The Seven Network, Australia’s number one free-to-air TV network, deployed its fleet of TVU Networks’ receivers and mobile IP transmitters for several high-profile, live sporting events, including the Winter and Paralympic Games from PyeongChang and the 2018 Commonwealth Games which were hosted in Australia.
Seven’s large fleet of TVU units also regularly provides live IP video streaming daily for local and international news coverage, the network’s popular “Sunrise” morning show, the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Football League and more.
With a large number of Australian athletes at the Winter Games, Paralympic Games and Commonwealth Games, (60 at the Winter and Paralympic Games and 469 at the Commonwealth Games), Seven wanted to maximize live coverage of Australian athletes and their families before, during and after the events. TVU receivers and mobile IP transmitters were used extensively to provide live and replay interviews of athletes and family members as well as transmit color commentary during live competitions. TVU units also transmitted live cut-ins from Seven’s News and “Sunrise” programs throughout the duration of the events.
Additionally, the TVU Anywhere app was used during the Winter Games and the Commonwealth Games to provide live coverage of athletes travelling via bus on their way to the opening ceremony and their events.
“With the TVU units and mobile apps, we could really localize our live coverage in a number of ways,” said Seven Network’s Telecommunications Manager Dave Watts. “Without the TVU technology, we would not have been able to produce live reporting that was constant and so in-depth. It truly added a whole new level to these events this year.”
For the Winter Olympics, Seven used a total of six TVU mobile IP transmitters, including the award-winning TVU One. At the International Broadcast Center (IBC), Seven had two TVU receive channels to receive production and news streams. For the Paralympics, Seven used the TVU One for live coverage of the event. All live transmissions for the Paralympics were sent directly to TVU Receivers at Seven’s main master control room in Melbourne.
Throughout the games, the cellular coverage in PyeongChang was solid, with adequate coverage throughout the area. To avoid high cell charges while waiting for live interviews to begin, Seven used TVU’s Economy Preview mode to reduce bandwidth. Economy Preview provides a low-resolution preview of the live shot with audio at a fixed latency until the video is ready to go on-air in full HD.
“Preview mode was a big cost saver for us,” said Dave Watts. “It worked really well. Many times we didn’t know exactly when the interview would occur. Our control room monitored the live shot without using unnecessary data, and we never lost one frame of video.”
For the Commonwealth Games, Seven served as the Australian broadcast rights-holder, using a total of 16 TVU transmitters. For this event, live shots were received at both the IBC (where Seven had four TVU Transceiver decoders) and at the main Sydney Seven News master control room. Seven also deployed TVU transmitters for support coverage during the event, including one live shot from a primary school that an Australian Commonwealth athlete attended.
“The way in which the Seven Network combined our technology is a powerful case study for just how easy it is for broadcasters to improve their live sports coverage,” said Matt McEwen, VP of Product Management at TVU Networks. “They used several tools in a cohesive workflow designed to strengthen the connection between the viewer and live programming. We’re thrilled when we see what the Seven Network has accomplished with our gear.”