2019 was a busy 25th anniversary 12 months for Cell TV Group, which remained true to its progressive and tech-savvy method by launching two new cell items into its 41-strong fleet. This initiative broke into new territory, creating the world’s first fully SMPTE 2110 uncompressed IP-based cell TV broadcast unit – ‘45 FLEX’ – with cell unit ‘46 FLEX’ launching shortly after, and cell unit ‘47 FLEX’ set to launch in Q1 of 2020.
The brand new dual-trailer items’ infrastructures are each based mostly across the Grass Valley Kayenne Okay-Body X IP switcher, an Evertz 384-port EXE 2.zero IP router and an Evertz Magnum management system, to supply 1080p capability that might require at the very least a 3000×3000 baseband router. For audio, the brand new cell items use Calrec’s Artemis digital broadcast consoles with audio-over-IP capabilities.
Cell TV Group predominantly companies the U.S. sports activities markets, with items unfold throughout the nation, every run by round 50 engineers. The present rely of 41 cell items, together with 15 dual-trailer rigs (Unit A and VMU-Unit B) that may run the group’s ‘dual-feed’ manufacturing idea – operations for each dwelling and visiting groups from two areas however with shared technical sources. Each the brand new 45 FLEX and 46 FLEX items are dual-trailer outfits, with 53-foot increasing trailers (to 16’6” large) for Unit A, and 53-foot lengthy (eight’6” large) for VMU-Unit B trailers.
Impressively, the group designs and integrates its personal cell items, utilizing a robust everlasting integration workforce at its Denver HQ. At any time, guests can discover at the very least one cell unit is constructed.
As Director of Engineering for Cell TV for the previous seven years (following 9 years based mostly in Michigan as an engineer for the corporate), Peter Wehner has long-been drawn to the tech facet of the industry.
“We at all times get the newest tech, and it’s at all times altering,” he says. “In fact, I additionally get to work with loads of totally different individuals from totally different backgrounds, and I get to journey to some superb sporting occasions. The cell unit is the place all of it occurs, and I’m by no means bored.”
Wehner feels that a willingness and talent to undertake the appropriate applied sciences on the proper time is among the issues that units Cell TV Group other than the gang. It has a wholesome, pioneering track-record, with a number of the first HD cell items in North America, the primary ground-up 4K UHD cell unit and the primary HDR broadcast in America.
“We delight ourselves on being the primary,” he says. “We now have a expertise for getting in there at simply the appropriate time, with enhancements and amenities that at all times make issues higher for our shoppers.”
All Cell TV Group items are numbered sequentially as they’re completed and introduced on-line. With just one exception, all new cell items since quantity 29 have been outfitted with Calrec Artemis audio consoles, full with Bluefin2 processing and built-in Hydra2 routing. The fader rely varies between 48 and 64 throughout the fleet, however all have the Artemis ‘Beam’ package deal, which affords 340 channel processing paths per console.
Wehner makes the purpose that it’s vital for the cell unit atmosphere to be comfy and acquainted to all mixers. A technique to make sure that is to go together with industry-standard instruments, equivalent to Calrec consoles.
“Our shoppers will rent freelance operators who might or might not have seen our cell items earlier than,” he says. “Having the ability to are available in and get working straightaway is extremely vital.”
He additionally sees the flexibleness of Calrec as a first-rate attribute, notably given the number of occasions lots of the group’s cell items are used on.
“We primarily produce sports activities, however we additionally do leisure and company reveals,” says Wehner. “The Calrec consoles can deal with something, for no matter market we’re coping with.”
One factor that every one Cell TV Group engineers search for is nice service and assist, “and that’s one thing Calrec is well-known for,” he provides. “Most of our engineers should not have audio backgrounds – they’re not operators. The willingness of Calrec to take the time to verify they actually perceive how the console works, what the sign circulation is and so forth, is basically appreciated. We don’t see that with loads of different producers.”
With a view to combine Calrec into the brand new IP cell items, Cell TV Group depends on the Calrec audio-over-IP I/O unit, which supplies a Hydra2 AoIP interface for as much as 512×512 channels utilizing AES67 or Ravenna. That IP connection goes on to the unit’s Evertz router. “Now, we are able to join all of our audio with a few items of fiber,” says Wehner. “Taking the items’ infrastructures into consideration, that’s superb for ease of connectivity and use. In fact, it additionally helps on weight, which is an enormous concern on these trailers.”
Wehner sees the brand new items, and their elements, as important elements of an ‘all the things in every single place’ future: “Each feed may be accessible in every single place,” he says. “That, in flip, has now turn into an expectation for shoppers who understandably don’t need any restrictions. Prior to now, there’s at all times been a restrict on what number of audio channels we are able to ship between items. Now, these restrictions are going away due to the newest audio applied sciences, like these supplied by Calrec.”
As a world first, the natively IP Cell TV Group 45 FLEX cell unit represents an enormous step ahead in some ways. Wehner acknowledges that it’s not the primary time IP has been core to a cell unit, however says it’s the first time that IP has utterly taken over. He notes that Cell TV Group’s plan was at all times to construct an IP-based cell unit, however solely as soon as it was possible to natively join all core units, together with the switcher, the cameras, replay units, multi-viewers and, in fact, the audio console.
“There are different cell items on the market that say they’re IP,” he explains. “However that usually simply refers back to the routing. Indicators get transformed again to baseband at lots of the units. We didn’t suppose there was an enormous benefit to having an IP core after which having to transform all the things. As soon as the expertise caught up with our ambition, we went forward and constructed 45 FLEX and, subsequently, the 46 FLEX. Now we’re wanting ahead to 47 and 48!”