ESPN STAR Sports Taps Haivision for Facilities in Singapore and Taiwan
Haivision announced that Asia’s No. 1 sports content provider, ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), is using Haivision’s Barracuda H.264 encoder and Makito decoder at its Singapore and Taiwan facilities to support live sports commentary in multiple languages. The extremely low latency of the Haivision encoder and decoder enables ESS to adopt an exceptionally fast and cost-effective model for delivering quality HD content in which commentary is closely synchronized with the video.
News Corporation and ESPN recently entered into a definitive agreement under which a unit of News Corporation will buy ESPN’s 50% equity interest in ESPN STAR Sports (ESS). The transaction will allow News Corporation units to own and operate all of the ESS businesses while providing ESPN more independence and flexibility in future support of The Walt Disney Company’s overall efforts in Asia.
“The remarkably low latency of Haivision’s Makito and Barracuda systems is critical to our live multilingual commentary model,” said Colin Sherriff, vice president of operations and technology at ESPN STAR Sports. “In providing sub-second round-trip latency, the Haivision systems enable us to improve the quality of commentary by using local voiceover talent. We’ve also been able to eliminate our reliance on costly ISDN links and therefore realize a very quick return on our investment.”
Within ESS’s new video workflow, live HD programming coming into the ESS Singapore facility is downconverted to SD and — using the Makito/Barracuda systems’ lowest latency settings — it is sent across an IP link to the Taiwan office. A commentator in Taiwan then provides a Mandarin voiceover for the live video, which is delivered back to Singapore across the IP link using an audio IP codec. In Singapore, the voice is inserted into the incoming signal, adding Mandarin commentary prior to routing the video to studios and transmission suites. The latency of the Haivision systems is so low that ESS doesn’t need to delay the main incoming HD video feed to ensure that the commentary is synchronized with the video.
Given the success of the Haivision system over its first four months of daily usage, ESS is expanding its utilization in Taiwan with a second channel for additional commentary and is in the process of investigating deployments in other countries and regions in the Asia/Pacific region. The Barracuda and Makito high-performance encoder and decoder were delivered by local systems integrator Techtel.