[28 August 2014]
New link truck delivers multiple HD or 4K signals over fibre and satellite
Megahertz Ltd, a leading systems integrator and mobile broadcast production specialist, has reconfigured an HD-built link truck into what is believed to be the first 4K Ultra HD truck in the UK and probably Europe, for BT TVOB, the service provider arm of BT Media and Broadcast. The truck, which has been on the road since April this year, has been used to cover numerous HD sports productions including the Premier League football, rugby and cricket, as well as running 4K UHD trials. It will be on show for the first time on the Megahertz stand 11.F20 at IBC2014 (September 12-17, Amsterdam RAI).
BT TVOB provides a delivery service from all the major sporting and event locations in the UK, via fibre and satellite, to broadcasters and production company headquarters. The BT truck sits alongside the outside broadcast production vehicle, accepting multiple feeds which are then compressed, multiplexed and fed to the broadcaster via the BT Tower in London. At each point – including the input and outputs of the link truck – there is careful quality monitoring to ensure that the signal arrives in excellent condition.
Megahertz designers worked with BT on the new truck, TES 51, to provide extensive functionality and a comfortable working environment within the confines of a Mercedes Sprinter van. The design included custom coachwork, and the technical area includes a 96 port Snell router capable of handling a mixture of 4K, 3Gb/s and HD baseband signals, and ASI transport streams. In the configuration for IBC, 4K signals are compressed using advanced encoders from NTT.
Multiple signals are monitored via a 4K Evertz multi-viewer and on to a Sony 4K screen, with two HD Plura monitors for additional qualitative signal monitoring and an HD Phabrix for test signal generation and checking. The truck supports up to sixteen fibre links in HD mode, or one 4K Ultra HD and eight HD links, using the intelligent video networking platform (IVNP) and BT’s core MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) network.
“It is important for us at BT to be continually at the cutting edge of outside broadcast technology, meeting the developing expectations of our customers,” said Neil Huggins, senior product manager at BT Media and Broadcast. “We were the first to provide an HD capability, and the first to do 3D.
“4K Ultra HD is the next stage,” he added. “We have long had confidence in Megahertz to deliver advanced projects like this, and TES 51 has proved itself in delivering trials with 4K signals, which means handling, compressing and maintaining quality on 12Gb/s data streams.”
Jon Flay, managing director of Megahertz, added “To maintain a leadership position in advanced systems integration and to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s market you need a broad and current skillset in your design and engineering teams, and a versatile and creative approach. Our team’s vast experience and our understanding of BT Media and Broadcast’s commercial and operational requirements has enabled us to design and build this new 4K Ultra HD vehicle.
Flay continues, “The truck uses the latest technology available in the market today – some of it is still experimental – but it is not a test bed: it is a working truck that covers the length and breadth of the country, delivering high value programming day after day. Once more, Megahertz has delivered high quality, excellent reliability and the advanced functionality that our client demanded.”
The truck can also act as a satellite uplink, with a fully motorised 1.8m AVL dish equipped with two 400W amplifiers, phase combined, allowing several HD carriers to be uplinked simultaneously. Both fibre and satellite links can be used at the same time, boosting still further the capacity to send multiple feeds from the venue to the studio. The vehicle carries its own 12kVA diesel generator, as well as heating and air conditioning to ensure the crew and equipment are comfortable at all times of the year.
The newly configured vehicle can be seen as part of the Megahertz presence at IBC2014. Visitors to the show will be able to see demonstrations of Ultra HD 4K content passing through the vehicle’s systems.