In Broadcast - November 2017 - 26

26

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 11 | November 2017

InStudio

Remote Uplinks
Contributing Editor Andy Stout looks at the transition
away from the primary reliance on satellite uplinks...

A

s well as delivering results at
best described as quixotic, recent
elections have been remarkable in
showcasing the transition away from
reliance on satellite uplinks currently
underway in the industry.
"If we look at the US presidential
elections late last year, on election
day the figures were: 1,800 portable
transmission packs in use, nearly
8,000 hours of streaming, and 212
equipment rentals, says Ronen
Artman, VP of Marketing at LiveU.
"LiveU Central management portal
proved to be mission-critical on
election night, supporting more than
1,200 simultaneous streams and
managing 17 Terabytes of data.
"And this year in the UK, Sky News
broke its own previous record and
used LiveU to bring election results live
from declaration stations around the
country: at maximum use, there were
149 units streaming simultaneously."
As he quite rightly goes on to say:
"Cellular bonding technology has
forever changed the way that content
is gathered."
Cellular bonding technology will
be a decade old next year and its
progress has been remarkable. From
a technology regarded with deep
suspicion by news operations who had
a legacy reliance on satellite uplinks,
it has slowly inveigled its way into
becoming an increasingly important
component of the broadcast arsenal.
Indeed, it is now even starting to edge
into areas where satellite has retained
dominion as it in turn becomes more
sophisticated.
"Bonded cellular now approaches
the reliability of satellite," argues
Jim Jachetta, EVP of Engineering
and CTO at VidOvation. "There are
many new applications for bonded
cellular that would not be possible
using satellite. For example, there is
a trend to use bonded cellular for live
television production, such as on the
show Live PD on A&E (previously the
Arts & Entertainment Network in the
USA). That show relies on more than
41 bonded cellular systems across
six cities in numerous police vehicles
streaming live television back to A&E
master control."

Satellite Man, Your Time Has Come
This is, of course, not a universal
position. "Many of our customers
are coming back from cellularbased systems as they have come
to realise that only satellite can
be guaranteed to give you the
coverage where you want, when
you want it," comments Colin
Wood, Sales Director & Satcom
Business Unit Manager at Vislink.
"The current abundance of
satellite capacity has resulted in a
very favourable cost environment
this year and satellite is now
looking more favourable when
compared to cellular or fibre."
He points to the Vislink
Ultracoder and the company's
forthcoming DVE 6100 as
products that epitomise the new
frontiers of satellite kit: UHD HEVC
TVU One mobile IP transmitter
products packaged in a compact 1U he continues. "There is no one choice
half width package to maximise their for gold standard reliability - which is
portability. Certainly HEVC makes a good for broadcasters since they now
decent argument for a sea change in have more options."
costs - a 50% bitrate reduction over
H.264 having a similar knock on effect
Current State Of The Art
on the bottom line.
The TVU One live mobile IP
Given the greater expense of newsgathering uplink transmitter
satellite bandwidth over cellular, with integrated HEVC features TVU's
around 10-15x in the current market, proprietary IS+ (Inverse StatMux
it's an important technology. But it is Plus) transmission algorithm which
worth pointing out that even those aggregates multiple cellular, WiFi,
that champion cellular bonding are not satellite and microwave connections
adverse to using satellite technology together. That allows it to deliver
when the circumstances demand it; HD quality video with half-second
LiveU, for instance, having the ability latency at 3Mbps - even, according to
to combine with Ka-Band satellite to Shen, from a fast-moving vehicle or
operate in what Artman refers to as unreliable cellular environments. For
'extreme circumstances'. The main satellite and microwave vehicles, the
differences in opinion in the industry TVU MLink provides essentially the
lie in defining exactly what those same in a rack-mount solution, as well
circumstances are.
as 4K support.
Asked whether satellite
can still be considered
the gold standard, Paul
Shen, CEO, TVU Networks,
says: "I don't believe it's
the same as it once was.
Video
transmission
over IP using cellular
uplink is as reliable
now as satellite in
many instances and are
RF's NewsShark
being used in the same way as DSI
mounts on the bottom
traditional satellite for broadcast," of most ENG cameras

AVIWEST's HE400 is also blowing
the trumpet for 4K, highlighting its
growing importance to the sector. It
uses a combination of HEVC encoding
and the company's own SafeStreams
contribution
technology
bonding
algorithms, which it says can use up to
13 IP links simultaneously, to ensure
consistently high video quality. All
this takes place in a half-rack box.
The company's equally impressive
DMNG PRO180+ Global 3G/4G Bonded
Cellular Transmission System might
only feature 8x 3G or 4G universal
modems plus an internal Wi-Fi modem,
by comparison, but it does fit very
nicely into a custom backpack.
LiveU has been shrinking things
even further, launching its HEVC Pro
Card at NAB earlier this year, and thus
bringing HEVC to the LU600 and the
by now familiar advantages of lower
bandwidths and 4K capability. It can
also be retro-fitted to units out in the
field, which is a welcome touch.
The company has also been
highlighting
another
tack
manufacturers in the sector can
take: namely partnerships. The
newly launched and free to access AP
Live Community is a good example.
"Combining AP's global news network
with LiveU's technological expertise,
the online platform expedites live
coverage of breaking news and events
in any location by connecting live video
publishers and contributors around
the world," explains Artman.
Streambox's new Avenir Mini 4
camera-mountable bonded cellular
mobile encoder includes 5x embedded
3G/4G/LTE modems, weighs well
under a kilo, and while it's not
implementing HEVC is using the
ACT-L3 video codec to improve video
quality at a lower data rate. 30% data
savings are promised. Highlighting the
niche areas that remote uplinks are
starting to edge into, the company
even has a 300g dedicated drone
encoder that provides bonding via
any available network connections
direct from the larger of the many UAV
platforms out there.
DSI RF's NewsShark epitomises the
tight integration between encoder and
camera, being factory configured to
mount on the bottom of
most ENG cameras using
an industry-standard 1⁄420 screw mount. Again it's
lightweight at 590g, and again the
company is happy to emphasise
the fact that it can operate as a
payload for many drone systems.
What DSI RF refers to as "Breaking
News" mode allows HD streams at
bandwidths as low as 256k.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - November 2017

Contents
In Broadcast - November 2017 - Intro
In Broadcast - November 2017 - Cover1
In Broadcast - November 2017 - Cover2
In Broadcast - November 2017 - Contents
In Broadcast - November 2017 - 4
In Broadcast - November 2017 - 5
In Broadcast - November 2017 - 6
In Broadcast - November 2017 - 7
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In Broadcast - November 2017 - Cover3
In Broadcast - November 2017 - Cover4
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