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Open Golf uses Exterity for TV distribution

The foundations for the HDTV coverage of this year's Open golf tournament have been laid, with the installation of a full IP distribution network at the Royal St George's links course near Sandwich in Kent, writes Kevin Hilton.

The Open was broadcast for the first time in HD from St Andrew's last year and now the Royal & Ancient (R&A), golf's governing body and organiser of the event, is continuing a programme of installing fibre-based communications at courses that will host the tournament.

As at St Andrew's, the system that has gone into St George's - regarded as one of the toughest courses in golf - is primarily a data transmission service used by the R&A for ticket bookings information, telephony and IPTV into the club house and hospitality suites. Broadcast circuits can be carried on the back of this and allows SIS Live, the facilities provider for host broadcaster the BBC, to get pictures from around the links back to the TV compound and then to air.

The installation at St George's is using Exterity's AvediaStream TVgateway for live television feeds, including distribution to the media centre for monitoring news, and HD/3G encoders, which connect to the SDI broadcast infrastructure.

Colin Farquhar, chief executive of Exterity, commented that the advantage of an IPTV installation in this context is that it is "pretty future proof". He explained that as HD is "just a few bits more to pass around" the circuits, adding broadcast capability to the core functions is not "a huge leap".