NAB 2024: Open Broadcast Systems to launch 5G bonding solution

Open Broadcast Systems is set to unveil the OBE 5G Flyaway at NAB. Built in collaboration with Zixi, the 5G bonding solution lets sports broadcasters reach fibre and satellite picture quality over cellular networks and deliver them as standard constant bitrate MPEG transport streams.

When paired with the OBE C-100/C-200 encoders, the Flyaway can be used to deliver high-quality feeds the way sports broadcasters expect with 10-bit 4:2:2 video, numerous audio tracks, exactly the same way they do over fibre and satellite. These feeds can then be delivered to existing IRDs via protocols such as Zixi and SRT without the need for vendor-specific equipment. In addition, satellite systems such as Starlink and OneWeb can be used to aid connectivity in remote regions.

The external weatherproof 5G directional routers can be placed up to 100m (300ft) away. This delivers connectivity for those sports broadcasters based in areas of poor connectivity, such as underneath a stadium, as well as allowing the use of distant cell towers, keeping traffic separate from spectators. This is all achieved using a single Ethernet cable, meaning existing cabling can be repurposed without any reduction in signal quality.

Kieran Kunhya, CEO, Open Broadcast Systems, commented: “The OBE 5G Flyaway is the result of years of work with several sports broadcasters building a 5G bonding solution around their needs and understanding the practical problems sports broadcasters face with existing newsgathering-focused solutions. It is already in use for weekly sports transmissions as a replacement to satellite and fibre.”

In addition, the 5G Flyaway can be used as a failover backup mechanism for linear channel delivery with critical features such as closed captions, SCTE-35 and Teletext all available as normal. In areas where diverse fibre connections are difficult to obtain, the OBE 5G Flyaway provides a cost-effective alternative to satellite, reducing channel downtime.

The OBE 5G Flyaway is available in a small form factor that can fit in an aircraft cabin. It is available with a global data plan, avoiding the need to swap SIM cards and providing an affordable pay as you go data plan.

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