WDHD-TV Taps Harmonic for Winter Classic, Winter Games Coverage

Harmonic’s Electra 8000 universal encoder was used by NBC affiliate WHDH-TV Boston for the recent HD broadcast of the 7 News pre-game and post-game shows at hockey’s premiere regular-season event, the 2010 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, as well as the local broadcast of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

WHDH-TV selected the Electra 8000 for these highly-viewed sports events due to its superior MPEG-2 1080i video encoding quality, compact design and improved bandwidth efficiency.

For the 7 News pre-game and post-game shows at the outdoor match-up between long-time rivals the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, WHDH-TV used the Electra 8000 to simplify the transmission of multiple camera feeds from Fenway Park to their studio by delivering the highest quality MPEG-2 HD encoding at the lowest bit-rates in a compact 1-RU design. Electra’s multi-channel HD encoding capability at the venue eliminated the need for WHDH-TV to transfer costlier baseband HD video back to the studio.

“We needed to get three camera feeds in high quality MPEG-2 HD from Fenway Park back to our studio for editing and broadcast,” says Jim Shultis, Director of Engineering, at WHDH-TV. “The Harmonic Electra 8000 provides the highest quality 1080i encoding in a compact, multi-channel design that was perfect for this application. And thanks to Electra’s flexibility, we are able to easily reconfigure it for broadcasting the Olympic Winter Games.”

For the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics, WHDH-TV is using the already deployed Electra 8000 for terrestrial HD broadcast of the events. The ability to easily configure the Electra 8000 for multiple applications provides WHDH-TV with a high return on investment, while lowering operating costs.

“Electra 8000, being the first truly converged high quality distribution encoder on the market and one of the most advanced encoding platforms for cable, satellite, IPTV or terrestrial applications, provides the flexibility to satisfy a wide range of applications at WHDH-TV,” says Dan D’Alessandro, Senior Director for Broadcast, Contribution & Distribution Sales at Harmonic. “With this deployment, WHDH-TV has expanded its use of Harmonic’s video delivery solutions and implemented an efficient solution for increasing its HD programming.”

The latest generation compression solution from Harmonic, the Electra 8000 supports SD and HD, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), as well as integrated statistical multiplexing, broadcast quality up/down-conversion and other unique features such as Jünger Level Magic automatic audio leveling adjustment. Broadcast, cable, satellite and telco service providers around the world have deployed the Electra 8000 to power more than 2000 high quality video channels since its launch in July 2009.