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Motorola tapped for digital feeds

ESPN has selected Motorola's DigiCipher II digital compression gear to launch digital feeds of its networks that will supplement its existing analog satellite distribution.

Motorola's DigiCipher II MPEG-2 encoding system will handle compression, multiplexing and encryption processing for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic.

Affiliates will receive the digital feeds using DigiCipher II DSR4500X integrated receiver/ decoders.

Benefits of the digital system include automated switching to alternate feeds during blackouts, improved signal quality and extra headroom to deliver secondary audio and enhanced data.

"Given the fluid nature of live sports and the complexities of ESPN's programming schedule, we were looking for a system that could handle these demands while virtually eliminating all manual-switching responsibilities of the local affiliate during blackouts," says John Eberhard, director of technical services and transmission for ESPN.