Telstra’s NetCam, a bespoke camera based on Globecam, a live, point-of-view (POV) miniature camera technology, was deployed at the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore in October this year, a “world first” for women’s competitive tennis.

Telstra’s NetCam technology delivers immersive POV experience for tennis fans

A professional tennis tournament held annually at the end of the season for the top-ranked players on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, the 2017 edition of the WTA Finals slammed itself into the hearts of fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from October 22-29.

For others watching at home, the experience was no less engaging, as Telstra’s NetCam was deployed on each side of the tennis net to deliver audiences with a panorama of the court during matches.

Declaring NetCam to be a game-changer in delivering a more immersive broadcast experience for tennis fans around the world, Trevor Boal, head of Telstra Broadcast Services, told APB: “NetCam is the next evolution of Telstra’s industry-leading Globecam technology, a live, point-of-view (POV) miniature camera technology.

“NetCam is a bespoke camera that uses the latest in low latency digital link technology to receive and transmit live content right from the field-of-play. The camera lens can be customised to capture live footage across different situations and environments.”

As to why NetCam was chosen to deliver a major tennis tournament — a “world first” for women’s competitive tennis — Boal explained that it meets the specific competitive tennis requirements, where the camera needs to be small enough to be discreetly deployed on each side of the tennis net while having the capability to capture a panorama of the court.

NetCam, which supports full HD 1080i/50i, is equipped with full remote camera control for colour and exposure, as well as digital pan/tilt for image framing adjustment. Telstra is also continuing to explore the possibility of supporting 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) and IP-based connections in a miniature camera environment, Boal revealed.

While the WTA Finals is the first time that NetCam has been deployed during a competitive tennis tournament, Globecam has been widely deployed at major sporting events across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. He elaborated: “The technology has been used in broadcasts of the Natwest Blast T20 in England for Sky Sports, Pro 12 Rugby in Ireland for TG4 Indian Premier League, all codes of football in Australia and even sky diving, as well as by global broadcaster Fox Sports.”

Perhaps, above all, Globecam and NetCam represent Telstra’s continuing commitment to innovations that will enhance the broadcast experience for sports and beyond. “Expanding Telstra’s presence in the professional media market is a key priority and we are investing heavily to bring the best solutions and technology to market for our broadcast customers,” Boal added.

One example is the Distributed Production Network (DPN), which was launched earlier this year to help Telstra’s broadcast customers meet the rapidly growing demand for live content by offering access to Telstra’s high-capacity, low-latency, multi-tenant network of scale.

“Telstra’s DPN is the next evolution of live sports broadcasting, with Fox Sports signing a long-term network partnership with Telstra to produce live broadcasts at a distance from the actual event,” said Boal. “DPN connects 29 sporting stadiums across regional and metro Australia, and sends multiple raw camera feeds, audio and equipment control signals to centralised production hubs. DPN will play a pivotal role in satisfying audiences’ demand for live, high-quality, content-rich sporting coverage.”

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