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Satellite-Based IP Platforms Meet Challenges of Live Programming

Today’s media consumers can choose from an expanding selection of programming choices, as the quality of linear online and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services now rivals that of traditional broadcasters. 

One area where traditional broadcasters can continue to lead is with live, linear events. This is especially true for special events such as sports and other “at-the-scene” programming that only skilled newsgathering teams can provide.

For programmers that cover breaking news, specials or sports events in remote locations, budget pressures force production teams to implement new technologies that simplify an increasingly complex production environment.

This group of programmers faces a number of unique hurdles, including:
• Expense: Costs are on the rise to support viewer video consumption on multiple screens, which forces broadcasters and programmers to look for greater efficiencies for remote production and affiliate connectivity.

• Quality: Ensuring the quality of remote video can be challenging. Lower-end video transmission options often suffer from degraded quality, unpredictable network availability, and poor reliability.

• Complexity: Securing uncontested connectivity from remote events often means working with multiple circuit providers for voice communication, internet and data circuits. Managing numerous providers quickly leads to delays and inefficiencies in the field.

Broadcasters Respond

Many TV operators are transitioning IT and video-operation infrastructures to IP platforms so they can achieve maximum flexibility, scalability and efficiency. As a result, they need to shift their video-contribution technologies to IP as well—to efficiently manage increased traffic between multiple network affiliates and a broadcast center.

New, satellite-based IP media platforms use two-way VSAT technology to contribute and share video with network affiliates while simultaneously establishing voice, data and internet connectivity using the same satellite capacity. 

These platforms also eliminate the need to contract multiple vendors for video, voice, data and internet at remote production venues. Rather than paying venues excessive fees to lease fiber, phone lines or internet, these platforms empower station operators to pay only for the bandwidth they need. 

For network-affiliate connectivity requiring a full-time solution, these platforms give operators a unified and simplified network to exchange video content. 

Platform Success

To demonstrate the efficiency of satellite-based IP media platforms, last summer, mobile satellite transmission leader PSSI used IntelsatOne Prism to do a live, major-network broadcast of a skydiver jumping 25,000 feet above the California desert without a parachute. 

A major television network provided its own video contribution. Through PSSI, the network leveraged IntelsatOne Prism’s multiple VoIP lines and internet connectivity for the personnel on site. IntelsatOne Prism provided dedicated and guaranteed megabits to ensure reliable cell phone connectivity in a remote and unpredictable location. 

Streamlining Networks

Streamlining their production and video-contribution networks into a single IP platform allows operators to have fixed, predictable costs and lower expenses for maintenance and support of video operations.

With the right offerings, broadcasters and programmers can access uncontested IP connectivity, anytime, anywhere. 

Peter Ostapiuk is head of media product services at satellite operatorIntelsat. Photo courtesy of the company.