NAB Perspectives: VidyoCast’s O’Brien Sees Global Importance of Live Games

The full aisles and increased attendance at the NAB Show this week suggest that the broadcast industry is getting healthier, but VidyoCast GM Jim O’Brien has taken that suggestion one step further.

“Not just in the U.S. but in countries across the world, the importance of live sporting events for television ratings is just a ubiquitous reality,” he says. “It’s clearly going to keep growing in importance. When the technology curve is in favor of doing so many more games so much less expensively and helping that whole curve mature rapidly, that’s a fun place to be.”

For O’Brien, another fun place to be is working on remote camera controls, which he hopes will increase the number of games that can be covered with a given budget.

“To have some camera shots be remotely controlled robotically is very handy,” he says. “You have to keep cameramen on the longest shots with the longest lenses, things that you can’t really do robotically, but mixing that with more resources centrally layered in, it’s a great trend, and we’re honored to be part of that.”

VidyoCast also offers a set of tools that will allow instant network return. Waiting for a satellite return is simply not an option for broadcasters that do not want viewers to see a replay before the announcers do, and assigning another circuit to network return can get expensive.

“Network return has always been challenging for a wide range of sports needs,” O’Brien says. “To see what’s coming out of the production switcher instantly is a very big deal, and we have a series of tools that are convenient for making that happen across IP, so the announcers can see the graphic markers and replays easily. It auto-configures, it’s easy to use, and it always works.”

Other trends that have caught O’Brien’s eye include broadcasters’ adopting the latest generation of H.264 video encoding and sports executives’ delighting in IP-monitor-wall applications.

“The busy sports executives have been delighted to see our IP monitor wall,” he says. “For years, we’ve had multiviewers, but now that multiviewer is assignable and configurable for each individual no matter where they are. You can see your selection of authorized feeds at your desktop or laptop across a LAN, WAN, or broadband, and that hasn’t existed before.”