How Technology Could Shape Game Day Viewing

January 26, 2017 - 22 Comments

With the big game coming up millions of viewers are gearing up to catch all the sporting action on the field. The scale of the actual game day as an event is staggering and yet, with every passing year, the kind of technology that goes into powering the game and beaming it live to audiences across the country gets increasingly more sophisticated. Let’s delve into one such aspect: The game is typically covered by over 100 cameras, 250 microphones and a dozen outdoor broadcasting trucks. Capturing, bundling and transmitting all that audio-visual magic to our television and digital screens requires incredibly powerful yet easy-to-use systems.

Denver Broncos-September 05, 2013 of the NFL game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Sept. 5, 2013 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by: Gabriel Christus)

At Cisco we strongly believe that simplicity is key to making advanced technology easily deployable and useful to the world. This is enabled by two key technologies that we have been working on – Professional Media Network (PMN) and Audio Video Bridging (AVB). These technologies were developed in close collaboration with the media and entertainment industry who are looking to extend and upgrade their current technology to Ethernet and IP technologies. Besides providing functionality such as low latency, zero packet loss, low jitter and high security, PMN and AVB together provide Software Defined Networking (SDN) APIs for monitoring, analyzing and troubleshooting.  These network extensions allow the media and live entertainment industry to take their current technology setup, irrespective of how it may have been implemented, and manage and expand it in a fashion that has never been available before.

The drive to 4K, 8K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) is forcing broadcasters to transform the traditional Serial Digital Interface to IP protocol to increase agility and reduce capital and operational expenses. The new Ethernet and IP base preserves the existing media workflows ensuring existing applications work seamlessly while meeting performance and scale standards. As an added bonus, very little retraining is required for production staff.

AVB Blog1These media innovations are also transforming the use of A/V technology in enterprises by providing a seamless plug-n-play of AV endpoints, better video experience and significantly improved audio quality in large conference rooms and auditoriums. New use cases like reducing noise in open work spaces (like synchronized audio delivery of a performance in a stadium) are also enabled by these changes.
The applications of these innovations are immense. From televised mega shows and live entertainment events, to simple video conferencing, users can now enjoy a much more immersive experience including functionality that was previously unavailable. Whether a highly-publicized sporting event like the big game or the magic of a live musical concert, Cisco is the dependable infrastructure powering it all. This, to me, is technology innovation within core networking with an eye to the future.

Please do share your thoughts in the comments section below or @aoswal1234.


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  1. Great article! Truly understand the richness of technology and the role/drive after watching the game on Feb 5th.

  2. Great article! The use of PMI & AVB is also touching the Higher Education vertical now. Not just for the similar stadiums & events that they host, and look to broadcast, but also as a Next generation AV design for some of the auditoriums, innovation spaces, and in general classroom design for new buildings. This is a great fit with Cisco DNA, and our new Digital Education Platform. If we can tether our story to the Education market building on our advancements in Stadium & AV technologies, we could see wider benefit.

  3. Once again Cisco helping customers transition from old technology to open protocols and improve viewer experience.

  4. Quality at scale!! Thanks for the article, perhaps it will add a sense of pride while watching the game this Sunday apart from usual excitement.

  5. Is a press release going to be produced to generate awareness of our participation on this mega event?

  6. Chicken Parm you taste so good…with Cisco!

    Cisco and Football, I love it!

  7. So true.

    As an avid NFL follower for years, I can say that the viewing experience is completely different today, compared to say 10 years ago. As “end users” people tend to take this for granted. But little do they know about key brains and key people, like Cisco, who constantly innovate to make this happen.

    Proud to be a small part of it!

  8. Very good article . Traditional serial media steaming over Ethernet is opening the gate for advanced market in media segments. Glad to see we are one of the leaders . Thanks for the post Anand

  9. Great article and nice to see how technology is simplifying deployments and giving better viewer experience. Cisco driving digital ceiling initiative!!

  10. Where can we find out more information about the SDN API’s that are specific to PMN and AVB?

    There are proprietary IP solutions in the video production space – most recent and notable being NewTek’s NDI protocol – which has garnered a significant amount of support from industry vendors in a short amount of time. Open standards such as PMN and AVB benefit from being open however their value depends on adoption. It would be great to see vendors in the entertainment and production space develop and adopt the SDN API’s as this would help ensure the success of the standards work that has gone into PMN and AVB.

    • Hi Al: I will connect you offline with experts on this area.

    • We have built a very comprehensive ecosystem of partners here at Cisco that are already integrating with our PMN (IP Fabric for Media) solutions. We are partnered with many of the Broadcast Industries leading companies and have numerous customers already deploying these solutions. If you have questions on the solution and our partner ecosystem please reach out to me directly. Thanks, Bryan Bedford, Global Business Development-Media

    • Network Control API is a workgroup within AMWA-NMOS. This is where the SDN APIs for PMN is being discussed.

  11. It’s great that we are taking a leadership role in this area!

  12. Awesome future or engaged entertainment!

  13. It is a very good and futuristic initiative by cisco.
    Let’s see how it mould the current infra using now a days in the future.

  14. Pretty cool to see how we are integral to the success of these events!

  15. Good to see Cisco is taking Lead here and helping in driving the Technology for Future.

  16. Glad to know that Cisco is playing a major part in the Digitization of technology that drives entertainment sports & media companies of today.

  17. Good article. Am sure the SDN APIs might give lot more tools to the end users interms of monitoring and troubleshooting options than the current set based on legacy infra.

  18. This is a great news. Loved to see the major role Cisco is playing here.