Driving Connectivity: “Fore-ward” Solutions for OB Truck Interoperability

Learn how TFC Compound Connect is unifying OB truck connectivity at the Masters Tournament for CBS Sports - and is nominated for a George Wensel Technical Achievement Emmy.

Outside Broadcast (OB) trucks play a pivotal role in bringing coverage of live events to audiences around the world. These mobile units are filled with sophisticated equipment that allow broadcasters to capture, produce, and transmit live content from virtually any location.

However, one longstanding challenge has been interoperability between OB trucks from different vendors. The convergence of IP and base SDI infrastructure has offered a solution, and in this article, we'll explore how broadcasters are using NEP’s TFC Compound Connect solution to revolutionize connectivity.

Recognized Industrywide for Technical Achievement

CBS Sports has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence and ingenuity. Their deployment of TFC Compound Connect at the 87th edition of the Masters Tournament has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition around the broadcast industry and has been nominated for the prestigious George Wensel Technical Achievement Award at the 45th Sports Emmy Awards.

A groundbreaking IP infrastructure tool, TFC Compound Connect represents a significant leap forward in the management of compound connectivity between multiple vendors within CBS Sports' broadcast compounds – making it fast, easy, and secure.

Designed to seamlessly integrate OB trucks and production facilities from various manufacturers, TFC Compound Connect has revolutionized the way live sporting events are captured, produced, and delivered to audiences worldwide. Its sophisticated capabilities not only ensure interoperability and compatibility across disparate systems but also optimize workflow efficiency and enhance the overall viewer experience.

Dan Turk, Vice President and Chief Engineer for NEP Group, praised the collaborative work environment. "Partnering with CBS on this project was a dream. Working closely with their entire team made it possible to anticipate most issues that we would encounter onsite."

Mastering the Challenges of IP Infrastructure

One of the key strengths of this IP infrastructure tool lies in its ability to provide CBS Sports with unprecedented flexibility and scalability in managing compound connectivity. Whether broadcasting a tournament like the Masters or any other major sporting event, TFC enables CBS Sports to adapt to the unique requirements of each event seamlessly. By leveraging the power of IP networking, the network can dynamically configure routing paths, prioritize critical traffic, and allocate resources efficiently, thereby maximizing the quality and reliability of its live broadcasts.

“Managing tens of thousands of signals, between multiple vendors, across 20+ trucks in a compound the size of the Masters is very challenging,” shared Neil Smith, Global Head of Platform Engineering at NEP Group. “With TFC Compound Connect, we’re able to remove the complication of orchestrating all the 2110 signals in a single system,” he added.

“Each truck sends and receives a predefined list of signals at a demarcation device. The TFC system then ensures that everyone receives the necessary resources. This ensures that the cameras on the 10th hole from one vendor’s video truck that are needed by the production team from the second nine in another vendor’s truck have access to the feeds to cut them into their show. It also ensures that the program feed from the second nine gets back to the video operators in the other facility.”

Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation

The nomination of this TFC Compound Connect for the George Wensel Technical Achievement Award underscores CBS Sports' unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation in sports broadcasting.

Through relentless experimentation, collaboration with industry partners like NEP, and a steadfast commitment to excellence, CBS Sports continues to set new standards for technical achievement and elevate the art of sports television production.

Nomination for a George Wensel Technical Achievement award is particularly special for NEP. As one of NEP’s founders, George Wensel was a pioneer of technological advancement for the industry. His impact is still felt today and is a strong part of NEP’s culture and commitment to innovation. Thank you to the entire team at NEP who have supported this project.

Congratulations to CBS Sports and all of NEP’s clients who were nominated for a 2024 Sports Emmy award. We are proud to have supported you!

See all of this year’s Sports Emmy awards here.

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Driving Connectivity: “Fore-ward” Solutions for OB Truck Interoperability

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