France3 implements antenna Automatic Pointing System
Globecast is a French service provider supporting broadcast customers with equipment and capacity for news contribution. One of the company’s customers is France3, a large TV channel in France.
Nobody is as driven by the speed to deliver news and to forward that news to studios and consumers as are broadcasters. Each minute counts, and the value of the news vanishes as time goes by, unused. On the other side, personnel resources are scarce and expensive. The crews consist mainly of reporters and not specialized technicians.
ND SatCom took the challenge to simplify the handling of the SNG to a degree that a non-technical person can operate it. In the past, the satellite transmission equipment was handled by experts, and an important part of this is the correct and reliable pointing of the antenna. Now, a France3 reporter can push one button and the system will automatically point the antenna to the satellite, all within a few minutes. Time-to-air is faster. The SNG link logs automatically into a management network, and the reporter is ready to transmit.
Globecast and the France3 reporters are pleased about this ease of use. Globecast saves significant operational costs, especially because the system needs no pilot signal, which saves on satellite costs every month.
A particular problem was the satellite operator’s demand for high pointing accuracy to avoid interference with other services. Polarization angle was also critical. Globecast demanded that the system not only calculate this angle, but contain an automatic process for its optimization. The presence of other strong signals on the satellite was a severe problem that was solved by a further improvement of the algorithm.
ND SatCom markets the system worldwide. So the approach to use “known” reference satellites was not acceptable, because it constrains the automatic use. The pointing system needs only the position of the target satellite and can work everywhere. In fact, it uses the network’s internal data to determine that it has reached the correct satellite and the correct network. The automatic pointing creates no overhead and creates no interference. Immediately, when the France3 reporter gets confirmation that the “antenna is pointed,” the system is allowed to begin transmission, without further network management or user involvement required.
The solution is a true automatic antenna pointing system for SkyWAN media networks. Globecast and France3 users appreciate the ease of the process, even for non-expert users. Users also benefit from the saving on investment and recurring costs. As a side effect, the reporters enjoy office communication via the network, which acts like an Internet or Intranet.