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Olympics 2010: Canada Preps for a Mountain of Coverage

Canadian Olympics fans that can't make it the Vancouver Games in person may enjoy a better view from their living room, given the tremendous volume of coverage that will be delivered by the Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, a partnership between conglomerates CTV Inc. and Rogers Media. The Consortium will provide 4,600 live hours of coverage across television and Web streaming, along with an additional 200 hours of live radio broadcasts, capturing every event from start to finish.

The 2,250 hours of Vancouver action, which more than doubles the amount of Canadian television coverage from the 2006 Torino Games, will be delivered through a mix of broadcast and cable outlets including English-language CTV, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, OLN, APTN, and MuchMusic; French-language V, RDS, RIS Info Sports and APTN; and multilingual OMNI.1, OMNI.2, ATN and APTN.

The 2,350 hours of online coverage will be offered on and, which will be using Microsoft's Silverlight technology. 14 concurrent live streams will be available, including live feeds from CTV, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, V and RDS and world feed broadcast streams of every sport and discipline.

The production team will number some 1,400 staffers at the IBC in Vancouver and across the various venues, with six sets at the IBC and two sets in Whistler. Key vendors include Iroquois, Ontario-based Ross Video, which is supplying seven Vision multi-definition production switchers and a number of SoftMetal video servers; Harris, which is supplying NEXIO AMP servers, NewsForce production systems, NetVX video networking, Inscriber G7 graphics, and Videotek test and measurement gear; Avid, which is supplying Media Composer editors and ISIS storage systems; and Sony, which is supplying its XDCAM HD camcorders.

The Consortium has also selected Seattle-based Isilon Systems to provide it with a massive shared storage system that will serve as the primary repository for all of its Winter Games raw footage and video packages and allow editors across the country to concurrently access content. CTV currently uses an Isilon network-attached storage (NAS) system as the primary storage for its broadcast operations in Toronto, where it is integrated with Harris Nexio servers and Avid editors, and has installed Isilon IQ clusters at seven of its owned stations. CTV engineers have worked with Isilon to dramatically scale up that system to handle the Consortium's needs.

Over the past eight years, CTV has created a media asset management system and proprietary "Video Gateway" broadcast portal to transport content between its 17 affiliates, says CTV senior manager of media technology systems Mike Kozlakowski. In order to achieve interoperability, it relies on Masstech technology to transcode content between the various MPEG "flavors" used by Harris, Sony and Avid gear.

CTV connected the Video Gateway to Isilon storage two years ago, and has since steadily expanded its use. For the Consortium's application at the Games, CTV will have a large Isilon system at the IBC in Vancouver that will connect to the Harris servers and store MPEG-2 HD video recorded at 50 megabits per second. By linking to the Video Gateway, the video on that Isilon system will then be accessible to Consortium production staff in Vancouver and CTV editors across Canada.