Casey Jordan, Staff Digital Engineer, KXLY-TV /
03.05.2014 04:00 PM
Comrex Simplifies KXLY-TV Newsfeeds

The Comrex LiveShot Portable and Rack transmission system units

SPOKANE, WASH.—KXLY-TV serves the Spokane market, including the greater Inland Northwest, and our news coverage is an important part of this service. Like all television news operations, we’re constantly striving to lower capital costs and develop more efficient workflows and found Comrex’s LiveShot Portable and Rack product to be a big help in this area.

We’ve been using LiveShot technology for more than a year now in our news operations and our system has traveled throughout Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and other locations; most recently it journeyed to New Jersey for Super Bowl XVIII event coverage.

NEWS FEEDS WITHOUT SATELLITES
The LiveShot has even let us sideline our satellite truck in some instances as it doesn’t require an operator with special driving credentials or satellite uplink training and lets us bring back audio and video from locales where connectivity was formerly unobtainable.

The LiveShot’s cellular 3G/4G, wireless LAN/WAN and Ethernet portable cameraback device features dual USB ports that permit multiple IP connections and load balancing for higher bandwidth operation. Connections are available for inputs from HDMI, HD/SD SDI, as well as composite video sources. Audio can either be digitally embedded in an SDI stream or fed through an XLR connector.

At the studio end, the LiveShot Rack reproduces decoded video, allowing us to take it via HDMI, HD/SD SDI, and composite outputs. Audio can be delivered embedded or via analog XLR output ports. The system’s codec provides full two-way connectivity, allowing our crews to send video and audio to the studio while at the same time receiving IFB and video/audio confidence feeds.

In everyday operation the system is nearly completely hands-off. The Portable unit includes basic controls and indicators for power, A/V presence, and signal transmission. Once it’s powered, it handshakes with the studio unit and creates an IP “tunnel.” Operators simply press one of two encoding profiles to begin feeding their live signal. Field crews can also use smart phones or wireless LAN-enabled laptops to connect to an ad hoc Wi-Fi hotspot generated by the Portable. If desired, settings can be changed from a web-based interface once connection to the hotspot is established.

We’ve found that utilizing two modems from different cellular carriers provides the best results in fringe area news coverage, as our operators have learned that one cellular carrier can sometimes supply more bandwidth than another. Removing the under-performing modem often cleans up errors. Encoding delay times are adjustable through the software interface and by adding additional delay operators can sometimes improve decoding performance at the receiver.

LiveShot support from Comrex has been very proactive and the company is very responsive to our needs. Firmware releases are continuous, combining new features while improving existing functions. Systems updates amount to a simple and easy point and click process to load the new firmware.

Casey Jordan has served as staff digital engineer for eight years with the KXLY broadcast group, a Morgan Murphy Media Company. He may be contacted at caseyj@kxly.com.

For additional information, contact Comrex at 800-237-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.



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