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18/11/2016

The Outside Broadcast Revolution Is Here

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So you want to do an outside broadcast. This involves getting real-time audio from a temporary location to a studio and back in good quality with low delay and no audio drop out.

This, in the past, was almost always achieved using ISDN as the connection method and an audio codec at each end. The great thing about ISDN was that it gave you a 100% quality of service across a line with fixed jitter and no packet loss – this was essential with old fashioned algorithms. Getting an ISDN line installed for a one-off use was expensive in the past but also quite common. Now it's harder and harder to get temporary ISDN installed if not impossible and there is also the looming 2025 date when BT want to turn off the ISDN network.

There are companies that produce software that can be run on a laptop that will stream audio via the internet using the mobile phone networks, however this generally is only one way or has huge amounts of delay making it unusable for a two-way conversation. Using a mobile phone is also an option, however who would want to listen to football commentary over a telephone line with such bad audio quality?

The answer is here – the Tieline ViA.

The ViA is powered from a removable Li-ion battery and can connect to the 3G/4G mobile networks, wireless and wired IP networks. The ViA bonds together any 3 networks to provide a stable and robust connection using "Fuse-IP" and "SmartStream PLUS" technology. This helps to eliminate packet loss and audio dropout across even the most unstable IP networks such as the mobile networks and the internet. This combined with Tielines own algorithm with pack loss masking results in a rock-solid connection even at events with large numbers of people such as football matches.

But all this sounds too complicated for a journalist or commentator to operate, well not anymore. The ViA has two main operation modes, "Engineering" and "Reporter". In "Engineering" mode all the controls, settings and technical magic are accessible; in "Reporter" mode things can be as simple as a click to connect button and a level control for your headphones.

The ViA has 3 mic/line inputs on the front edge and has simple to use controls for the input and headphone levels. There is a touch screen with a web interface to allow you to enter information for hotel Wi-Fi networks – so you could even report from the hotel bar.

With all these simple to use features in one battery operated box, the outside broadcast is simple to achieve once again.

www.preco.co.uk

This article is also available to read at BFV online as part of this issue's Audio feature, here, page 39.

(JP/LM)
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