Manhattan-based BET Networks has been using NewTek’s NDI IP technology for several years now – and they aren’t looking back
On the eastern edge of Times Square stands a towering glass and steel edifice which was, until 2013, known as the Bertelsmann Building, but is now simply called 1540 Broadway. Near the top of the building, BET Networks has its New York production facility where it produces television for its primary and four sister channels. Targeting a primarily African-American audience, BET emerged initially as a Nickelodeon segment and became an independent channel in 1983. The channel is now distributed internationally to the UK, France and Canada via satellite, as well as online.
Stuart Brewton is BET's director of technology management: “My job is production - the live production and show delivery. I run a team of six people and my team of techs handle securing of freelance personnel on some of our shows, we'll book mobile units, we'll procure resources for our studio shows as well as our remotes.”
With a background in sports television, Brewton worked as a vision mixer through the late 1990s, a time of complex engineering demands as the SD to HD transition began. “I used to work with Yankees and Mets Television. And I would do games, hockey, and basketball for the New Jersey Nets before they went to Brooklyn.” After leaving the world of sports, Brewton worked with NBA Entertainment and for the Madison Square Garden network before joining BET.
NDI accepts a degree of image compression, and is therefore able to use conventional networks with considerably more flexibility
Brewton's interest in NewTek products predates the introduction of NDI. “My initial thought was let's use a TriCaster for a small show we were doing, back in 2005 or 2006. I rented a TriCaster Broadcast for about six months and we did a show and it worked very well.”
Having developed a “love for Grass Valley switchers and Sony switchers,” Brewton admits that “I had my hesitation about anything that had a Windows OS, but we completed six months of day in, day out stuff. That was a live-to-the-network show and it worked out very well.” This positive experience “got me into the world of knowing what TriCaster was and what NewTek was doing.”..[continue reading]