Streaming a live sporting event or delivering breaking news straight from the scene to multiple platforms is putting Occasional Use (OU) broadcasters under increasing pressure to deliver reliable and seamless broadcasts – with no room for jitters. Meeting the new expectations from audiences for an enriched experience as close to the real thing as possible, presents a great technical challenge.
As an OU Flex broadcaster, the Nemeton team experiences this challenge first-hand. Having won several new contracts, including one with the international broadcaster Sky, we required a solution that was compatible with our existing equipment to power high-quality IP connectivity. Having that connectivity allowed us to manage our customers’ entire video and data content contributions, with guaranteed quality of service in any conditions.
In January 2018, Sky contracted the satellite arm of our business, Digisat, to supply uplink trucks, satellite capacity, communication and broadband for all of its outdoor broadcasts across Ireland. Previously, we had deployed terrestrial Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) for talkback and Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs) in venues across Ireland. Yet this proved difficult and expensive to maintain and was simply not efficient enough for an international, 24-hour broadcaster such as Sky. In addition to this, ISDN lines were often terminated away from our Satellite News Gathering (SNG) trucks, resulting in insufficient broadband speeds.
We found the perfect solution in MX1’s OU Flex broadband modem – which is based on the Newtec Dialog® platform including its MDM-series of modems. The OU Flex system works on top of our existing SNG trucks to ensure we deliver reliable, high-speed broadband as soon as we arrive on-site, without the need for ISDN or DSL lines. Using reliable VSAT connectivity via satellite to support live video is particularly efficient at busy events such as live sports games, when the network can easily become congested due to a high level of other reporters and users in the area.
Beyond live video broadcasts, OU Flex allows crews in the field to use multiple applications such as Voice-over-IP (VoIP), video clip transfer, archive browsing, email, social media, and the Internet, as quickly and reliably as if they were in the studio. All of this is enabled by the Newtec Dialog platform and its support of three return technologies, MF-TDMA, SCPC and Mx-DMA®. The latter is a unique technology from Newtec that combines the best qualities of the other two technologies, enabling bandwidth to be allocated dynamically as it is needed, while also ensuring the highest quality. We have already noticed the benefits of this efficiency which has enabled the seamless transmission of video, audio and media solutions across our network, while eliminating jitter. Thanks to the flexibility of the OU Flex broadband modem, we were able to deploy the solution on top of our existing fleet of SNG trucks, reducing Operational Expenditure (OPEX), while ensuring high quality and reliable connectivity and transmission.
A Seamless Solution
The seamless installation means the additional modem has become almost transparent within our network. However, that is not to say the benefits of OU Flex have gone unnoticed. Now we enjoy getting our SNG van up and running knowing we can rely on the connectivity we have to get the job done, with enhanced bandwidth and reduced jitter on top. Through these enhanced capabilities, we have been able to deliver 8 Mbps broadband speeds to Sky, allowing graphics to be seamlessly transmitted from our SNGs in Ireland back to Sky’s HQ in London.
OU Flex is definitely a solution we see ourselves taking more advantage of in the future. From extending our service to other major broadcasters, or exploring new use cases to exploit the full potential of the solution, we know that this solution will help us grow our business.
As a scalable and flexible multiservice satellite communications platform, the Newtec Dialog all-IP platform offers cutting-edge technology that enabled MX1 to create an adaptable solution for OU broadcasters. MX1’s solution – OU Flex – provides high-quality IP connectivity to manage customers’ entire video and data content contributions, with guaranteed quality of service in any conditions. It transforms the DVB one-way feed into a bidirectional link, providing maximum flexibility without the need for two antennas, enabling video content distribution, live video sharing on social media, file sharing and Internet connectivity for broadcasters and SNG operators. Incorporating Newtec Dialog, OU Flex has been developed to meet the requirements of broadcasters, live event producers, event organizers and remote operators to enrich the viewer experience through live broadcast, all while enabling content creators to grow.
Tomás Mac Craith,
Head of Technical Facilities at Nemeton
MX1’s OU Flex Delivers Onsite Connectivity Boost with SML’s LTE/WiFi Solution
MX1 announced that broadcasters and event organisers will be able to make use of a new service providing reliable onsite LTE network and dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots, regardless of the location of their event. This is due to Smart Mobile Labs’ (SML) cooperation with MX1 to bundle their LTE technology into the MX1 OU Flex product.
The new feature combines OU Flex’s 150 Mbit/sec of reliable bandwidth supplied by SES’ powerful satellite fleet and SML’s 5G-ready LTE/WiFi hotspot solution. Together these innovations enable crystal-clear high-definition and UHD content to be reliably distributed to a specialised mobile application on the phones of thousands of event spectators and audiences around the world.
SML’s LTE technology is based on the company’s core technology, Edge Video Orchestrator (EVO), which allows switching of real-time video streams with a low latency and will extend OU Flex connectivity on-location to deliver video, audio, and data streams through a local mobile network for rebroadcasting and Content Delivery Network (CDN) distribution. The combined solution is proven with 4G LTE technology.
OU Flex, which was launched in March 2018, provides a dependable video distribution and bidirectional IP connectivity solution for broadcasters, live event producers, event organisers, and remote operators. The solution works even when terrestrial and mobile networks are congested, and in remote areas, to ensure that over-the-top streaming and social media updates can be executed from the field, while also distributing video feeds to TVs globally.
The new OU Flex feature can be used for a variety of applications. One is extending a network to mobile cameras that deliver focused views of an event to OU Flex-connected spectators onsite and audiences around the world. The mobile application can then offer these shots in a split-screen mode, directed by the viewer’s choice. Additionally, the customer can superimpose sponsor information, graphic elements, or social media conversations on top of the video feed, for a total event immersion, all in real time.
"We enhanced the audience experience at a major baseball game with our EVO technology by enabling spectators to use their smartphones or tablets to choose the camera angle from which they’d like to view the game — whether from the pitcher’s, catcher’s, or cheerleader’s point of view,” said Andreas Westhoff, CEO of SML. “By combining our solution into MX1’s OU Flex, we can go further because of satellite’s reliability and reach. Now we will be able to deliver our unique capabilities to customers in remote locations or in network congested situations."
"Cooperating with SML allows event organizers to up their game as they can now offer services to thousands of phones on the ground, which empowers them to provide enhanced experiences to spectators on-location as well as those around the world,” said Wilfried Urner, CEO of MX1. “This add-on is a perfect complement to our OU Flex service as it expands the flexibility already offered. We are focused on delivering services that are plug-and-play without compromising on quality, which defines both OU Flex and this new SML add-on."
This article was also published in Newtec's latest NEWTEC NEWS newsletter next to other trend topics from the industry and all news around Newtec, our solutions and products.