BT Sport

High-speed transfers and automation support BT Sport’s new production hub

BT Sport selects Aspera to drive high-performance file transfer at BT Sport's new production hub in Stratford


Launched on 1st August, 2013, BT Sport is a new collection of sports channels offered by the BT Group in the UK. BT's surprise move into the pay TV market with new world-class technical facilities and cutting-edge file-based technologies saw the largest shake-up of the UK sports broadcasting industry in decades.

Timeline Television, a leading provider of broadcast technology and services in the UK, provided the broadcast infrastructure for BT Sport, including managing the end-to-end design and build of the production hub, while Aspera provides the high-speed transfer, replication, and automation platform for the live sport production workflow. 

Timeline Television had less than six months to build out the broadcast centre from an empty shell into a 24 hour-a-day operation, including the simultaneous roll-out of a fully automated disaster recovery system. They quickly identified the need for a robust, high-speed transfer platform from a trusted vendor, to power the intense file-based production workflows and meet the project's aggressive timescale.

To fulfill BT Sport's stringent requirements, the platform needed to support secure high-speed transfer at multi-Gigabit speeds, allow fully automated end-to-end workflows including ad-hoc content ingest, review, approval and distribution, and offer reliable, secure data replication of petabytes of media from BT Sport's main site in London's iCITY to the disaster recovery and continuity facilities located at the iconic BT Tower.

Timeline Television settled on the only vendor that could provide an enterprise-grade platform capable of bringing together each of these requirements. With a proven track record of successfully deploying these sorts of complex systems under tight deadlines, Aspera was Timeline Television's clear partner of choice.

Timeline Television and Aspera quickly got to work, developing the architecture and implementation strategy for BT Sport's complex and large-scale infrastructure build-out. Aspera provided a full suite of software including Aspera Orchestrator for complete workflow automation, Aspera faspex for ad-hoc ingest and distribution, Aspera Sync for high-performance replication to the DR site, and Aspera Console for centralized management and control over the entire transfer environment. 

High-speed data replication between BT's new facility and the mirror system at BT Tower enables essential disaster recovery and full redundancy, and allows BT Tower to act as satellite production facility if required.

In addition to data replication, BT Sport uses Aspera faspex and Orchestrator: to deliver material from production units in the field directly to the edit suite, maximising edit-time for crucial fast-turnaround stories; to send programming to journalists and executives for review; and to receive and ingest production elements from production houses, programme makers and outside broadcasts around the world.

With Aspera, BT Sport can transport large media files at the highest possible speeds and in single sessions. BT Sport now maximizes bandwidth between the two sites, ensuring business continuity with near-zero recovery time – which would not have been possible without Aspera.

Thanks to Aspera's ability to integrate easily with any third-party solutions, as well as Aspera's previous experience successfully collaborating with EVS, Timeline Television was able to deliver a tightly integrated solution for BT Sport's complex workflow in under six months, making this project one of the largest and quickest broadcast installations in the industry. 


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