UEFA produces host feed of Euro 2008 Championship Football with Gearhouse

By Kevin Hilton SVG Europe correspondent

The Euro 2008 football championship is underway in Austria and
Switzerland and for the first time in the history of the competition
the host broadcast feed is being originated and produced by the
organizing body, UEFA.

This is under the umbrella of Host
Broadcasting Operations, run by UEFA Media Technologies. The
international feeds are being produced in high definition and surround
sound from the eight stadia; four in Austria at Vienna, Innsbruck,
Klagenfurt and Salzburg and in Basel, Zurich, Bern and Geneva on the
Swiss side.

Many facilities providers are involved, including UK
hire and systems company Gearhouse Broadcast, which has installed
Technical Operations Centres (TOCs) at every stadium. Each houses seven
racks of gear, including Pro Bel routers, Harris interconnection
devices, Sony Grade A monitors, Tektronix waveform monitors, Vutrix
monitors, Riedel or Clear Com intercoms and Evertz fibre connections.

HD
is now an established part of the coverage of the European
Championships and more broadcasters around the world are transmitting
these pictures as part of regular services. Although there the English,
Scottish, Welsh and Irish teams are not at the Finals the games are
being shown in the UK. BBC HD is widely available through Freesat, as
well as on cable, and has been joined by ITV’s HD service.

The
BBC and ITV are splitting the matches, with the public broadcaster
showing 16 live, including the opener and the final on June 29. The
BBC also has live video on the web in addition to games being available
on the interactive watch-again iPlayer service. A first is having the
big goals downloaded to IP mobile phones.

Satellite broadcaster
Al Jazeera is transmitting Euro 2008 in HD exclusively to the Middle
East and North Africa, using SIDSA’s KeyFly conditional access system.