In Broadcast - August 2013 - 42


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 22 - AUGUST 2013

N E W S

InTECH

ABonAir Wireless Video Links – Part III
ABonAir’s review of microwave video links concludes with a closer look at user profiles,
content compression and Wi-Fi technology…

By Eran Igler,
CEO, ABonAir

T

42

his series of articles reviews the
key issues related to wireless
video transmission links that allow
broadcasters to capture and
transmit attractive and compelling
content easily. Wireless video link
technologies allow camera teams
to transmit video content back to
OB vans or central stations.
The first article (June Issue –
page 56) explained how different
technologies suit different broadcast
uses, and indicated a set of buying
criteria like transmission range,
stability, and the use of licensed
or unlicensed frequencies. The
second article (July Issue – page
54) demonstrated how bi-directional
technology assures that all the data
is received without errors, and
increases efficiency, picture quality,
stability and robustness.
This article elaborates on
compression and Wi-Fi technology,
but before that, let’s quickly review
different types of users and their
requirements.

User Profiles
Camera and wireless systems
users may be divided into
three categories:
• Professional users of wireless
video transmission systems
typically cover high-profile events
on primetime TV such as national
sports, reality shows, breaking
news and live events. They
require high stability, availability,
picture quality and range;
• Prosumers or semi-professionals
use wireless video systems for
local news or colour stories
around big events, where picture
quality can be compromised and
requirements for performance,
stability and range are less strict;
• Consumer-level wireless link
solutions are used typically
for local news, local sports,
weddings or college events.
Budgetary constraints dictate
the performance and features,
compromising stability, picture
quality and range.

Vital Codec
Two key developments positioned
Wireless HD Links as a central
element in TV broadcasting: the
opening of unlicensed frequencies

for public use worldwide and
the evolution of a high-quality
compression codec (H. 264).
Unlicensed frequency: until
recently, using wireless equipment
required purchasing expensive
frequency licenses from the
regulator, and so only large
networks could afford to use it.
When regulators worldwide started
to provide unlicensed frequencies
for public use, they enabled even
small production companies
to use wireless links easily and
free of charge.
Compression: most wireless
video links in the market utilise
a compression codec to reduce
content size, as wireless
transmission has limited capacity.
Wireless link systems compress the
video before the transmission and
decompress it at the receiver side.
An important development in the
last few years is the introduction of
the superior H.264 codec. It offers
more than double the performance
at the same bandwidth compared to
the older MPEG-2 codec, ensuring
excellent picture quality in many
uses, and with wireless in particular.
The MPEG-2 standards committee
started its activity in the early
nineties and focused on SD-TV.
The computation power of ASICs
and DSPs in those days forced the
MPEG-2 standard committee to
compromise on the algorithms and
picture quality in order to meet price
points for consumer products.
More than a decade later, the
H.264 standard was initiated with
a focus on HD-TV. Technological
developments over these years
released the standards committee
from previous compromises as
computation power of DSPs and
ASICs has grown dramatically (more
than 30 times) and sophisticated
algorithms were introduced into
the standard to support the highest
picture quality. H.264 has a better
compression rate (better than two
times) in comparison to MPEG-2,
resulting in much better picture
quality at the same bitrate.
Uncompressed wireless link
solutions transfer the video directly
without compression in an effort to
save cost. Uncompressed solutions
are based on a very high throughput

Sony EX3 camera paired with ABonAir’s AB310 wireless link

wireless link; this topology stretches
the wireless technology to the
maximum and reduces distance
and coverage to a minimum (only
few metres), guarantees errors
during the broadcast session, and
compromises on picture quality.
The development of this solution
requires special efforts to “hide”
these inevitable errors from the
viewer. However, one big advantage
of the uncompressed solution is
the minimal delay. Uncompressed
transmission can be done only for
a very short range with reduced
picture quality.

Wi-Fi Issues
In video over Wi-Fi systems the
transmitter is located on the
camera and the receiver is near the
Wi-Fi access point. The advantage
of Wi-Fi video link solutions is their
low cost, making them a perfect
choice for low budget production.
However, their disadvantages are
compromised picture quality and
stability, crowded frequencies,
unstable interrupted signal, and the
fact that they share resources with
many other applications and users.
The Wi-Fi standard was designed
as a wireless LAN technology for
use in computer applications
such as Internet or email. In

ABonAir’s AB305 wireless link on a
Sony EX3

these applications the content
transmission is based on packets
of data which are not sensitive to
parameters such as packet ordering,
time of arrival, bit rate, etc. All of
which are critical parameters in
wireless video transmission.
Wi-Fi is a burst standard in nature
that can transfer 20Mbps in one
second and 0.5Mbps in the next.
This is unacceptable for video
streaming where the order of the
packets, the time of arrival, and
the consistency of the bitrate are
critical. A good example would be
the way video looks on a home
computer. It sometimes gets stuck
during buffering, and then starts
again, then freezes again. Not
only that, the sharing nature of
the Wi-Fi network, among several
users and applications reduces
both available bandwidth and its
consistency and interrupts the
video stability. This is intolerable
for professional video transmission
where a closed, uninterrupted and
stable network is vital.
The Wi-Fi standard does not fit with
streaming video for professionals
and even semi-professionals as it
is packet-based with no control
over the arrival time of packets
and their order; it allows new users
to be added to the network and
enables network sharing, which
reduces available bandwidth and
picture quality.
The broadcast industry has
become more competitive than ever
before: news is reported live from
the scene; sports broadcasts show
players’ perspectives; and reality
shows require real-time monitoring.
Flexibility is the key and wireless is
the solution. Being first on the air
by utilising wireless HD links and
avoiding the time-consuming setup
of cables increases viewer ratings.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - August 2013

In Broadcast - August 2013
Contents
InNEWS: Panasonic Announces AK-HC3500A Camera
InNEWS: Shotoku Elevates Newscasting for KETK-TV
InFOCUS: Camera Links – Following All the Vital Action
InTECH: Fischer Connections Solutions for Broadcast
InMEDIA: Delivering Anytime Content on Cable
InMEDIA: Screen – High Definition Subtitling and Beyond
InSOUND: DPA’s D:Dicate Recording Microphone Range
In Broadcast - August 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - August 2013 - In Broadcast - August 2013
In Broadcast - August 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - August 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InNEWS: Panasonic Announces AK-HC3500A Camera
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InNEWS: Shotoku Elevates Newscasting for KETK-TV
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InFOCUS: Camera Links – Following All the Vital Action
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 38
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InTECH: Fischer Connections Solutions for Broadcast
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 54
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InMEDIA: Delivering Anytime Content on Cable
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 60
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InMEDIA: Screen – High Definition Subtitling and Beyond
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 67
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 68
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In Broadcast - August 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 72
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 74
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - August 2013 - InSOUND: DPA’s D:Dicate Recording Microphone Range
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 78
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 79
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 80
In Broadcast - August 2013 - 81
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In Broadcast - August 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S6
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S7
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S8
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S9
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S10
In Broadcast - August 2013 - S11
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201612
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