[Satellite News 04-20-12] Excitement regarding the 2012 Olympics in London, the ever-increasing mobility of video consumers and the rapid growth of the Latin America commercial market dominated the spotlight at the 2012 NAB Show.
Satellite News spoke with several satellite vendors at the Las Vegas Convention Center about the factors that are driving the broadcast market into 2013 and beyond. Media Networks Latin America (MNLA) CTO Pedro Planas said that the amount of broadcast and data business coming out of South America should eliminate the region’s classification as an emerging market.
“MNLA alone has 40 transponders of capacity and more than 400 channels to serve our customer base, which is spread throughout South America and up into Mexico,” said Planas. “Beyond video, we’re happy to announce that we will be delivering the first Ka-band satellite Internet capacity to the region next year through the ViaSat-1 satellite.”
Planas said the decision to go to Ka-band data was a natural one for MNLA, as the limitations of Ku-band became increasingly evident in the region. “There wasn’t a sufficient amount of infrastructure for the Ku-band approach,” he said. “The physics of the Ka-band environment allow us to reach millions of subscribers through one satellite. This not only allows us to hit commercial consumers, but also enterprise businesses, which are a key target for us moving forward.”
FSS operator Intelsat is also investing into Latin America’s infrastructure. Unlike its European rival SES, which is focusing on space-based architecture, Intelsat sees its path into the region on the ground. Intelsat Senior Vice President of Global Sales Kurt Riegelman spoke with Satellite News about a new point-of-presence (POP) it is building in Miami.
“This IntelsatONE POP will give the Caribbean and Latin American region improved access to our fiber network, satellites and teleports,” said Riegelman. “This project is our effort to lay a foundation to Latin America and Brazil, which exists as sort of an island in the region in terms of infrastructure. The new POP will be installed at a carrier-neutral network access point during the next several months. When complete, it will give South America access to our other video neighborhoods and flexibility to scale business needs.”
The upcoming Olympic games in London was another topic that drove technology discussions at the show. ScheduAll CEO Joel Ledlow told Satellite News that the company was not only using the NAB show to demonstrate its satellite Link technology, but also to demonstrate how satellite networks would play a role in the Olympic coverage and how the event itself would serve as a preview for future technology.
“NBC Sports is the exclusive media rights holder to the Olympic Games through 2012. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the broadcasting logistics for NBC were far more complex than previous games,” said Ledlow. “Each of the 31 Olympic venues located in and around Beijing had its own production facility responsible for numerous camera positions, which provided hundreds of feeds that were processed and delivered to air over the course of the games. In 2012, ScheduAll will once again be a key component of a comprehensive digital asset media solution, currently in implementation, that will manage all video feeds and streaming encoders for transmitting Olympic content.”
Ledlow explained that excitement leading up to the Olympics allowed his company to provide hands-on demonstrations of the innovations the company has been crafting during the past several years. “Some are brand new and some are extensions of our core platform that today is recognized as an industry standard,” said Ledlow. “We aren't passive in our approach either. We are listening to our customers and you will see, we are bringing many new technologies to market every year. We continue to grow our community with non bespoke, very real solutions that not only meet the business and operational needs of today, but accommodate and future-proof the project and profitability requirements for the years ahead.”
Nordic technology firm Ericsson also was contracted to provide a range of video processing solutions and support services to NBC Olympics during its coverage of the 2012 Olympic games from London.
The Ericsson solution that NBC is contracting aims to help the network deliver HD content across both contribution and distribution feeds from the Olympic venues to millions of viewers in the United States. The solution comprises a range of products including MPEG-4 AVC encoders, professional receivers, multiplexers, satellite modulators and a team of support engineers in both London and New York.
Ericsson Vice President and Head of Television Services Staffan Pehrson told Satellite News that while TV coverage of sporting events is some of the most demanding content to compress and transmit, his company has experience handling the challenges of delivering live sports event coverage to sizable audiences.
“The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world, and as a result viewers expect coverage to be of the highest quality,” said Pehrson. “Live events like this create TV memories and I'm sure that the team at NBC Olympics will raise the bar again this summer. We are proud to provide solutions that allow NBC Olympics to bring U.S. viewers closer to the action and give them the best seat in the house.”