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Delivering Live Coverage from Wimbledon

Wimbledon

This year live coverage from the All England Lawn Tennis Club was produced by a new in-house host broadcaster for the first time – Wimbledon Broadcasting Services (WBS).

The Task

Broadcast RF provided a wireless camera network direct to WBS which included a receive infrastructure of 36 antennas spread over the site. This allowed the cameras to go pretty much anywhere on site, from Centre Court where operators wander from the back row of seats right the way down to grass level, through to the club grounds where wireless cameras can be found roving anywhere up to and including the line of fans waiting outside AELTC in the hope of getting a ticket to see some tennis.

The RF set-up for Wimbledon 2018 was broadly similar to last year, but one big change was in the number of broadcasters using the RF network. In 2017, it was eight clients, including the host and the Wimbledon Channel, whereas this year it was 10. Another major change was the fact that Centre Court coverage was in UHD and HDR.

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The Solution

Broadcast RF used ETL’s NGM-25 32x32 Enigma Switch Matrix, which can handle feeds from multiple cameras and distribute to several broadcasters without the need for numerous switches and equipment. Using the Enigma’s single input and output cards provides a flexible system which can be built to any size and expanded or decreased later. Furthermore, the product delivers continuous on-board monitoring and reporting of RF card amplifier status, CPU, PSU Status and HMI communications, meaning it can detect any possible errors. This, as well as its hot-swap active components meant that it could be relied upon throughout the broadcast. The Enigma Switch Matrix was capable not only of handling the high bandwidth and distribution channels, but its simple ‘plug and go’ installation provided much-needed quick and easy set up.

One challenge faced on site was ensuring that equipment didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. “The grounds are immaculate so we had to go to great lengths to hide antennas in inconspicuous positions, and even had rain covers made in Wimbledon green so that the equipment blended in.”

wimbledon

The Outcome

Novak Djokovic won his fourth Wimbledon title by beating Kevin Anderson in the Men’s final on Sunday, after a dramatic semi-final win against Rafael Nadal lasted five hours and sixteen minutes over two days on Friday and Saturday.

The Women’s final saw Angelique Kerber win her first Wimbledon title against Serena Williams in what was a repeat of the 2016 final but with a very different outcome. Williams, who ranked 181st in the world before the tournament, is the lowest ranked player to ever reach a final, but did so just ten months after giving birth to her first child in September 2017.

At ETL, we are especially proud that our leading L-band solutions could be a part of bringing the action to viewers at home.

wimbledon