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New radio cameras tested in sports productions.

"Cobham's most advanced H.264 algorithm for a better and less expensive radio link system!" Ettore Cortesi, VideoB Television Srl

The UK company Cobham deriving radio frequency technology from the military sector, points to television sports production with modern radio cameras. Incredibly flexible, they are distributed in Italy by Aret Video and Audio Engineering and may be considered a breakthrough.

 

VideoB Television Ltd, founded in 1985, and headquartered in Parma, Emilia -Romagna has 4 ob-vans constantly working in television production for broadcast clients such as RAI, Mediaset and Sky Italy. This company is very careful to select the best technologies in the broadcast market. It is no coincidence that the owner Ettore Cortesi has field-tested such radio cameras by Cobham:
Cortesi says: "talking about RF performance, and so evaluating the efficiency of the algorithm that deals with the H.264 coding, it is very difficult to talk about the performance of a radio camera if not comparing it side by side to another competitor.
We have carried out tests in some sports events of international importance , such as the football Serie A in Italy and we can say that the covered area is almost double compared to the majority of competitors systems, in equal conditions, walking almost a kilometer more, maintaining a sturdy signal and definitely with fewer dropouts.
The size of the transmitter is significantly lower than those of the competition, it is completely closed and there are no fans.
This allows to operate in extreme conditions such as in dump climate or at 20 degrees below zero where many competitors often stop.

The receiver is also amazing. It is equipped with eight diversity channels and two demodulators on board, so each receiver can pick up two radio cameras, using an ASI output.
The system control is through a simple Web Browser from which we can manage all the features of the transmission.
In the same Web browser is also provided a very useful spectrum analyzer which, although rudimentary, allows you to simply check if there are frequencies occupied.
This came in really handy when we carried out an inspection at the San Siro stadium in Milan the day before the event and on the day after, during the Serie A match, the actual situation of the free frequencies was varied significantly by electromagnetic pollution. This has enabled us to position ourselves immediately on alternative frequencies to avoid interference.
The compact size and weight of the transmitter is equally important, even lower than the competition and the current consumption is much lower. "

It is to be stressed that this very successful UK  company has long been operating in military security due to a unique experience in designing and engineering transmission electronics. Just for instance Cobham is involved in radio aligning systems in use during air refueling of fighter-bombers.

The experience of Cobham in HD compressed COFDM transmissions derives from a long history of collaboration with one of the most important world governments that has commissioned - for ten years – video footage downlink equipments from helicopter to control riots and tumultuous events.
From these experiences and field research justified by thousands of units sold, Cobham boasts better electronics and a compression algorithm exceptionally effective, fast, robust which eliminates of the typical defects such as aberrations.
The efficiency in band compression then becomes the secret of great range in terms of space and spectral efficiency.

As per efficiency such systems simply can't be compared to any similar technology offered by any competitor who derived their knowhow exclusively from the broadcast sectors

It is also to be considered that Cobham has developed first a system capable of restoring images in real MPEG-4, without aberrations and major delays; we are talking of a - unique in the industry - end-to -end delay of only 80 ms and an ultra-low delay of only 15 ms.

Last but not least the great selling volumes allow to offer the final customers a very competitive product.

At the recent NAB Cobham launched a new receiver based on 1RU chassis, capable of receiving and demodulate two radio cameras signals in ASI, CVBS, HD-SDI and in IP Streaming.
Also it was recently presented a micro MPEG4 transmitter, same size of a pack of matches, ideal for a wide range of applications such as biking, hockey, motocross, etc. placed on the athletes helmet, allowing use of live micro action cameras.

Cortesi continues: "It's a product that I believe in very much, which involves many intelligent features as the antenna remote via fiber optics and on SMPTE cable that also conveys downconverter power supply; it is an intelligent control system that allows very efficient costs; the RCP is composed of a IDU and an ODU; the indoor unit controls up to 4 cameras and the outdoor unit is capable of transmitting by radio to 4 cameras; then to manage 4 cameras, 4 camera receivers are needed, no need to multiply the system by 4."

On board the IDU - thanks to a simple software license – we can implement different technologies so to operate with Panasonic  cameras today and Sony's tomorrow and the next day with Grass Valley and (even if this is no common practice) to integrate a mixed system of different makes.
This is really a way of dealing with costs in an efficient way. Actually buying a complete camera control system the customer faces similar costs to the competitors', but when buying a second one he just adds the camera telemetry unit only, with huge costs savings.

In such a "downturn" delicate moment in the market these radio - cameras concentrate huge benefits and so become very interesting in this segment at a very competitive price.

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