Zixi Levels the Playing Field for New York Racing Association

  • Challenge

    NYRA needed to achieve fast, synchronized delivery of live horse races to multiple locations—regardless of distance—without relying on costly fiber networks.

  • Solution

    With the Zixi Platform, NYRA can reduce expensive managed-fiber service contracts, and instead broadcast live races over the Internet.

  • Benefit

    Zixi helped NYRA reduce operational costs, streamline their broadcast workflow, and offer predictable delivery times to multiple destinations—all without compromising quality. 

Throughout history, technology has revolutionized the sport of horse racing. With telephones, televisions, and now the Internet, viewership has moved from track-side events to a global space where enthusiasts can participate in real time. Today, horse betting is a $100 billion-dollar industry, and it’s steadily growing. Official racing bodies have made huge investments in broadcast infrastructure to ensure that race results reach viewers everywhere at exactly the same time. This high-quality, low-latency delivery is essential to fair play, and ensures no bettor has an edge.      
So, when the New York Racing Association (NYRA) set out to change their broadcast distribution model, it’s no surprise that synchronized delivery, latency, and security were key concerns.

A costly mode of delivery

NYRA operates the three largest thoroughbred horse-racing tracks in the state of New York—Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. At each venue, attendees can bet on races at any of the tracks and collect their winnings. Viewers can also wager online at NYRA Bets, or by telephone and follow the races on local TV stations.
To guarantee synchronized distribution between race venues, local TV, and the web, NYRA used managed fiber networks for content delivery. This traditional method for broadcast was effective, but highly costly.           

Betting on Zixi

NYRA sought to reduce costs and simplify its workflow. The organization wanted to stop relying on expensive fiber networks, and engage in some distribution via the standard Internet instead. NYRA challenged Zixi to provide a video-over-IP solution without compromising broadcast quality, security, or delivery time.
Luckily, Zixi makes it easy to deliver redundant content to multiple locations over the open Internet. And because Zixi works with a wide network of OEM partners, Zixi software is already integrated with devices found in many broadcast environments.
The Zixi team deployed industry-standard ATEME video encoders with Zixi Feeder software to each venue. Right away, each racetrack was Zixi-ready with an elegant single-box solution. The next step was to implement Zixi Broadcaster in the cloud to handle synchronized content delivery to multiple locations. Lastly, ATEME video decoders with Zixi Receiver software were sent to each distribution point. This streamlined solution of the Zixi Platform became an alternative to the managed-fiber service. 

“The fact that Zixi was already integrated with this hardware was huge. It enabled us to make major changes in our workflow, and greatly reduce costs with a single box.”

—Dan Silver, Senior Director of TV, NYRA

The Zixi Platform provides a powerful end-to-end transport protocol to achieve broadcast-quality video streams over standard internet connections. Robust UDP-based video delivery over IP ensures fast distribution. Content-aware error correction and adaptive-bit-rate streaming preserve video quality even when network conditions are volatile. And these technologies can be configured to suit specific needs. Because latency was a key concern, the Zixi team leveraged the flexibility of the Zixi Platform to create a solution that delivered the best quality video with predictably low latency. 

Zixi in action

With the cloud-based Zixi Broadcaster, the solution fell into place. On-site encoders sent high-quality live footage directly to Zixi Broadcaster in the cloud using the open internet. Then, Zixi Broadcaster distributed that content to the decoders at each location—perfectly in-sync, and with near-imperceptible latency. The decoders at each distribution point served up the action to fans and bettors across each racetrack, local New York TV stations, and online. For NYRA, this enabled secure live-video streaming to ten different sites for five hours daily. All using standard unmanaged Internet connections.
  • Capture horse race at NYRA venue [NYRA]
  • Encode video feed with on-site Zixi-enabled ATEME CM5000 encoder
  • Send encoded feed via broadband internet to Zixi Broadcaster in the cloud
  • Distribute feed from Zixi Multi-Point server via broadband internet to Zixi-enabled ATEME decoders:
    • Broadcast stream delivered to 6 sites
    • Occasional use delivered to 4 sites

“I love the system. It’s impressing our traditional TV engineers.”

—Dan Silver, Senior Director of TV, NYRA


Reducing cost and leveling the field

For avid racing fans at home and at the track, the action stayed pretty much the same. The exhilarating thunder of the race. The thrill of betting on a favorite horse to win. Keeping an eye on the toteboard to track winnings. Thanks to the Zixi Platform, it’s just another day at the races for fans and bettors. But for NYRA, business has completely changed.
Implementing the Zixi Platform offered NYRA a cost-effective alternative to managed-fiber service contracts: existing internet connections. And the organization was able to save big without major investments in new infrastructure. Instead, lightweight, integrated encoders and decoders combined with Zixi Broadcaster in the cloud formed the perfect solution for distributing video to multiple locations with split-second timing. NYRA simplified its broadcast workflow and greatly reduced overhead costs while maintaining a perfect experience for its customers.

“Today, betting odds can change in an instant based on a timely social media post. Synchronized, low-latency distribution is essential, and I can confidently say Zixi more than rose to the challenge.”

—Dan Silver, Senior Director of TV, NYRA

For more information, contact our sales team at info@zixi.com.


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