This year’s NAB Show is the first since IMT’s parent company xG Technology acquired Vislink in February. The combined company is tackling how to more closely integrate ENG crews with the newsroom via an IP network set up on BAS channels. Above, at the show, IMT unveiled NewsNet, which leverages BAS channel connectivity and IP networking to extend TV newsrooms to ENG crews in the field.
By: Phil Kurz
While IP newsgathering has captured the lion’s share of in the ENG realm over the past few years, some vendors are finding new ways to leverage reliable Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) channel transmission with all the benefits of IP networking.
At the 2017 NAB Show, Integrated Microwave Technology, fresh off its acquisition of rival Vislink, is doing just that.
The new Vislink NewsNet system will allow newsrooms to extend their IP network to multiple ENG vehicles in the field via a single 2 GHz BAS channel to “extend the network all the way to the camera with IFB and teleprompter,” says John Payne IV, president of IMT Americas.
Unlike existing ENG workflows that often require close coordination with the studio before a microwave link is established, NewsNet makes it possible to “auto negotiate” with the studio to establish the link once the system is turned on.
“Back at the TV station, we have views of ENG feeds coming in from all of the trucks,” he says.
Rather than having someone in a feed center managing all incoming shots to make sure they are ready to take to air during a newscast, NewsNet allows the newscast producers to see the feeds themselves and simply take the right one to air at the appropriate time.
Part of the secret sauce of NewsNet is its ability to manage the IP network links to all ENG crews and dynamically assign more bandwidth to the one supplying the shot being readied for air.
“As soon as the news producer cues up the feed, the bandwidth is expanded full resolution, ready for air,” Payne says.
NewsNet ties its network links to field crews “right back into the newsroom computer and switcher system,” he adds.
Next up for the system will be tying the system so closely into the newsroom computer that taking a live shot from the field to air — including the automatic bandwidth allocation function — can be executed via a MOS command from a rundown, he says.
The NAB Show is also a coming out party for the new entity created by IMT parent xG Technology’s acquisition of Vislink in February, Payne says.
Among some of the customers of both companies there has been a bit of caution because both have “diehard” supporters. However, a closer look at the product lines of both reveals surprisingly little overlap, Payne says.
For instance, while the new Vislink HCAM provides 4K wireless camera connectivity using H.265 encoding and latency of 70 ms, IMT is offering its DragonFly miniature, lightweight COFDM transmitter to deliver HD shots from drones.
The same is true of other products in the combined portfolio, including HD camera transmitters and STL links, he says. “The two don’t overlap. They have two different customer bases,” he says.
“Right now, we haven’t consolidated product lines,” he says. “Certainly, we will over time as we end-of-life existing products and bring out new ones.”
The company is in NAB Show booth C8008.
Read all of TVNewsCheck‘s NAB 2017 news here.