The missing link

Monday, September 29, 2014

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Ronan Poullaouec, CTO for AVIWEST provides his top tips for selecting an advanced video uplink system

In the broadcast industry, time is of the essence. People want to be abreast of news as and when it happens. To deliver breaking news and live events with speed and agility, broadcasters need portable, cost-effective and reliable newsgathering solutions that can be used from any location around the world. Additionally, as consumer demand for HD content increases; broadcasters require video solutions that enable the delivery of high-quality content in the most efficient manner possible.

But what are the key criteria that broadcasters need to be aware of while selecting video uplink systems for live streaming over multiple networks? What features are vital for a video uplink system that meets these requirements for mobile newsgathering while broadcasters can ensure affordable capture and broadcast live HD video?

Flexibility is key

When a broadcaster arrives on the scene to report breaking news or a live event, they need a flexible video uplink system that supports a wide range of networks, video inputs, video resolutions, and more. This is important because it’s difficult to predict what the environment will be.

Choosing a system that can accommodate multiple 3G/4G cellular wireless networks, WiFi, Ethernet, and satellite ensures that a broadcaster can capture and stream live HD or SD video leveraging the available networks. For example, in a highly populated, modern city, 3G/4G wireless networks may be the easiest and most-effective method for transporting audio and video signals. However, in remote areas of the world, where infrastructure is poorly developed, satellite may be the only option. Broadcasters need to be able to support a variety of networks so that they can be prepared for any scenario.

In addition, a video uplink system with multiple video inputs (e.g., HD/SD-SDI, HDMI 1.3 and composite video and analog audio) and other interfaces such as an ASI-MPEG-2 transport stream output, Gigabit Ethernet outputs, USB-2 ports, and an SD memory card slot will provide maximum flexibility in the field.

Don’t underestimate the video quality

Today’s consumers crave HD video content. The slightest degradation in the video transmission will almost certainly be noticed; therefore, broadcasters need a video uplink system that can provide high video quality at the lowest possible bitrate over networks that may be congested or susceptible to poor weather conditions.

A video uplink system that features sophisticated encoding technology based on the current H.264 or the next-generation HEVC video codec standard will allow broadcasters to eliminate the delays that at times occur when delivering live HD video. This is particularly useful for live interviews, which require a seamless question and response. The encoder assures a high quality of experience for viewers by compressing video content based on the real-time characteristics of bonded networks, their bit rates, and delays. The result is stunning video resolution.

Consider ease of use

When news happens, journalists need to react quickly. Thus, ease of use is extremely important when it comes to operating any type of broadcast equipment. A video uplink system that can automatically detect real-time network capabilities and bond together multiple IP-based networks (e.g., 3G, 4G, WiFi, Ethernet, and satellite) will enable broadcasters to tap into any IP network that is close by. Additionally, choosing a system with a touch-screen interface can dramatically simplify configuration and operation, enabling broadcasters to broadcast live HD video content from a smartphone or tablet in a matter of seconds.

Smaller is better for newsgathering

The old adage “Go big or go home” is irrelevant in the world of mobile newsgathering. Broadcasters need video uplink systems that are compact, portable, and lightweight. This enables them to move freely when they are at a remote location as opposed to carrying heavy equipment that doesn’t travel well. The system should offer easy integration into newsgathering vehicles as well as a seamless connection to professional cameras. A smaller sized system is also advantageous because it consumes less power. Advanced video uplink systems offer a rich feature set while only requiring an average of 30 watts, reducing broadcasters’ operating expenses.

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