Cobham takes on American Ninja Warrior


Cobham Tactical Communications and Surveillance, the RF specialist company, has announced the use of ten simultaneous RF video links comprising of SOLO H.264 ENG Transmitters, SOLO BTX SD Broadcast Transmitters, and PRORXB receive stations, for the upcoming seventh series of American Ninja Warrior, an action-packed series that follows competitors as they tackle a series of challenging obstacle courses, in an attempt to reach qualifying and finals rounds that take place across the United States.

Cobham’s SOLO H.264 ENG Transmitter, provided by Clair Broadcast, which caters to video and audio productions across the globe, with technology and services for broadcast television, is rugged, and for American Ninja Warriors, it needs to be. The SD/HD COFDM digital video transmitter is specifically designed for ENG applications and is equally at home at live events such as concerts, sports and entertainment productions.


This SOLO transmitter docks neatly onto all types of ENG cameras, including the Sony XD’s being used for American Ninja Warrior. Roaming camera operators with hand-held, Solo-equipped cameras closely follow each contestant as they manoeuvre through challenging obstacle courses. The transmitters are also used for on-the-fly interviews produced remotely from the MCR.

Clair Broadcast Vice President of Sales and Service, Erica Bell said, “The SOLO H.264 provides not only good reference monitoring, but a rock-solid, high quality signal to record off of due to its superior encoder processing.”

The increased compression and efficiency of the SOLO HD transmitter’s MPEG4 H.264 encoder offers additional range with the added benefits of small size, low latency and low power consumption. HD transmission is achieved at only 60 percent of the bit-rate that conventional MPEG2 systems require. The unit is also able to transmit images in a non-line of sight environment up to 1km and can achieve even further range with an optional clip-on booster.


These SOLO’s transmit images to a Cobham PRORXB receive station in the master control room, for director to treat as a live show. Video transmissions received by the PRORXB are sent to the engineering core for ISO record and line cut. The production team is also using Cobham technology to transmit four channels of wireless paint systems for video control.


Cobham’s 2RU PRORXB wireless receiver platform is a feature-rich COFDM receiver/decoder, designed to work with the next generation of H.264 wireless camera systems. Designed specifically for the demanding broadcast market, the PRORXB ensures that video is recovered free from the distortions typically associated with fading and multipath interference.

Cobham Head of Broadcast Sales, JP Delport said, “Smaller, lighter and extremely robust wireless transmission systems are having a major impact on live or as-live events. The freedom that SOLO provides to American Ninja Warrior producers is highly valuable because it gives camera operators the ability to follow the action as closely as possible and maintain an HD signal without dropping a frame, which in turn provides compelling new options for directors.”

The new season of American Ninja Warrior premiers May 25.


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.

About Clair Broadcast
Clair Broadcast, a division of Clair Global, caters to video and audio productions across the globe providing technology and services to broadcast television, concerts, sports, entertainment productions and live events.  Recent projects include the 2014 Central American & Caribbean Games (ESPN), The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (NBC), Good Morning America Summer Concert Series (ABC), and The Amazing Race (CBS), with provision for studio-configured multi-camera fly-pack systems, full RF and digital communications (including frequency coordination, remote field operations, intercom, IFB, IEM, walkie repeater systems, PL packages, and microphones), PA systems, mixers, consoles, fiber and satellite transmission, encoding and decoding, broadcast and POV cameras, and rigging.