How ESPN Uses Technology

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2007-10-22 Print this article Print

to Deliver Sports"> The ingest room is, Pagano explained, the organizations stomach, absorbing all of the video from the outside world that ESPN must process for production. Pagano said employees in the ingest room serve as enzymes, breaking down the video and putting content into the companys meta database. "In one 24-hour period, we probably record anywhere from 250 to 300 hours of video and audio content and it doubles on the weekend days," Pagano said, noting that ESPNs network is capable of running at 320 gigabits per second of network capacity supported by roughly 300 terabytes of online disk storage.
The data is digitized, tagged with descriptors to help production staff recall it, dumped into digital media servers and put in native high definition or native standard definition. Feeds go from the digital media servers to one of the many edit rooms for polishing.
Pagano then lead eWEEK to "mission control," a production room where the famed Sport Center is produced every night. There, producers and directors sit in front of a bank of nine high-resolution rear projecting screen displays. Read more here about Ems storage virtualization moves. The production crew pulls clips off of servers to splice in with the sportscasts, and anything on the monitor wall can be virtually recreated on the fly from a file server. There are two more such quality control rooms, so if the gear in the main one goes buggy, one of the other two takes over. The last major room the ESPN video hits is the master control room, which Pagano refers to as the "cash register." It is to this room where the polished product goes to be packaged with commercials and promotions and then beamed out from ESPN via one of the satellite dishes that dot the campus. Content leaves on a fiber optic cable to the earth station up the hill, and is transmitted to a satellite. One 10-meter dish transmits domestic product up to a satellite, while another provides a transatlantic connection sent to London. All of this, of course, entails quite a bit of power consumption. Pagano said he and his team are more worried about what they are having for dinner and whether or not the beer is cold than they are about running out of power or bandwidth. "The whole facility is on an uninterruptible power supply," Pagano said. "We go to the Nth degree to make sure we have more robust systems." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.


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