Although a handful of rights-holders have been operating D2C services for more than a decade, OTT in sports is an emerging market, reminiscent of pay-TV in the early 1990s. The live sports sector is on the verge of a decisive shift to streaming in which on-screen presentation will be play an increasingly important role for legacy and new rights holders in the battle for fans. What’s more, the shift is happening at the same time as live production workflows move to IP and the cloud.
To that end, vendors are transitioning their products and services. Among them is broadcast graphics developer Vizrt, which has just updated its real-time virtual enhancement software for sports to include the augmented reality (AR) graphics software from Viz Arena 5.
Vizrt XR Venue is one of the Vizrt Extended Reality Suites that Vizrt designed for cloud-based deployment via subscription. XR Venue is comprised of the Viz Arena AR sports graphics application, Viz Engine renderer and compositor, and Viz Artist graphic design software.
This release also means XR Venue can access Vizrt’s unified IO platform, a software framework intended to deliver better quality live virtual graphics.
Vizrt explains that the unified IO offers more flexibility and scalability to produce either upstream at the venue or in a downstream workflow at the studio and a flexible choice of playout — fill & key or a composited video signal for specific production workflows. The output can be added directly on top of the program feed to the mixer as a separate source, “which benefits workflows and output quality of high-class productions.”
Since major sports events are frequently produced now in UHD and/or HDR, XR Venue can handle these formats natively and supports workflows to create visually engaging representations of data-driven graphics and additional content for any sports coverage.
“The IP based video formats open the door to virtualized and remote production workflows for XR Venue, allowing absolute flexibility and mitigating physical limitations like hardware dependencies or budget restrictions,” Vizrt’s Head of Product Management, Daniel Url, said.
In addition, hardware for Vizrt XR Venue is now consistent with regular Viz Engine hardware, such as the newly certified Dell R7920 for compact setups.