Cobham Launches Ultra Flexible, Software-Defined Transmitter at IBC2015

Cobham Tactical Communications and Surveillance, the RF specialist company, will redefine wireless communication with the launch of the SOLO8 SDR, an ultra-small camera-back transmitter that for the first time takes the description “software-defined” into the RF world.

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SDR is short for “software defined radio”, which Cobham sees as the next generation of wireless broadcast products. Unveiled for the first time at IBC 2015, the new SOLO8 SDR is a COFDM digital video transceiver with an exceptionally high density of connectors. Its ease of integration, small form factor, and ultra-low power consumption (between 5 to 10W) - coupled with its ability to perform multiple functions in a single unit - will significantly reduce the amount of equipment needed to be carried into the field, and reduce the inventory typically needed to be carried by hire companies.

According to Cobham Head of Broadcast Sales, JP Delport, “The SOLO8 SDR is one of, perhaps the, most powerful and flexible device we have ever launched. I know it’s a cliché, but we honestly believe this little beauty is a game changer.”

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What is unique about the SOLO8 SDR is that its new software platform can run a wide range of highly useful apps, much like a smartphone, and can on request instantly change functionality to respond to varying requirements in the field. This means fewer devices, but more useful functionality.

Moreover, with 128 GB of integrated video storage, the SOLO8 SDR takes advantage of a high performance video codec that supports dual HD-SDI inputs as well as USB and Ethernet I/O interfaces. The Ethernet interface also supports IP video streaming via RTSP and multicast streaming. The unit’s ultra-low latency High Profile H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) encoding ensures excellent image quality retention over a wireless link or contested IP network. The combination essentially makes the SOLO8 SDR an IP encoder, front-end recorder, and a COFDM TX – all in a single lightweight, compact, and highly portable unit.

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The transmitter also includes an ISM band telemetry receiver that allows return command and control information to be sent to the unit. Command information can be used to control inbuilt recording and power on and off the unit, and the return data link has sufficient capacity to support commands for a connected camera.

Those involved in live sport and event coverage, Cobham’s new SOLO7-OB Tx will be of special interest. The SOLO7-OB Tx is a new camera-back transmitter that features 1080p60 and 4:2:2 with integrated camera control. It includes swappable RF modules (340MHz – 8.6GHz) and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video encoding. Its latency, depending on mode, ranges from 1s to an ultra-low 10ms, which when coupled with ultra-low power consumption delivers extended performance in the field.

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Delport adds, “Sports and live events are about high picture quality. News teams are leaning more toward delivering content as quickly and reliably as possible. That’s why we have introduced new transmitter technology that is perfect for sport in the form of the SOLO7-OB Tx, and the SOLO8 SDR, which is all a demanding news production team really needs in the field.”

About Cobham
Cobham protects lives and livelihoods with its differentiated technology and know-how, operating with a deep insight into customer needs, and agility.  The Group offers an innovative range of technologies and services to solve challenging problems in harsh environments across commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean, specialising in meeting the growing demand for data, connectivity and bandwidth.

Employing more than 12,000 people on five continents, the Group has customers and partners in more than 100 countries, with market leading positions in: wireless, audio, video and data communications, including satellite communications; defence electronics; air-to-air refuelling; aviation services; life support and mission equipment.

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