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Team Spirit

HD sports are out of the truck in Philadelphia. Comcast SportsNet has begun producing home games for the Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies in high-def from its revamped control room in the Wachovia Center.

Since the network's HD launch last fall, production of the games had been handled out of Comcast's HD truck.

Bob Ayars, vice president of technical operations for Comcast SportsNet (CSN), oversaw the upgrade of the Wachovia facility. Sony Integration began the buildout last November; A.F. Associates completed the project after buying the Sony division.

The control room brings in HD feeds from three Sony HDC-950 cameras and five HDC-900 studio cameras and a Sony MVS8000 production switcher. "We've had great experience this past year with the Sony equipment," says Ayars, "It just made a lot of sense to stick with it."

The truck will occasionally be put to use in Philadelphia. On April 3, the Flyers and the Phillies will be playing at home, and both games will be produced and broadcast in HD.

"When we don't have dual events, we will actually do the Phillies games remotely from [the Wachovia Center]," Ayars says. "We'll do all the switching and audio mixing from here. So we no longer need a truck at the ballpark."

To produce Phillies home games in HD, CSN laid nearly 8,000 feet of fiber-optic cable under the street between the new Citizen's Bank Park and the Wachovia Center. The new HD cameras will be taken to the ballpark and the signal sent back to the production studio. Audio, including microphones for broadcasters and intercom for stadium announcers, will be encoded, sent into the soundboard, and mixed in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

"It will be seamless to us," says Ayars. "The cameras are just a little farther away."