In Broadcast - July 2012 - 58
WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 10 - JULY 2012
Satellite Uplinks: Far From Static
The main broadcast business for satellite links providers comes from news and sports contributions with each requiring different sets of technologies. For news the main push is for rapid response which translates to flexibility on the ground. HD, outside a select few broadcasters like Sky News and Al Jazeera, is rare. For sports an HD quality of experience is a must, necessitating wide bandwidth and robust links. In both applications there is a constant need to drive down costs and there are a number of emerging means to achieve this. One of them is to squeeze more bandwidth out of available satellite capacity and toward which a new modulation scheme, developed by NovelSat, is being targeted. NovelSat claim its NS3 3D-Sat takes advantage of greater processing power to deliver more than a 70% increase in video throughput over 72MHz transponders, although the EBU will only vouch for a 28% efﬁciency gain. Even so, that amount could lead to significant savings for cashstrapped broadcasters hungry for HD. The EBU is deploying NS3 to distribute news and sports content, including Formula 1 races and the London Olympics, and has expressed a desire to see it built into the next DVB standard. The current standard is for MPEG-4 encoding based on the DVB-S2 modulation scheme agreed a decade ago and to which links providers Globecast and SIS Live have upgraded their ﬂeet.
Adrian Pennington discusses the modern demands imposed on satellite and mobile systems matter of “...it is never just atransmission introducing new algorithms
Alessandro Alquati Sales Director GlobeCast Italia
Everything Under Control
“Before implementing any new technology there’s a need for an extensive period of test and also for the customer to feel conﬁdent about accepting those changes,” says Alessandro Alquati, Sales Director for GlobeCast Italia. “Our approach is always to be at the edge of technology development and to propose to our customers new and affordable solutions but it is never just a matter of introducing new transmission algorithms. The whole chain of hardware has to be reworked to accommodate the change and the business model has to be right.” SIS Live provides its satellite trucks on a lease basis packaged with satellite capacity. “If we can
Foto: © GooDAura - Fotolia.com
reduce cost to our customers by improving modulation techniques we can resell the extra satellite space into the market,” says SIS Live Managing Director David Meynall. When SIS began life 25 years ago (as SIS Link) it did so by providing uplinks and ﬂyaways from UK race tracks because the combination proved less expensive than the BT ﬁbre that was then in use. Now, however, the tables have turned and ﬁbre is an attractive alternative to satellite particularly from venues which play host to multiple live annual broadcasts. SIS Live has installed ﬁbre at all UK dog tracks and some horse race courses. “It’s more cost effective to put ﬁbre into sports venues rather than to use ﬂyaways or ﬁxed uplinks purely because of the cost of satellite capacity,” Meynall says. Total reliance on ﬁbre, though, comes with a health warning. The loss of signal during ITV’s The X Factor last November was among recent high proﬁle failures.
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