The XFINITY 3D Network was launched by Comcast in early 2011, following the success of its 3-D VOD programming. The channel provides an increased volume of 3-D live sports and entertainment events to XFINITY customers in real time, with many of those events also available as re-airs via video on demand. With 3-D broadcast in its infancy and still growing in popularity, the company balanced its investment at this stage of the product life cycle by opting to construct a 3-D master control room, with minimal incremental investment, using the available space and existing infrastructure at the Comcast Media Center (CMC) in Centennial, CO. The new operation needed to deliver fully-featured, highly-scalable technology — using a compact footprint with little-to-no technical management. Furthermore, it needed to run without a full-time operator presence, while still meeting the multi-function and multi-staff requirement during live events. The Miranda iTX automation and playout and Vertigo XGe graphics platforms were central to meeting the XFINITY 3D challenge.
With iTX, XFINITY 3D was launched with minimal capital expenditure and operating costs, using enterprise-level IT servers and highly integrated software applications. The XFINITY 3D control room was designed to broadcast both regularly scheduled 3-D programming and high-profile live sports and entertainment events from all around the world. With the various worldwide broadcast standards and multiple 3-D industry formats, the versatility of the technology and the environment was paramount. With the XFINITY 3D distribution standard being 1080i/60 Side x Side formatting (SbS), any non-conforming 3-D content from movie studios and live venues delivered to the CMC has to be reformatted in short order to ensure a quality user experience. The multi-codec playback capability of iTX and the dynamic user interface provide that level of performance in conjunction with Miranda’s 3-D signal processing modules.
The Miranda Vertigo XGe processor and Vertigo suite on-air graphic authoring and publishing products are well-suited for live events, where the master control room has no control over the inbound contribution elements and must respond quickly to the dynamic production. The solution can instantly convert on-air linear content into on-demand assets, complete with rich branding graphics and Nielsen watermarks.
The XFINITY 3D network also takes advantage of certain re-air rights on some of the live 3-D programming by using direct-to-disk and light content editing capabilities within the iTX platform. These systems are also tied into the core CMC infrastructure, so all remote monitoring and management available can be leveraged by CMC engineering when the operation is lightly-staffed. The iTX end-to-end workflow streamlines all the core playout processes.
Miranda’s iTX IT-based playout and the Vertigo XGe have made re-airing and VOD an automatic process at Xfinity3D. Now XFINITY 3D can share assets and playlists instantly across linear and nonlinear delivery with minimal operating costs, and very little operator intervention. This approach will also help to speed the growth of the XFINITY 3D brand.