XOS Springs Into Baseball Market With Orioles Control Room

XOS Digital has charted new ground with the completion of a broadcast-control room at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL, home to Baltimore Orioles spring training. It marks the first-ever installation at a baseball venue by XOS Digital, which has made its name primarily as an integrator at collegiate venues around the country.

“Even though this is our first baseball park, this was not particularly unique from what we do for broadcast-control rooms at universities,” says Jim Pile, broadcast engineer at XOS Digital “It’s slightly different, but not by much. We were very happy to work with Major League Baseball, and I’m sure we’ll be doing more of this [in the future].”

The Orioles began spring-training play at Ed Smith Stadium in 2010, but the aging venue was without a video system of any kind. The XOS installation, completed in just 30 days to meet the Orioles’ March 1 deadline, was part of a $31 million renovation that has transformed Ed Smith into a modern spring-training facility complete with a 17- x 30-ft. HD LED video board and more than 100 HD television sets throughout the ballpark.

Hybrid Control Room
The control room is built around a Ross Video Crossover 16 switcher and is equipped with a four-channel Abekas Mira server, the same server used for instant replay at the Orioles’ Camden Yards home in Baltimore. XOS also collaborated with Bexel to provide a hybrid control room that combines purchased and rented equipment. This hybrid solution allows the Orioles to expand the control room in the future as their production needs grow.

“Bexel was instrumental in a lot of the equipment we put in on a temporary basis,” says Pile. “Much of the equipment was rented solely for spring training. At XOS, we really try to cater to overall functionality and expandability. This [hybrid approach] allows them to expand as needed.”

All Fiber
XOS also provided the venue with a comprehensive fiber infrastructure that relies heavily on Telecast Fiber’s Copperhead camera transceiver to exchange signals between the control room and the three Panasonic cameras — two hard and one wireless — positioned throughout the stadium.

“The stadium is all-fiber. We made extensive use of the Copperhead fiber transmission systems,” says Pile. “We were allowed to integrate fiber into the infrastructure that was already built into the stadium. We coordinated that with the contractor before the build-in.”

The system also allows the production staff to monitor and make shading adjustments on all three cameras, as well as to communicate with camera operators via a new intercom system.

Total 1080i
The new broadcast-control room distributes video to the HD LED video board, LED scorer’s tables, the Orioles Web-streaming channels for MLB.tv, and the satellite-truck dock for television broadcasts.

“The entire system is 1080i from start to finish,” says Pile. “It is a complete system that allows them to feed the video board, in-house cable TV system, Web streaming, and truck dock.”

Making It Happen With MASN
XOS also worked extensively with MASN, the regional sports network (owned and operated by the Orioles and Washington Nationals) that televises all available Orioles games.

“The first thing we do on an installation like this is deal with the TV partners involved,” says Pile. “In this case, it was MASN, who was heavily involved right from the beginning to ensure that they had everything they needed from us and to us in order to facilitate a totally smooth transition.”