Held concurrently in Jakarta and Palembang, the 18th Asian Games ended in September after 15 days of intense competition – widely called the "Olympic Games of Asia." The tournament was broadcast throughout Asia and beyond, watched by 112 million spectators, with the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) appointed International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) as host broadcaster.
A joint venture between IMG (London) and FIFA World Cup host broadcaster HBS of Switzerland, IGBS was responsible for the Games’ live broadcast production and distribution. The event’s International Broadcast Center (IBC) in Jakarta hosted a number of international broadcasters, including NHK and TBS (Japan), KBS, MBC and SBS (Korea), CCTV (China), TV5 (Philippines) Astro (Malaysia), SCTV (Indonesia) and BEIN and AlKass from the Middle East.
During the live production, Lawo equipment was used for signal processing and distribution, as well as for central control. Central routing in the Lawo setup was handled by a V__matrix unit, Lawo's software-defined IP core routing and processing platform. Two V__remote4 units provided the PTP synchronization, and a VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) system provided the overarching control. For the live broadcasts, the 27 major stadiums involved in the event were continually connected to the IBC, while the feeds for sports coverage at "smaller" venues were recorded by ENG cameras and the material fed to the IBC.
The broadcast setup included production kits in the stadiums with commentator units, as well as permanently installed equipment in the IBC for multilateral reporting. The signals produced at the venues were transmitted to the IBC, where they were distributed to broadcasters after technical and content checks.
The event calendar also determined the signal volume: In addition to live feeds from the 27 stadiums and the ENG material, signals from six beauty-shot cameras distributed throughout Indonesia for scenic and cultural impressions were recorded and distributed. With the daily feed of the press conference and the highlights of the day’s events to be produced and distributed, a router able to accommodate the large number of feeds was required. For this, HBS chose a V__matrix, Lawo's software-defined IP core routing and processing platform – also with a view to future IP-based broadcast production.
Configured with 400 inputs and 400 outputs, the matrix – 64 C-100 boards in eight frames – offered 21 multiviewer ports, controlled by Lawo's Virtual Studio Manager running on two VSM servers. The VSM system was operated via 16 VSM soft panels on six 23-inch displays available in the CDT (Contribution, Distribution and Transmission Room), as well as on tablet screens used in other rooms.
HBS Head of Engineering, Harry Petry commented on the choice of Lawo: "We chose the V__matrix for this task in order to be able to set up a decentralized IP infrastructure for our future projects. With its product portfolio, Lawo offers state-of-the-art IP-based technology and, with the V__matrix, is the market leader," he explains. "Due to the Asian Games’ proximity to the World Cup in Russia, there was no time for us to configure and test the entire system as usual, but our cooperation with Lawo over many major sporting events in recent years gave such confidence that we nevertheless decided in favor of this solution. So we put the system into operation at the beginning of August, and despite the time pressure, everything went according to plan.”
The V__matrix provides a fully virtualized real-time production infrastructure supporting many cores connected to a powerful standard switch with redundant 10GE and 40GE connectivity. This allows a distributed IP routing and processing matrix to be built with frame-accurate clean switching as with traditional baseband routers.
Where dark fiber venue connections were available, Lawo Commentary Systems were used to receive the commentary signals from the indoor swimming pool, the main stadium and the three venues in the IBC building.
The LCU (Lawo Commentary Unit) was developed in close cooperation with Host Broadcast Services (HBS); the system uses IP broadcast infrastructures and allows direct connection to Lawo mc² audio consoles and Nova routers for stand-alone operation. The extensive development work invested by Lawo's R&D team has resulted in a fully digital commentary system based on RAVENNA real-time transmission of audio data via IP (Audio-over-IP). This makes it possible to network both premises and equipment over standard IP networks, reducing cabling and increasing system flexibility.