ZAVENTEM, Belgium, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Broadcasters must embrace IP networks to save money and stay ahead of their competitors, Easynet Global Services warns today. IP can give broadcasters material savings compared to traditional transmission methods, and provides vast bandwidth that is perfect for High Definition (HD) and 3D content. The gap between those broadcasters transmitting content across IP networks and those using legacy SDH/ATM networks or satellite technology will widen, as viewers' expectations become increasingly sophisticated with real time streaming, content over mobile devices, transmissions in HD and 3D as well as video on demand.

To help broadcasters make the move to IP, Easynet is launching three new solutions aimed specifically at the broadcast sector: IP Contribution, IP Distribution and IP Adaptation. Customers including MTV, Sky News HD and Perform Media are already benefitting from these new solutions.

IP Contribution enables broadcasters to use Easynet's fully managed network for the delivery of feeds from both permanent and "ad hoc" locations, so that broadcasters can receive contribution feeds regardless of location. IP Distribution allows the transmission of post-production video from the broadcaster to uplink facilities such as a satellite earth station for onward transmission to end users. IP Adaptation enables the transmission of interactive rich media content from the Digital Interactive service's (Red Button) to the broadcaster.

MTV needed to distribute two new HD channels - Comedy Central HD and Nickelodeon HD - to Sky in the UK, without the viewer experiencing any drop in quality of service. Easynet's IP Distribution solution was chosen. Easynet implemented a managed network between MTV UK's London Media Centre and Sky, utilising leading edge JPEG2000 compression over IP. This enabled channels to be launched and operated at a greatly reduced cost, whilst allowing these services to reach wider audiences and help maximise revenues.

Sky News selected Easynet's IP Contribution solution. It launched its High Definition (HD) news channel in May 2010. Sky needed a technology that could support HD from any number of locations and would be fast, reliable, and capable of transmitting high quality content. To make its vision of Outside Broadcast in HD a reality, Sky needed HD Paths that could run from the location of a news story to Sky News' headquarters.

Sky needed a technology that could not only support HD from any number of locations, but would be fast, reliable, and capable of transmitting high quality content. The most suitable solution was be an underlying Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) IP network, allowing the use of SD or HD video along with data links and internet access from the street location, when required. An additional benefit of the solution was that it would support a full bi-directional service, allowing "two-way" communication between the journalist on location and the studio, and ultimately improving Sky's live coverage of major news events.

Sky News can now scale up its network quickly by adding extra interface cards, which allow more devices to be connected to the wide area network. This means that Sky only pays for the bandwidth it uses, making the solution quicker and cheaper. Cards can be deployed in different locations across the globe, so Sky can have its foreign reporters on air as soon as a story breaks, removing the need to transport large amounts of expensive satellite broadcast equipment. The network is also more resilient: MPLS ensures that glitches and outages in the network do not affect the integrity of transmissions - the network has multiple paths, and all traffic that would otherwise have been blocked can be re-routed from that path onto another.

PERFORM delivers premium sports content to millions of fans around the world. The organisation decided that the scalability and flexibility of an Easynet IP-based MPLS network, as opposed to the satellite technology used by traditional broadcasters, would be the approach best suited to its rapidly-growing international business. This IP-based technology would offer the scalable, cost effective, reliable solution required to suit the growing digital content needs of the broadcast sector.

"Some broadcasters are hesitant to switch to IP because it involves previously unexplored ways of sending content, and therefore new working practises," says Andy Sumner, Easynet's global sales and marketing director, "but letting Easynet manage their IP network leaves them free to focus on their core business of creating content. IP could not be more perfectly suited to this industry with its cost savings, vast room for content and its reliability". He continues, "We've spent a lot of time consulting with our broadcast customers and understanding their needs. We make it simple for them to make the switch to IP".

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