Vislink delivered 5G systems at a sports event with BT Sport, connecting matchday cameras to a standalone private 5G network, bringing bi-directional IP connectivity to the network edge.

Vislink Mobile Viewpoint 5G Demonstration Image

Vislink has delivered private network 5G systems at a sports event in the UK to show the potential of 5G in broadcast. Deployed by Vislink and its subsidiary Mobile Viewpoint, the system brings bi-directional IP connectivity right to the network edge and improves broadcast efficiency by supporting virtualised production in the cloud.

Connecting Matchday Cameras

The event was a Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens and the Northampton Saints at StoneX Stadium in London, where Vislink and Mobile Viewpoint supported a project led by BT Sport to highlight the potential of 5G in broadcast contributions. It centred on the connection of the matchday cameras to a standalone private 5G network. These cameras’ output then formed part of the live BT Sport coverage of the match.

This is the first time that key matchday cameras, as part of a customer broadcast, have been enabled in this way in the UK. BT Media & Broadcast and BT Sport led the project with support from Broadcast RF, the University of Strathclyde and Neutral Wireless.

Throughout the rugby match, broadcast live on BT Sport, Vislink deployed private network 5G transmitters alongside COFDM telecommunications modulation to demonstrate how 5G is evolving to deliver guaranteed quality, low latency video from wireless cameras. COFDM divides a single digital signal across 1,000 or more signal carriers simultaneously. The result was immersive up-close camera shots of the sporting drama, moving viewers directly to the heart of the action.

Virtualised Production Workflow

Mobile Viewpoint’s 5G-enabled encoder devices up-linked individual camera feeds directly to the cloud over a combination of a secure, low latency 5G private network and IP LAN. Handing off directly to BT Sport’s virtualised production workflow, the director could select camera feeds for the program feed entirely within a cloud environment. This cloud-based implementation demonstrates Mobile Viewpoint’s ability to deliver new cost and operational advantages to remote production operations.

Vislink CEO Carleton M Miller said, “With COFDM and public and private 5G wireless systems, Vislink 5G can effectively simplify content capture system deployments as they transition to end-to-end bi-directional IP connectivity. Vislink and Mobile Viewpoint are developing the means to deploy hybrid transmitters using a combination of techniques — enabling a higher density of wireless video feeds and more efficient all-IP remote, virtualised production for live events.”

Following on from the world’s first stand-alone private 5G network for sports broadcasting at the British MotoGP 2021 Grand Prix, this recent public trial with BT Sport and BT Media and Broadcast demonstrates a new glass-to-glass, all-IP wireless and virtualised production. Vislink augmented their long experience in COFDM-based wireless systems by adding Mobile Viewpoint’s 5G expertise last year. The integration of these systems means that Vislink now has a suite of robust and efficient options for many different deployment scenarios.