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Advantage Of Intercom-over-IP For Remote Broadcast

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In the remote sports and news broadcast markets, remote connectivity is key, explains Stephen Sandford, Product Manager, Clear-Com. But with only short set-up times and little or no preparation time, how do you connect your local intercom or communication system back to the host broadcaster which could be hundreds of miles away?

Historically users have paid for expensive telephone, ISDN or dark fiber line rentals to meet these remote connectivity needs. Today, high-bandwidth IP connections are accessible virtually everywhere, including the venues.

As consumers, we enjoy the availability of Internet-based apps like Skype, WhatsApp and WeChat that have become popular applications for avoiding expensive cellular calls or text messages on smart devices. These apps take full advantage of the ubiquitous access to the Internet and rides on the ever-growing stability and reliability of IP connection.

In professional audio, the concept of sending and receiving remote audio over a secure LAN/WAN/IP Network across long distances is not any different. Clear-Com's LQ Intercom-over-IP devices embrace the latest IP technologies to address the needs of remote broadcasting on sports or news content. Networked LQ devices can take signals from industry-standard 2-wire (Clear-Com or RTS), 4-wire and 4-wire with GPIO and convert them to Audio over IP (AoIP) using the latest OPUS codecs to compress the audio to offer low IP network bandwidth demand of less than 50Kbps per audio channel. What this means is that networked LQ devices can facilitate the secure transmission of high quality intercom and/or audio signals, from one or more communication points across remote location(s) and the host broadcaster's studio complex, over basic Internet connection.

Switching your remote audio connectivity from ISDN could save you from tens of thousands in additional expense per year on line rentals by simply adding LQ devices and piggy-backing on the existing internet connections to route AoIP.

Clear-Com's LQ devices have been used in Sports Video Refereeing Systems, where the referee wants clarification on a decision and a video referee assists during a live game. These video referees are based at remote locations, covering multiple games at once. LQ devices provide the audio link between central video referees and many local venue referees using IP connections at the sports venue and video refereeing central facility.

The LQ devices can provide 12kHz or full bandwidth 20kHz audio in point-to- point type connectivity as with the sports refereeing system, but also in one-to- many connections where LQ connects back to a centre matrix frame. This new feature is being utilised in the UK to move audio from individual sporting venues back to a central Clear-Com Eclipse-HX digital matrix system through LQ for redistribution. This application therefore allows low data rate audio from many different venues to connect back to a central Eclipse-HX intercom matrix where the intercom from each venue can be routed to the correct playout studio where commentary is then added ready for broadcast. The LQ devices have proven that they are the perfect solution for both simple or bespoke linking solutions.

In addition, not only do LQ devices transport audio and call signals, they can also move control signals from one or more end points to any end-point on the same channel with the Networked Control Events feature. Users can connect announcer cue lights together with LQ devices and be triggered at one or multiple positions by an On-Air switch from the sound desk. Remote IFB switching can be initiated from call alerts to a set of intercom devices and/or radios that are connected to LQ devices. These scenarios can be easily achieved using IP-linked LQ devices.

With LQ, Clear-Com has provided an easy to use set of tools for transferring intercom, commentary, Partyline or 4-wire call alerts and controls over IP. Now all intercom can be connected and even older island systems given new life by being incorporated into the station production intercom and audio systems.

This article is also available to read at BFV online as part of this issue's Audio feature here, page 37.

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