ESPN STAR Sports chooses TANDBERG Television for First MPEG-4 AVC Contribution and Distribution System

TANDBERG Television, part of the Ericsson Group, today announced it has been chosen by ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) to provide the advanced video compression head-end for the world’s first MPEG-4 AVC contribution and distribution (C&D) system. The deal will enable Asia’s biggest sports broadcaster to more efficiently distribute its programming to cable head-ends across
Asia and to manage its satellite transponder usage.

ESPN STAR Sports showcases an unparalleled variety of premier live sports from around the globe 24 hours a day to a cumulative reach of more than 310 million viewers in
Asia via its encrypted pay services to 15 networks covering 24 countries . The service provider is harnessing the best-in-class bit-rate performance of TANDBERG Television’s next-generation MPEG-4 AVC EN8000 encoders to achieve bandwidth savings while still maintaining essential high picture quality.

The deployment of this first MPEG-4 AVC C&D system marks an important milestone in the evolution of the advanced compression standard and for TANDBERG Television’s market leadership in professional video compression. Having already gained a strong lead in DTH and IPTV, TANDBERG Television’s MPEG-4 AVC encoding has now reached the performance and reliability levels that makes it suitable for the demanding professional video transport and backhaul area, where maintaining picture quality is paramount.

Andy Rylance, ESPN Star Sports Senior Director, Engineering, said; “As Asia’s number one sports content provider, having the best possible picture quality is critical to our viewers and a primary driver in our business and technology decision making process. The bandwidth savings and transponder efficiencies of MPEG-4 AVC are economically attractive and, as a leader in the broadcast industry in
Asia, we wanted to take advantage of this new technological development as an early adopter. ESPN STAR Sports is confident that TANDBERG Television’s MPEG-4 AVC encoders can deliver us with the picture quality we demand. We are pleased to be working with TANDBERG Television on this exciting roll-out.”

The contract will see the deployment of a new TANDBERG Television video head-end, including EN8030 standard definition encoders, at ESPN Star Sports’ 73,000 square-foot state-of-the-art production facilities and earthstation in

Singapore. The EN8030 is TANDBERG Television’s next-generation SD advanced encoder and combines enhanced features with the industry’s leading picture quality versus performance through bandwidth improvements of up to 50% over currently deployed MPEG-4 AVC units. The EN8030 is setting new bandwidth benchmarks thanks to a number of innovative features. These include improved motion estimation processes, single slice video processing architecture, dedicated processing for low resolution encoding of Picture-in-Picture services, and a number of performance boosting features such as Multi-Pass analysis and enhanced video pre-processing which are the basis of 12 new patent applications.

“We are delighted to be working with ESPN Star Sports to achieve another industry first in advanced video compression. ESS is an early adopter of digital TV technology on which it has developed a world-class viewer experience. The use of MPEG-4 AVC will not only bring operational efficiencies to ESS’ C&D network, but it will create an opportunity for the introduction of more channels and services,” said Graham Cradock, EVP and general manager of TANDBERG Television Asia-Pacific.

“With more than four years of first-to-market advanced compression experience and over 5,500 MPEG-4 AVC HD and SD encoders commercially deployed, we know that our customers need a unique combination of industry leading performance, reliability and choice. We are continually driving to provide customers with the performance and product features they need on which to confidently build their digital video businesses.”

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