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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Jul 28

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7/28/2008 5:02 PM  RssIcon

New Features and Added Connectivity Highlighted in Wireless System

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS—Clear-Com® Communication Systems, a The Vitec Group brand, is taking another step in the evolution of its unique FreeSpeak digital wireless beltpack system with the newly enhanced FreeSpeak® (formerly FreeSpeak10) Version 2.0. The popular wireless intercommunication system will be featured at this year’s IBC 2008, (Booth C40a). The new version brings enhanced beltpack capacity, Interrupted Feedback (IFB) functionality and improved group operations between beltpacks, party-lines and other external inputs.

Supporting Clear-Com’s® strategy of providing ubiquitous communication, FreeSpeak is a digital wireless intercom system based on a cellular architecture that offers license free communication and can allow up to 20 beltpacks to roam seamlessly between remote active antennas.

“In today’s busy broadcast environment, production staff are expected to support multiple job functions, creating an increased need for wireless connectivity,” says Stephen Sandford, Clear-Com® FreeSpeak Product Manager. “In Version 2.0, we have doubled the number of beltpacks that a basestation can support, giving more users the freedom to communicate while on the move and improving the crew’s flexibility and efficiency.”

Additional new features available in FreeSpeak Version 2.0 include three configurable IFBs, allowing the user to assign IFB keys to any number of beltpacks. The beltpacks can then be programmed to act as IFB talent receivers or as the originator of the interrupts.

“This integrated IFB capability gives the user the ability to listen to audio feeds while allowing other users to interrupt that audio feed at any point,” Sandford says. “For example, a director using a beltpack has the ability to interrupt the broadcast feed to the deliver instructions to a camera operator listening to the broadcast via an IFB key. This provides true standalone IFB system functionality with program source feeds and beltpack interrupts mixed and routed to beltpacks acting as wireless IFB receivers. The user also has the option of working in conjunction with other IFB systems where the interrupts are generated from the FreeSpeak beltpack keys.”

Other new components include the Wireless Party-line groups. This feature allows the user to seamlessly mix Party-line users, external inputs and beltpack users in the same group without

The new FreeSpeak system is centered on a highly programmable 1RU basestation from which an operator can manage and oversee all communications for up to 20 digital wireless beltpacks. The system can be controlled from both the bright front-panel display on the basestation or remotely via an Ethernet connected PC that runs the configuration software.

The basestation links wirelessly to the beltpacks by the remote active antennae that enables users to roam freely throughout the broadcast facility while maintaining consistent communication without loss of signal. All transmission takes place in the license-free 1.8 - 1.9 GHz frequency band, which helps eliminate interference with other wireless products such as PCs, talent microphones, IFB and in-ear monitors.

Another key benefit of the system is that each wireless beltpack and wired intercom connection on the rear of the basestation has its own full-duplex port. The voice communication from each port is sampled, mixed and re-routed throughout the system as desired. As each wireless beltpack has its own timeslot, it can be individually addressed by the basestation, allowing multiple combinations of beltpack-to-beltpack and small-group conversations to be held simultaneously.

Note: FreeSpeak® and CellCom® are different brands representing the same digital wireless intercom system (with minor technical differences). Due to trademark limitations, CellCom and CellCom Integra (formerly CellCom50) are only available the USA and Canada; and FreeSpeak and FreeSpeak Integra (formerly FreeSpeak50)are available in all countries other than the USA and Canada.

ABOUT CLEAR-COM

Clear-Com®, a brand of The Vitec Group plc, is the global leader of professional communication solutions for broadcast, live performance, military, government and commercial markets. For more than 40 years, Clear-Com’s signature products such as Encore Party-line, Eclipse Digital Matrix, CellCom®/FreeSpeak® Wireless and IP Communications systems have revolutionised broadcast stations, production trucks, houses of worship and performance venues. Recognising Clear-Com for its history of intercom innovation, production teams around the world achieve ubiquitous communication with products to promote easy interoperability and global connectivity. More information can be found at www.clearcom.com.

ABOUT THE VITEC GROUP

The Vitec Group plc is acknowledged as a global leader in the supply of equipment and services to the broadcasting, entertainment and photographic industries and has established a reputation for technical excellence and superior engineering along with an astute business strategy which has seen it grow by acquisition. Innovation is a cornerstone of the Group’s activities and the organisation is committed to a policy of continuous product development. With revenues (2007) of £274m and over 2200 employees world-wide, its products are distributed in almost 100 countries, through a strong, fully-resourced distribution network or direct to the end user or corporate customer. More information can be found at www.vitecgroup.com.

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