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EBU broadcasters play part in London 2012

Kevin Hilton 15 August 2012
EBU broadcasters play part in London 2012

Europe proved a bigger audience for the London 2012 Olympics than its predecessor in Beijing four years ago, according to figures released by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The EBU and its members were also heavily involved in the big logistical and technical task of producing and distributing audio and video feeds of the action. The BBC’s highest viewing figure was for the men’s 100 metres final, with 20 million compared to 7.5m for the same event in 2008. France Televisions’ channels attracted 43m viewers watching for at least an hour during the Games, while ZDF in Germany had an average of 3.59m for London 2012, while it was 1.81m for Beijing. Host broadcasting was coordinated and managed by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) but individual broadcasters acted provided support for specific events. While OBS covered the swimming, diving, sailing and equestrian competitions, among others, EBU members and associate members also worked on host feeds. These included the BBC (boxing, rowing, canoe, tennis and football), ERT of Greece (weightlifting), NOS from the Netherlands (cycling road race and time trails), China’s CCTV (modern pentathlon and badminton) and Fuji TV of Japan (judo). A major part of any sporting event is the commentary, which came through OBS via AEQ’s new digital commentary systems. All audio signals from venues were switched using an AEQ Titan 5000×5000 router. The EBU had its own Titan system for sending feeds to member and associate member broadcasters, over a variety of circuits, including E1, IP and ISDN. The last two formats were processed through AEQ Phoenix Studio audio-codecs, with all links arranged on a peer-to-peer basis. Javier Polo, head of the EBU Sports Operations Group, explains that the audio circuits operated using either the 15kHz AEQ-LD+ algorithm or 7.5kHz G.722. "The audio circuit transmission path was digital from the commentators’ microphone inputs up to the broadcasters’ audio mixing console or the viewers’ TV receiver," he says. 

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