The Associated Press upgrades its infrastructure to support the distribution of HD news content

AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 166 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. On any given day over half of the world’s population is exposed to AP content, whether through text, photos or video news.

Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content. AP has recently invested in its video business, transitioning to high-definition, expanding its coverage and building a new flexible, powerful infrastructure.

Ahead of the game

"We had to upgrade our infrastructure to HD but also maintain a competitive edge that allows us to deliver news content as quickly as we can," explains David Hoad, Director of Global Video Technology, AP. "Ericsson played a part in allowing us to change our connectivity technology to something that was very flexible, adaptable and future-proof."

The project involved the supply of satellite newsgathering compression equipment. Ericsson provided two key products to AP: the Ericsson AVP 3000 Voyager satellite news gathering encoder and the Ericsson RX8200 Advanced Modular Receiver. These products allow AP to compress the high definition content, which editors can then use for onward distribution. The result is a greatly improved picture quality with a low data rate, even for those customers still using standard definition.

One of the biggest challenges for AP lay in being an early adopter. Learning to operate the new technology required spending time with the Ericsson engineering team to ensure that the project would be completed by its deadline. "We were very demanding in terms of seeking information, seeking physical equipment to test with, and the presales team were excellent in providing everything we requested in a very short timeframe," says David Hoad. The other challenge was in maintaining a competitive speed of delivery. Together AP and Ericsson were able to ensure that AP’s customers would still receive HD content as swiftly as possible.

Setting the benchmark

AP has now deployed the Ericsson AVP 3000 Voyager and Ericsson RX8200 Advanced Modular Receiver in some 30 locations around the world. Looking ahead, AP’s use of this technology will also allow it to be more efficient, assigning multiple channels to the same bandwidth.

AP’s innovative approach meant it was the first in the news industry to go HD on a global scale. This allowed it to set the benchmark for others considering the transition, in terms of both picture quality and technical parameters. "This is a very significant project because other news agencies will look at what AP has done and will be able to learn lessons from its high definition rollout," says Paul Stapley, Regional Sales Director, Ericsson. "By making the transition first, AP has shown that now is the time for news agencies to be upgrading their infrastructure to support HD."

AP and Ericsson have worked together for many years and have a firm relationship, with Ericsson having provided the first generation of MPEG video technology to AP some 17 years ago. This collaboration will ensure that future feature enhancements continue to be beneficial to AP operations.

"There were many challenges to being first," says David Hoad. "The successful selection of Ericsson as a key partner was significant in meeting those challenges. The relationship between AP and Ericsson can only continue to strengthen and grow over the years ahead."

Customer Objective

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Ability to collect and distribute all news footage in HD.

Ensure a timely global technology rollout.

Ericsson Solution

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Ericsson AVP 3000 Voyager satellite news gathering encoder.

Ericsson RX8200 Advanced Modular Receiver.

Customer Benefits

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Improved picture quality on a low data rate.

First in the news industry to go all–HD on a global scale.

Set benchmark for others in the industry.

HD takes over

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The roots of high definition go back more than 20 years, but only recently has HD become a common feature of the modern TV viewer’s watching habits. There are now hundreds of HD channels available to countries all over the world, with the number of HD homes expected to treble over the next five years.

This uptake has implications for news providers, says Paul Stapley, Regional Sales Director, Ericsson: "As TV viewers we’ve been watching movies and sport in high definition for a number of years. Broadcasters now want to show news in HD, which means that news providers need to upgrade their systems in order to be able to capture and distribute news in high definition."

Customer Profile

The Associated Press

AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.

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