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Argosy Cable: Cable Feature

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This article has been contributed by Argosy Cable.

While it's not always considered the most exciting topic, cabling is always mission critical to the success of broadcast projects in a manner that far exceeds the timely delivery of a box of connectors and cables.

That's why laying out a long-term strategy to ensure a better return on investment (ROI) on all cabling purchases should be at the heart of every broadcast project.

To address this, TV studio materials distributor Argosy has been shining a spotlight on cable strategy as well as broadening its own remit and global strategy – it's a company that is rapidly changing shape in support of trends such as the rise of 4k and 8k or the move towards a more IP-based infrastructure.

As a specialised service provider in the area of cabling, Argosy has noticed a number of trends including increasing demand for CAT 6 structural cabling and a haphazard industry stampede towards fibre.

A lot of file-based content is now retained within the broadcast network, with content moving across networks and virtual servers. High data rates for transmission are putting pressure on broadcasters who need to squeeze as much down the pipe as possible, prompting a natural move from copper and highlighting questions about the benefits of the use of coaxial cables versus fibre.

The rise of fibre in particular is something that needs to be urgently addressed, according to Argosy, as it has all too often been implemented in a short sighted manner that isnt making financial sense, particularly in the (OB) sector.

Cabling for outside broadcast is often one of the last things to be considered when it comes to kitting out a truck or preparing the infrastructure for a temporary or fixed venue live event. Many outside broadcasters have fallen into habits that don't make practical or economic sense in the long-term when it comes to investment, stock, cable quality and splicing.

Argosy has noticed that a great many OB companies have been improvising when it comes to choosing a fibre solution. Splicing is now common practise due to the wide availability of low-cost distribution cables and fusion splicers, combined with the high cost of military tactical cable assemblies with expanded beam connectors, which dictated to some extent this early direction.

The choice was often made between a drum of high-count, pre-terminated tactical cable and on-site splicing, which offered a welcome rugged, re-deployable and easily serviceable option to OBs.

As a result, many OBs are now witnessing a legacy technology creep born from the introduction of fibre media without a clearly defined strategy. The knock-on effect is that the ongoing cost of deployment of fibre has been higher than expected overall.

Examples like these are why many broadcasters and SIs need to urgently rethink their cable management strategy, focusing on more long-term investments and on getting return from these investments.

Added Value Services

Argosy has addressed some of these industry needs by building fibre termination facility in the UK, with a clean room, fibre connectivity and a splicing and polishing machine to enable the termination of multi-way fibres.

In addition, with the provision of pre-tested product bundles, Argosy is involved in helping engineers overcome the eternal challenge of taking laboratory test data into the field by reporting real life test transmission distances for various product combinations in 4K and 8K.

Working with a cable provider and fibre specialist like Argosy on a consultative level can help broadcasters adapt the way they invest in and deploy cable, while taking the guess work out of such decisions.

Beyond cable

Now part of the Broadcast & Communications Division of IEWC, Argosy has expanded on its historical focus on TV studios and outside broadcast (OB) facilities to include proAV applications. They're now stocking up on active products such as intelligent MDUs/PDUs, switchers and KVM solutions.

By taking its expertise into broader areas of the industry, Argosy, is offering crucial new services and support to both SIs and broadcasters. Ultimately, choosing the right cable solution for any broadcast application is not only crucial, but needs to be a deliberate choice based on a long-term strategy that brings a better ROI. And now, your active solutions can be procured from the same provider.

Strategic partnerships with manufacturers have emerged as part of Argosy's reinvention, based on the company's historical cabling expertise and extensive piece part stock levels.

To support the broadcaster at major sporting events such as Olympics and European championships for example, Argosy is working alongside the manufacturer to provide a finished product, fully tested and dropped to the customer's facility. The company also manufactures racks, pre-built for vendors with active components built-in. This helps to strengthen the company's dialogue with the broadcaster's technical and engineering team and ensure a more complete solution offering.

It also has strategic distribution agreements in place with manufacturers such as Commscope, whereby Argosy can supply a range of its ADC products direct to the EMEA region. This allows Argosy's stock profile of ADC products to accurately reflect its own insightful forecasts for that marketplace, which consequently improves Argosy's overall customer experience with shorter lead times and better response rates.

The company is also forging itself a name on bigger projects, well outside its existing cable expertise, through both SIs and manufacturers eager to get their hands on complementary products that the company is now supplying from partners such as Panasonic, Teradek, Datavideo and Blackmagic.

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