Omneon Heads to Races for NYRA

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is using an Omneon Spectrum media server and a MediaGrid active storage system in a brand-new mobile production and broadcast facility that serves the Belmont Park, Saratoga, and Aqueduct racetracks. The Omneon systems provide real-time ingest and playout of racing coverage and commercials and also facilitate editing, packaging, and repurposing of this material.

“In the fast-paced world of horse racing, flexible and reliable technology is a must,” says Robert Mohan, NYRA Chief Engineer for Television Operations. “As we undertook a complete overhaul of our mobile production and broadcast infrastructure, seeking to improve efficiencies and leverage valuable content more effectively, we found that the Omneon Spectrum and MediaGrid systems offered the greatest combination of stability and versatility in managing media. Equipped with this technology, we’re positioned not only to deliver high-quality broadcasts, but also to offer race packages on DVD and on the Internet through file-based sales outlets.”

Designed by the NMT/Venue Services Group under Mohan’s leadership, the NYRA buildout includes two state-of-the-art mobile production units that move among the three tracks as dictated by the racing schedule. A 16-channel Omneon Spectrum media server and a MediaGrid storage system with a 3,500-hour capacity at DV25 are at the heart of the facility. Multiple cameras and switched programming are recorded via direct SDI into the server. Programming is fed live via satellite to other tracks, Las Vegas, and off-track betting locations in North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The Spectrum server also is used for slow-motion playback and for “replays” of each race, in which the race recording is played back — immediately after the race concludes — to the track monitors and the satellite feeds. Recorded material is transferred from the Omneon Spectrum to the MediaGrid system, and editors working with Final Cut Pro have access to this shared production storage platform for creation of highlights packages for network distribution and DVD sales to owners, trainers, and the general public.

The NYRA has a tape library that goes back more than 30 years and contains more than 11,000 videotapes of races. Ingested into the Spectrum server as needed via an ingest station configured for UMatic, beta, betaSP, and DVCPro stock, this historical footage also becomes available for editing and production.

“NYRA is bringing broadcast innovation to horse racing and, in the process, providing fans and professionals with more complete and engaging coverage of both classic and current races,” said Geoff Stedman, Omneon’s senior vice president for products and markets. “Because the Spectrum and MediaGrid systems support a streamlined workflow from ingest through to distribution, they provide NYRA with a powerful and highly efficient platform for broadcast and production.”