Sky is one of the most tech-hungry broadcasters around with its Sky News and in particular Sky Sports News channels using multi-media presentations, social media and multiple screen presentations right across its output.
One of the areas Sky has been particularly keen on is to support the analysis of its presenters and experts with technology to more effectively make their point. One of the most recent incarnations of this aim has been created in partnership with Sharp and its BIG PAD PN-70TW.
This product is being used by the broadcaster for its flagship football analysis programme on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
An advocate of touchscreen technology for many years, when Sky Sports was looking for a new large format interactive touchscreen for the renowned ‘Tactics Table’ on Monday Night Football, the company turned to Broadcast & Production Services (BPS), a leading supplier of broadcast and audio equipment for the industry.
Sky Sports’ Tactics Table enables the show’s presenters to digitally recreate key moments in the game and manipulate graphics on screen to show possible tactics teams can use in specific situations.
To ensure the screen was up to the job, BPS was tasked with sourcing and providing a touchscreen solution which was reliable and tough enough to withstand regular travel, could be installed as a table and had both a high quality screen resolution and broad colour temperature range.
Not to mention being easy to use so pundits could be sure the technology would do what they needed it to, when they wanted it to.
After reviewing a number of options, Sharp’s BIG PAD was chosen as the best solution for the Sky Sports team and has since proven to be invaluable in the production of both the Monday Night Football and Friday Night Football shows, says the broadcaster.
Brian Naylor, Sports technical manager at Sky Sports, says: “We’ve really embraced technology with this show and the Sharp BIG PAD screens we have are the most reliable and consistent for the job as we need to know that nothing will go wrong with the systems or products we use when we’re producing a live show.
“Here at Sky, we’ve been an advocate for interactive flat panel displays since the early days of the technology and we’ve moved on quite a bit since the very earliest models. For the Monday Night Football and Friday Night Football teams, using touchscreen technology properly is all about enabling the presenter to do the match analysis and get their story across to the viewer at home in an innovative and engaging way. “So it cannot be too complicated, it has to be relatively intuitive and straightforward to use. Otherwise you risk losing your viewer by getting bogged down in boring menus.”
Sharp says the BIG PAD’s fast, responsive and intuitive IR Touch 10-point multi-touch allows the show’s presenters and production team to easily and quickly create must-see match analysis television, both before and immediately after the big game.
The Sky Sports team recently upgraded from its existing touchscreen to the latest BIG PAD PN-70TW, a model that builds on the heritage of Sharp’s range of interactive flat panel displays.
The product features a 70in touch screen, which minimises latency and means writing or drawing on the screen is more natural and similar to the experience of using a smartphone or tablet.
Additionally the BIG PAD is easy to manoeuvre thanks to its inbuilt carry handles, making it valuable in corporate or broadcast production settings where it may need to be moved around frequently.
Brian adds: “We have four of these screens throughout Sky, which we regularly move around to various studios, so the fact that it is robust, doesn’t weigh so much and also has carry handles on the sides is particularly useful. We recently took the BIG PAD used for our ‘Tactics Table’ from London up to Liverpool to film an episode of Monday Night Football, something we wouldn’t have been able to do as easily with some other screens.”
Stuart Sykes, MD of Sharp UK, say: “We’re proud to be able to provide the Sky Sports team with touchscreens they know they can trust, helping them to produce some of the most popular football analysis shows around.”