On-Screen Telestration and Analysis for Major Sporting Events
ChyronHego is a global leader in broadcast graphics creation, playout, and real-time data visualization for live television, news, sports, corporate and government video production. The company’s acclaimed graphics products are used by thousands of broadcasters from around the world, including ABC, FOX, CBS, ESPN, The Golf Channel, Home Shopping Network, the BBC, Korean Broadcasting, Germany's BR and NDR networks, plus local stations in every U.S. television market.
It's a live broadcast of a major golf tournament, one being watched by millions of people around the world. As the golfer steps up to the tee, the TV analyst wants to illustrate the challenges of the 14th hole. Using only his finger and an infrared touchscreen, he uses ChyronHego’s Paint, a powerful telestrator application for broadcasters, to heighten viewers’ understanding of the golfer’s challenge. During the broadcast, the commentator can also use the touchscreen to launch a pre-recorded segment about the golfer’s career highlights.
It sounds so simple – just drag your finger to paint a simple animated explanation or pull up a video segment. But behind the scenes, a vast array of graphics and communications technologies is necessary to make this rich visualization possible. And with sites spread out over a championship golf course, TV trucks and trailers – with their millions of dollars of equipment and miles of cable – can still be thousands of feet from the graphics server, making cabled connections difficult. These factors are what led ChyronHego to search for options to aggregate multiple USB devices over an existing IP network.
ChyronHego’s Paint and Lyric PRO systems combine a touchscreen interface and 3D renderer that accepts 2D coordinates through the screen. The broadcaster can use a touchscreen menu to choose different camera angles, replays, video packages, and graphics – or enter the online paint mode to trace a finger to draw lines onscreen and explain the action further.
But to keep those screens connected to the graphics servers and rendering engines – considering the short-distance limitations of USB cables – ChyronHego uses Digi’s AnywhereUSB®, a network-attached USB hub. Combining Digi's patented RealPort® USB and RealPort® COM port redirector technologies, AnywhereUSB connects USB and serial devices anywhere on a LAN, enabling them to behave exactly as if they were directly connected to the computer – without any changes to the software application.
“When it comes to connectivity, there’s a certain level of skepticism to overcome,” said Rob Rizzuto, director of field operations for ChyronHego. “With a live broadcast underway, there’s no room for latency, lag, or other network issues. Millions of people are watching, so producers, directors, and on-air talent have zero tolerance for any glitches. If problems arise, they’ll lose confidence in our product immediately.”
According to Rizzuto, the key to the success of Digi’s AnywhereUSB for ChyronHego is basic and inarguable. “It comes down to one fact,” he said. “It just works with no surprises and no compromises. If something were to go wrong, it would be a disaster for ChyronHego and our customers. But when we use AnywhereUSB, we don’t have any complaints by the production teams at our customers. AnywhereUSB eliminates their concerns by solving a problem – and never requiring them to revisit the issue again. They get a ‘clean’ show, which is everything they want.
AnywhereUSB also simplifies the installation and operation of on-site golfing
broadcasts, which, by their nature, are short-term propositions. “Our customer can
deploy AnywhereUSB at the touchscreens on the first week of the tour and never have to think about it until they reach the next site the following week,” Rizzuto said. “As long as the network is already extended to remote locations on the course, our customer never needs to run dedicated cabling for USB, which saves them money."
“Although, in the larger picture, the Digi piece of our solution is relatively small, it’s hugely critical to their success in the field. Without AnywhereUSB, our customer’s use of touchscreens might not be possible.”