Tech Partnerships Pile Up for NBC Olympics

Leading up to the NAB Show in Las Vegas, NBC Olympics announced a series of partnerships to manage its broadcast and live stream from Rio
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The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are quickly approaching, and NBC Olympics will be getting a lot of help to broadcast and stream the games Aug. 5-21.

Leading up to the NAB Show in Las Vegas, NBC Olympics, a division of NBC Sports Group, announced a series of partnerships to manage the broadcast on NBC and other NBC Universal networks, along with streaming via NBC Sports Live Extra and NBCOlympics.com.

“NEP has been an integral part of NBC Olympics’ coverage of the past 11 Games. They not only have excellent mobile facilities but also, a great team of remote TV professionals, well versed in the technical and operational aspects of a production. NEP is a key member of our NBC Olympics team,” said Christopher Adams, VP of venue engineering for NBC Olympics, about a continued partnership with NEP Group, which will provide engineering consulting and mobile broadcasting for production of the event.

NEP will offer up outside broadcast units and associated support vans for coverage of the opening ceremony, gymnastics, track and field, swimming, volleyball and the closing ceremony. The company is bringing roughly 25 technical engineering and support personnel for mobile broadcasting facilities, and another 15 or so at the international broadcast center to help with operations management.

“NEP is proud to support NBC on its coverage of the Rio Olympics and continue our relationship that has spanned every Winter and Summer Games broadcast over the past 28 years,” said Deb Honkus, NEP founder and chairwoman, in a statement.

To ensure a reliable high-def broadcast, NBC is turning to Ericsson and its video processing solutions and modular receivers. Ericsson engineers will be providing on-site support and assisting with system and equipment set-up. NBC will be putting all its MPEG compression needs on Ericsson, and rely on the company to properly maintain a balance between delivering HD without putting too much stress on bandwidth, according to David Mazza, senior VP of engineering for NBC Olympics. Ericsson has worked with NBC on several Olympics in the past.

“Our deep heritage in delivering next generation solutions for content acquisition, exchange and distribution will ensure that U.S. fans get to witness each thrilling sporting moment in the best possible quality," said Elisabetta Romano, VP and head of TV and media for Ericsson. “Our ongoing work with NBC Olympics is great testament to our compression solutions and services, which deliver truly immersive and seamless experiences to consumers across all devices.”

Meanwhile, Harmonic has been tapped for its shared storage systems and production media servers, with NBC Olympics using the company’s solutions in 10 locations worldwide. MediaDeck media servers will record up to 60 incoming venue feeds and NBC Olympics production staff in the U.S. and Brazil will have access to content stored on the system.

“Harmonic infrastructure has been at the heart of the NBC Olympics production workflow since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, supporting the evolution of coverage into a spectacular multiplatform offering of exciting, timely content,” said Bart Spriester, senior VP of video products at Harmonic. “We’re proud to be a trusted partner of NBC Olympics once again, and we look forward to a hugely successful 2016 Rio Olympics.”

Other Olympic partnerships announced:

• Calrec will provide seven audio mixing consoles to NBC Olympics for coverage of basketball, the triathlon, the marathon, volleyball, cycling and diving.

• Spectra Logic will provide two of its Logic T50e tape libraries onsite in Rio de Janeiro for video archive and disaster recovery.

• FileCatalyst will provide digital file delivery software, to help move the 10 TB of data a day NBC Olympics expects to transfer between Rio and NBC Olympics headquarters in Stamford, Conn.

• Audio-Technica will provide microphones, monitor headphones and broadcast headsets. 

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