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Coverage of Winter Games Flirted with the IP Video Transition

LAS VEGAS — Broadcast TV is well down the path to an all-internet protocol transition, and the agility that will bring. But that journey is not quite complete.

A case in point was NBC’s recent coverage of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, which spanned more than 2,400 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable and digital outlets, including about 1,800 hours of live streaming.

Though the primary production is still baseband, a good portion of that work did leverage IP technologies and the proverbial cloud, Dan Robertson vice president, Olympics Information Technology, NBC Olympics, said at an NAB Newsmakers Event hosted by Cisco Systems.

While the main product/broadcast still uses baseband for in-country and at-home product, many of the “peripheral components” used, including digital, were all IP-based, he said. But it marked a big step toward a full-IP ecosystem and architecture.

“The technology is there,” said Benoît Quirynen, senior vice president of market and products at EVS, noting that his company, as a member of Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), a group focused on product interoperability, is committed to an open architecture that can achieve all-IP.

“We pushed the envelope,” with respect to remote production from PyeongChang, Robertson said. By that he meant there was a massive effort to integrate productions from a vast number of Winter Games venues to the International Broadcast Center, where content was then shipped back to the U.S.