Wireless technologies expect lift from HEVC compression
Wireless and fibre transmission systems are a central component of sports broadcast productions today. In a series of recent product releases the technologies are being extended to give broadcasters better audio and video quality, with cameras now offering 1080p and wireless mics covering greater distances.
During IBC 2012 the Vislink group displayed a new Gigawave transmitter that can carry 3G SDI signals for 1080p transmissions. This is available as both a clip-on unit for any camera or integrated into the Sony HDC-2400 and 2500 as part of collaboration with the Japanese manufacturer. The system is based on H.264 Advanced Video Coding technology and provides the basis for what Vislink marketing communications manager Mark Anderson described as “the next step” in wireless camera operation: full HD at 1080p. Despite this, Anderson added that broadcasters and facilities providers were already discussing the possibility of 4k wireless being ready in time for the next Olympics in Rio. “Sports broadcasters in general want the next level of technology and we are keeping up with it, ready to make that leap ahead,” he said.
The basis for this technological move forward will be the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) compression draft standard (also known unofficially as H.265), which is being drawn up jointly by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group.
Also during IBC BSI (Broadcast Sports Inc) demonstrated a full 3D wireless camera system. This was integrated into a Panasonic 3D camera rig and featured low delay encoding and camera control. The system uses BSI’s dual stream mini encoder-transmitter and UHF controller, which enables adjustment of camera parameters as well as convergence between the left and right eye signals, ensuring that images from the 3D rig can be matched to images from other cameras used on the broadcast.
BSI also launched a new Pan Tilt Roll Zoom (PTRZ) remotely controlled wireless camera system and the Blue Steel range of radio mics, which are now being introduced into the European market. BSI’s camera technology is based on MPEG4 H.264 compression, although business development director Dave Remnant comments that people are already looking at what advantages H.265 might bring in the future, saying that “all algorithms improve as encoding chips get more efficient.”
Boxx TV, which specialises in equipment for the licence exempt 5GHz microwave band, used the Amsterdam show to showcase the Meridian Tallis iris control and tally indicator system that can be fitted to any wireless camera.
The compact unit connects through a standard 12-pin Hirose cable to the lens of the camera. Boxx TV co-founder Scott Walker explains that the system “enables you to match the brightness of the video from a wireless camera with other cameras.”
On the audio side, Sennheiser announced details of two new products that are intended to allow remote receiver aerials for wireless mics to be positioned up to 25km from their designated receiving units, which is further than was possible before. The FO-TX2-EC Fibre Optical Transmitter and FO-RX2-EC Fibre Optical Receiver are compact systems designed to be used for broadcast coverage at golf courses, tennis clubs and horse and motor racing courses.