Rogers Media has selected SAM to provide a range of technology for its new 4K and HDR broadcasting services. The programming package includes over 100 live sports events, including every Toronto Blue Jays baseball home games and more than 20 NHL games. At the heart of the installation is a Kahuna 9600 switcher, featuring a 16 input A/B cut buss, for the MCR alongside Morpheus automation and ICE Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) units. Rogers Media has also installed main and backup 4K sQ servers in addition to a range of SAM infrastructure products.
“We have deployed 4K solutions before, but none of them have been as comprehensive as the system we have installed at Rogers,” said David Tasker, VP systems and technology at SAM. “We’re very proud of the capabilities our 4K range offers and I think we’ve proved we can compete at every level.”
Rogers conducted a period of market research to evaluate playout options, followed by a series of technical trials. This included a visit to BT Sport in London, a broadcaster that is leading the way with 4K in Europe via its recently-launched Ultra HD channel. BT Sport’s production partner, Timeline TV, installed SAM 4K technology in its new OB truck, deployed last year, to service the BT Sport channel.
Rogers then carried out proof-of-concept testing in Canada from multiple manufacturers, with the first live test – a 4K broadcast of a regional hockey game. SAM’s technology was also deployed for coverage of Sportsnet’s joint venture with BT Sport and the NBA to cover the Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic game in January live in 4K from the O2 Arena in London.
Rogers is a long term user of the Enterprise sQ infrastructure for its HD broadcasting. The UHD variant of the sQ 1800 server stores the 4K media as single image files, removing the risk of synchronization or alignment errors. Coupled to a 4K-enabled version of the Qube editor, the system allowed recording, editing and playback from a single mainframe. Playback control was from the existing SAM Morpheus installation.
The Kahuna production switcher provides Rogers Media with the ability to effortlessly handle multiple formats (e.g. HD feeds/commercials), simultaneously using its FormatFusion 3 technology. A built in multiviewer provides convenient source overview and mixer previews. Macro buttons offer fast and easy access of graphics insertion and replay for the switcher’s still and clip stores.
“After a rigorous testing process with a variety of manufacturers, SAM’s technology just worked,” said Frank Bruno, Rogers Media. “SAM’s support during the proof of concept was excellent, installing, testing and ensuring the system would be rock-solid live on-air. In fact, we have gone live with the proof of concept system while we deploy the full system, it worked that well.”