AWS tech is being used in the NHL’s newly UHD-enhanced video production pipeline

NHL_AWS advanced analytics

The NHL has brought in a new UHD-enhanced video production pipeline for the 2021/22 season.

Several AWS Elemental Link UHD cloud contribution encoders are in use across 32 NHL arenas to get multiple live UHD camera angles shot from the ice into the cloud and streamline high-quality, live content delivery to media partners and accelerate the creation of video-on-demand (VOD) programming.

The NHL is also now able to combine live UHD footage with real-time data and stats from its Puck and Player Tracking system, which also runs on AWS.

Production teams are able to instantly access live feeds from each camera from a centralized control panel in the cloud. In addition,the devices have since facilitated redundant cloud native video distribution for three new 4K in-venue cameras at each arena.

Also, the NHL can stop and start encodes on a per-game basis using the devices alongside a proprietary workflow automation and management system. Encodes feed into AWS Elemental MediaConnect, a cloud-based live video transport service, and through video management software, simplifying the transmission of signals to a range of streaming platforms and devices. Using AWS Elemental MediaLive, the NHL then produces HD and UHD HLS outputs without custom hardware and adapt to delivery standards and codecs as needed.

Four Link HD devices in each arena further support the pipeline, providing encoding and decoding for program feeds and helping to stream an output from an in-venue replay system. In the case of system failure during a goal review, this ensures that all camera angles are still accessible. 

These innovations are in use for the League’s 190 different video channels, including Video Cast–the NHL’s web-based video player platform with logging capabilities and statistics integration that it provides to internal stakeholders, rights holders, TV networks, and radio stations, broadcast rights holders, hockey operations and player safety teams. There are plans to make recorded UHD footage available to referees, coaches, and players for post-game review and performance analysis. 

NHL SVP of technology Grant Nodine said: “In years of collaborating with coaches and scouts we understand the value of having a tactical view of what’s happening on the ice for post-game analysis. This is just one of many reasons UHD is important to us, and Link UHD made it an affordable and possible option to deploy. Now we can distribute live UHD video in a less geographically restricted way, and build tools that benefit coaches, teams and referees.”

He added: “As we continue to build out the pipeline, the goal is to spin out an archival-quality UHD file that’s a simple stream to store. We want to make search and retrieval of archived footage simpler, give broadcasters instant access to NHL content for syndication and licensing, and facilitate the delivery of new in-game analyses, predictions, and video highlights to enhance fan experiences.”