Case Study: Installing Self-Contained, Crewless Studios for Commentators

By January 18, 2018 September 7th, 2018 NEP Integrated Solutions Case Studies, News


With thousands of hours of live event, news and original programming annually, Fox Sports 1and the Big Ten Network needed a flexible way to easily contribute remote interviews into their broadcasts. Traditional methods, like satellite links, would take too long to commission and would be costly. Networks needed a more nimble way to get remote talent on-air in no time, and turned to Bexel ESS for a solution.

By The Numbers

  • 7,000 miles driven in 1 week
  • 4,800 feet of T1 line used for Fox
  • 30 total systems deployed across 17 states
  • 16 built for Fox Sports 1
  • 14 built for Big Ten Network
  • 7 days for 3 engineers to complete 14 installs
  • 1 hour to complete install of one remote kit

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With the goal of enhancing story telling with more live coverage of sports events around the world, Bexel ESS built, tested, and installed a total of 30 self-contained, crewless home studios for some of the network’s top talent; 16 systems for Fox Sports 1, and an additional 14 systems for the Big Ten Network. The innovative systems are permanently installed in the analysts’ homes, allowing them to go on-air immediately when something pertaining to their specialty occurs. In tandem with Haivision HD encoders, Bexel ESS brings cost effective and efficient solutions to broadcasters, helping them gather interview content quickly, with more flexibility, than typical satellite options.

Bexel ESS’s crewless home studio “analyst kits” are permanently installed in the commentator’s homes and connected to a private or public IP network, removing the need for satellite transmission. Whenever a relevant sports news or event takes place that calls for their expertise, the commentator can go on air immediately from the comfort of their own home, without having to drive to the nearest studio or having the network send over a satellite truck.

The Bexel ESS studio units feature Haivision’s HD encoders, making it possible to stream bi-directional, low latency video over a private or public network from the remote commentator to the studio during a broadcast. Encoding up to 1080p video and designed for interactive communications, the Haivision encoders deliver extremely low end-to-end latency and make interviews possible between the remote commentator and the studio.

The systems also include AW-HE60SN Panasonic cameras that can be manned remotely from the control room in any location, allowing the client to pan, tilt, zoom or adjust color and saturation. Litepanels 1×1 Bi-Color panels are used to provide key light, fill light, and back light on stands, and can also be controlled remotely.

Rack mounted cases, approximately 48-by-24-by-30 inches, are at the core of the systems. Their contents include a UPS that controls power, an IP Power Switch which allows the system to be turned on and off remotely, a network switch that keeps the circuit open, and audio and video support that provides the IFB and camera feeds.

“Speed to market is crucial in the world of sports news, and these in-home studios have been very effective for us in delivering breaking news… Bexel was the most appropriate choice for this project.
They have a long and extremely good track record as both a rental house and an integration company, and we knew their team could get the job done.”

– Doug Levy, VP, Post Production for Fox Networks Engineering & Operations

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About NEP Integrated Solutions
NEP Integrated Solutions (formerly Bexel ESS) provides design, integration and managed services for permanent facilities, major events and live game production. The NEP division delivers outstanding product performance and broadcast workflow. We pioneered the conversion of copper cable plant systems to optical fiber, and today specialize in design, implementation, and maintenance of broadcast cable plants. We pride ourselves on routinely developing new solutions to improve the longevity and functionality of client systems, and reduce the overall cost of ownership.

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About NEP

For over 30 years, NEP has been a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events. Our services include remote production, specialty capture, RF and wireless video/audio, studio production, audio visual solutions, host broadcast support, post production, connectivity and transmission, premium playout and innovative software-based media management solutions. NEP’s 4,000+ employees are driven by a passion for superior service and a focus on technical innovation. Together, we have supported productions in 87 countries on all seven continents. NEP is headquartered in the United States and has operations in 24 countries. Learn more at

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