánchez Garcia in RTVE's master control facility which serves out Olympic coverage to viewers in Spain.

Victor Sánchez Garcia in RTVE’s master-control facility, which serves out Olympic coverage to viewers in Spain.

The RTVE operation includes a master-control room that receives incoming feeds and produces the coverage that is seen in Spain from 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day on La 1, RTVE’s flagship channel. There are also four off-tube commentary positions and a small insert studio within the channel’s IBC footprint. The channel has commentary positions at eight venues.

RTVE’s 24/7 sports channel, Teledeporte, is wall-to-wall with sports coverage, and Spanish fans can also see all of the content OBS is packaging in its Multichannel Distribution Service (MDS) because all those channels are being streamed. Fiber connectivity with the channel’s main broadcast facility in Madrid is via two fibers with around 300 Mbps of capacity each. MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 are being used for signal transport.

“We have eight ENG crews moving around Rio and also a studio at Copacabana with four cameras,” says Garcia. “We mix all of those signals here with the other coverage.”

Like all broadcasters working at the Games, RTVE has battled its share of logistical issues, such as telecommunications, electricity, and power.

“But now we’re up and running, focused on the operation, and all the systems are working well,” says Garcia. “Our team has a good relationship with each other, and, in these kinds of events, you always leave with more friends than you came with.”