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Leading The Way In Live Sports Broadcasting

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Qvest Media realised the first 4K live channel infrastructure and will implement the technical construction of the new broadcasting centre "Cube" for the pay TV channel Sky.

With a team of more than 180 employees and locations in Germany, Switzerland, the UAE and Singapore, Qvest Media is a leading international systems architect in the fields of broadcasting and media technology, specialising in the television, media and telecommunications industries. With a powerful spectrum of services, Qvest Media offers 360° expertise in the design, development, implementation and operational support of media technology infrastructures.

Being one of the biggest suppliers of systems solutions for live broadcasting of events, sports and entertainment, Qvest Media has entered into a close collaboration with Sky to mark a new era for Sky's live sports productions and broadcasting offer in Europe. The pay TV channel commissioned Qvest Media with two major projects: The realisation of the first 4K live channel infrastructure and Ultra HD broadcast management as well as the technical construction of a new broadcasting centre called "Cube" at Sky's German headquarters near Munich. By realising this landmark project, Qvest Media will implement one of the largest and most modern broadcast IT infrastructures for all sports-related live productions currently available in Europe.

Spread over more than 1,700 square metres, the new sports production centre "Cube" will offer enough space for two studios with rooms for direction, editing and production as well as for continuity suites and the broadcast IT installation. In the future, live sports content from Sky Germany will also be produced here. This includes, among others, the Sky Bundesliga conference, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, the EHF Handball Champions League, golf, tennis and Formula 1 racing.

For this large-scale project, Qvest Media is responsible for the technological construction of workflows and an innovative IP-based back-end as well as the entire system infrastructure. This also includes the selection and definition of appropriate technology and manufacturers. In addition to systems integration, the contract also includes the subsequent delivery of broadcast, IT and audio-visual solutions, equipping the studio and production facilities as well as commissioning and support of the on-air phase.

Since October 2016, the first 4K live channels Sky Sport UHD and Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD have been on air. Qvest Media was responsible for the design and planning of the fully redundant system architecture, the IT-relevant systems integration of the broadcast for the 4K live production infrastructure and UHD broadcast management.

With a project duration of 12 months, Qvest Media developed a fully-fledged 4K production environment with a live broadcast chain. Qvest Media's partner network, consisting of the most innovative and important hardware and software manufacturers, provided the technology for the 4K infrastructure of Sky's new UHD channels.

Available for file and live ingest are a transfer storage from Elements and Venice servers from Rohde & Schwarz, which are connected to the Sky headquarters. As a result, all content is recorded simultaneously and independently from one another and saved in two different places. Due to this completely redundant system configuration, the 4K productions can be implemented and sent without interference or interruptions. During the ingest, incoming files from external sources, such as an OB vehicle, are received and recorded by Sky in the production format. Sky relies on the XAVC-I single file with a class 300 codec and a bandwidth of 500 Mbps. For the playout format, Sky uses the UHDp50 standard.

The ingested material is also recorded on a nearline storage SpycerBox and Rohde & Schwarz processing applications. These have a gross capacity of over 500 hours of 4K material and serve as a central access and processing source for the Avid-based HighRes editing suites, graphic suites by Adobe and Vizrt, quality check and UHD playout. Highlight editing and slo-mos in XAVC-I single-file format are implemented via the EVS XT4K server. An EVS XFILE 3 system, which is integrated in the workflow, allows the ongoing archiving and restoring processes to be controlled and monitored.

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 40.

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