Sunday Night Football Becomes Latest NBC Sports Production To Feature Adtec Encoders

With the NFL season rapidly approaching, NBC Sports is already in full swing for its Sunday Night Football operations and will once again use Adtec encoders and multiplexers for a host of transmission tasks. This season, for the first time, Adtec’s MediaHub-HD 422 encoders will handle the final program transmission and contribution elements for Sunday Night Football in addition to Football Night in America, which employed Adtec gear in 2009.

“The [Adtec] units are versatile and have been used in several different modes dependent on the production need,” says Mike Meehan, SVP of operations for NBC Sports. “The robust, reliable, low-latency architecture coupled with a high level of product support have made the units a valuable resource for our operation.”

Sunday Night Football’s season got under way on Aug. 8 with the Dallas Cowboys-Cincinnati Bengals Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH. The game feed was encoded in MPEG-4 with discrete 5.1 audio by the MediaHub-HD. This marked the first time the game was transmitted in MPEG-4, NBC having used MPEG-2 in past years. The feed is then sent through an Adtec DTA 3050 multiplexer and transmitted back to NBC’s 30 Rock facility in New York over fiber with a satellite backup.

Another four MediaHub-HD 422 encoders were deployed for live shots of the Football Night in America telecast. Each encoded video from three isolated cameras (the fourth served as backup) that captured unique looks of Bob Costas & company during the broadcast. These feeds also were sent back to 30 Rock, where much of the postproduction work was done.

NBC Sports also uses Adtec encoders for much its Sunday Night Football Extra HD streaming service online. For the past two years, Adtec encoders and the DTA 3050 have encoded the game feed for online streaming.

“We chose [Adtec] because of their reputation for outstanding technical support, innovation, and attractive pricing,” says Meehan. “And we plan to continue [using them in the future].”

NBC Sports has also deployed Adtec gear for several other major sports productions in 2010, including Wimbledon, the Kentucky Derby, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We’re constantly developing with [NBC Sports],” says Brian Adair, Eastern regional sales manager for Adtec Digital. “We’ve done a lot of testing based on their requests, and we will continue to do so.”

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