Imagine Communications Deploys Largest Collegiate IPTV System at UW

With one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in college football, the University of Washington keeps Husky fans engaged with Imagine Communications’ Nexio InfoCaster IPTV solution.

Prior to the 2013 season, the UW tapped Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) to install the IPTV system as part of a $280 million renovation of Husky Stadium, Alaska Airlines Arena, and Husky Ballpark.

Imagine, working with subcontractor Diversified Systems, installed approximately 1,000 InfoCaster Players on LG displays throughout the three venues. The project, spearheaded by Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment SVP Bob Jordan, represents the largest IPTV deployment in the collegiate market to date.

“From a flexibility standpoint — and, obviously, the creation capability — it’s got the most horsepower in the digital-sign space right now that also processes live video, which for sports projects [is] key,” says Mike Arthur, GM, sports and entertainment, Imagine Communications. “Walking around a concourse, you’ve got to be able to keep track of the game. University of Washington, with Bob as the key consultant, [was] looking for the most flexibility and the most capability in a system, and, obviously, we have a great product in InfoCaster for that.”

The Nexio InfoCaster system enables the UW production staff to create and send zone-specific content to any number of screens throughout the campus. Controlling the hundreds of InfoCaster Players is InfoCaster Manager headend, located in Alaska Airlines Arena’s video-control room (which serves all three newly renovated athletic facilities).

“In sports, you create your look, your feel, from the production room, and that’s where we emanate — obviously, [with] the InfoCaster but also a lot of the other products that we’re involved with,” says Arthur. “Our sports and live-events group tends to look at it from a workflow perspective as opposed to a technical perspective. … We like to think that we’re able to take it further because of our roots and our background. [We] talk like the guys and gals that are actually going to be using this system on a daily basis at these venues.”

However, he adds, InfoCaster is not just for the super-connected venues like the University of Washington. Because the system can be deployed over existing coax or cable, he sees the system benefiting universities on smaller budgets.

“That’s a huge differentiator for us and makes this affordable in the college space,” he points out. “To be able to leverage InfoCaster, which has got high capability but [is] able to do it on an existing infrastructure, brings that cost way down for most major colleges and in small universities, for that matter.”

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