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NAB Perspectives: LTN Communications’ Buffolano on How IP Distribution Is Changing Live Sports Production

April 14th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Brandon Costa

LTN Global Communications has built a name for itself, offering budget-friendly methods of distribution for live event productions over its IP network. The company has been innovating, on the live-sports side specifically, with such clients as the North American Soccer League and Sinclair Broadcasting, which uses LTN to transmit college sports live on the American Sports Network.

The LTN Global Communications team: (from left) Tom Buffolano, Jeffrey Wateska, Jonathan Stanton, Fernando Aunon, Missy Gralish, Nilo Rivera, Jacob Green, and Josh Clark at the company’s NAB 2015 suite in the Renaissance Hotel.

The LTN Global Communications team: (from left) Tom Buffolano, Jeffrey Wateska, Jonathan Stanton, Fernando Aunon, Missy Gralish, Nilo Rivera, Jacob Green, and Josh Clark at the company’s NAB 2015 suite in the Renaissance Hotel.

This week at NAB 2015, LTN is showing off its new LTN Leaf product: a single integrated unit that combines an LTN embedded appliance, encoder/decoder, and the functionality to transmit and receive live video via LTN’s fully managed global IP network.

SVG sat down with LTN’s Tom Buffolano to discuss its IP network, the new LTN Leaf, and how IP distribution is opening up a world of distribution opportunities for new and experienced content creators.

What is LTN showing off and discussing here at NAB 2015, and how does it relate specifically to the sports market?
The message that has been pretty consistent but will be buoyed by our new product and service offerings is that LTN provides a high-quality broadcast-video solution at a very attractive price so that anybody can become a broadcaster. Whether that’s point-to-point or point-to-multipoint, the flexibility of the LTN 24/7 fully managed service also makes it a very easy proposition for those who find it cost-prohibitive to either use a satellite uplink truck or undergo the cost of installing fiber and the monthly costs associated with that.

How is the new LTN Leaf different from the traditional LTN products?
In effect, what the Leaf does is, it replaces three separate pieces of equipment, which ultimately shrinks our flypack into a more portable solution that can be used for sports across the board domestically and internationally.

The Leaf actually replaces up to two encoders, two decoders, or an encoder and a decoder — it’s flexible in the way that we can configure it — and an LTN appliance. Those three, which are all 1RU, are combined into one, and ultimately what that allows us to do is create a flypack that you can carry on and fit in the overhead luggage when you travel. That’s where we have innovated, understanding that a lot of what we’re finding in the sports community, especially as more and more production companies have to get out and produce events remotely and they can’t afford to bring a truck there or, when they are in a truck, it’s a smaller unit. The LTN Leaf can take up just 1RU and perform a lot of functions in a much smaller space.

Any big trends you are experiencing in meeting with your clients?
The one that is most relevant to LTN is IP workflow. This is a larger trend not just among entities who stream but entities who are producing for broadcast. IP transmission, [which] heretofore has been mostly for streaming, is now entering the broadcast world. But the entire IP workflow ultimately shrinks the amount of space that you need to produce a five-camera, replay, graphics. All of the things that would go into a 50-ft. truck now you can fit into a much smaller space, and LTN, we feel, is a great fit for that workflow.