Cobham Broadcast Supports Radio 1 Big Weekend Concerts

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Cobham, the RF specialist company, provided wireless HD, fibre systems and camera control support to Ireland-based Television  Mobiles Ltd’s (TVM’s) televised coverage of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend concert series in Derry-Londonderry over the 24-26 May holiday weekend.

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TVM deployed a range of Cobham’s camera-mounted SOLO H.264 HD transmitters supplied by Cobham distributor GTZLINK. The transmitters are specifically designed for OB applications and work in conjunction with Cobham’s feature-rich Pro-RXB receiver, a multi-way COFDM receiver designed for the new generation of H.264 wireless camera systems.

Cobham’s systems were used in conjunction with TVM’s deployment of its 24-camera OB6 and 30-camera OB8 trucks at the festival site and delivered flawless pictures throughout the weekend despite occasional periods of challenging weather.

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TVM’s decision to operate at high frequency (7Ghz) was ideal for the SOLO transmitters, which take advantage of Cobham’s proprietary, 500-carrier Ultra Mobile Video Link (UMVL) modulation system, designed to perform best at the upper end of the frequency range to minimise the risk of interference or congestion from mobile telephony applications. The combined array ensures the stable transmission of HD pictures and sound across a broad range of applications, ranging from audience cameras at major music festivals to on-board cameras in high-speed sports. Moreover, UMVL modulation combines high quality with an extremely low latency of just 15ms.

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TVM Managing Director Bart Arnold said, “Images from this highly popular and diverse music festival were transmitted from the main stages, front and back, as well as from roving cameras throughout the weekend. The weather was inclement at times, but this didn’t worry the concert-goers, or Cobham’s transmitters. The production team and director were delighted with the quality of the pictures and the operators were very impressed with the ease of use of Cobham’s technologies.”

Cobham’s broadcast camera control was also deployed. The camera control system offers next-generation features that interface seamlessly with camera manufacturers’ standard control panels, giving the operator complete familiarity with standard cabled systems while eliminating the need to rig separate control panels. TVM also used Cobham’s Broadcast Fibre System, an extension solution operating over single mode fibre in either Tactical Fibre or SMPTE hybrid cable formats. The system enables the antennas to be placed up to 1700m away with power on a SMPTE cable or up to 20kms if powered locally.

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Cobham’s Broadcast Systems Director Stuart Brown said, “TVM has an enviable reputation as a first class, reliable outside broadcast facilities provider and we are delighted that their coverage of this high-profile event was enhanced by the performance of our technology. It once again proves that Cobham is a major force in groundbreaking wireless technology that provides high quality transmission and rock-solid connectivity.”

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The SOLO H.264 transmitter can operate in a variety of transmission bandwidths and offers excellent range, performance and spectral efficiency. The increased compression and efficiency of the MPEG4 H.264 encoder offers additional range with the added benefit of small size, low latency and low power consumption. HD transmission is possible using 40% lower bit-rates than conventional MPEG2 systems while retaining robust modulation settings.

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