2016 NAB Product Review: Cable, Fiber & Connectors
Products for 4K video were all over the halls of the NAB Show, but perhaps the most challenging category for 4K is cable and fiber. Uncompressed 60 fps 4K demands 12 Gbps of data, which is difficult to pack onto a copper cable for more than a few feet. Despite the technical demands, solutions for 4K transport are rapidly appearing.
Artel Video Systems featured its Fiberlink 3514 series fiber modems that support four channels of simultaneous 3G-SDI on a single fiber, and transmit them over one fiber. When using all four inputs, Fiberlink 3514 supports 4K/UHD resolutions at 60 fps and the unit is capable of transmitting two 4K/UHD signals at 30 fps simultaneously. The company also relaunched its website that integrates its DigiLink and FiberLink sites, debuted a new logo and introduced Artel Care, a multi-tiered services program including technical support, hardware and software coverage, and other service and support options.
Bluebell Opticom introduced the BCX- 760 Series 10 Gigabit Ethernet point-to-point fiber link, a camera-back interface that allows signal transport between a camera and an OB truck or a base station. The company says the system is the first camera-back system to use 10 GigE for uncompressed 3G-SDI, RS232/422/485, Ethernet and genlock in both directions. Bluebell also debuted the TDM-750 HD-SDI module with Ethernet fibre interface, a rack-mounted module for single-direction transport of HD-SDI and 100BaseT Ethernet signals.
DAWNco showed its SATfiber solution that allows the location of a satellite dish at considerable distance from where the signals are needed. With the company’s Box-Mount TX and Rack-Mount RX products, the fiber transmit module is mounted at the dish and the receive end can be up to 50 miles away.
Joseph Electronics DFT-TOTE V32Grass Valley featured its line of remote camera connection systems, including the CopperHead 3404 fiber transceiver. The CopperHead 3404 takes video from a dual/quad-link 4K camera and delivers it to a studio or production truck, providing all the signals needed for multicamera 4K production using a single tactical or SMPTE hybrid/fiber cable.
Joseph Electronics introduced the JFS Waveshifter-4, which can transport up to four HD camera systems on just one single-mode fiber. Also new is the DFT-TOTE V32, which provides convenient and compact transport of up to 32 3G/HD/SD-SDI signals on as few as two fibers. The DFT-TOTE E12 is a GigE version of the DFT-TOTE.
Lemo introduced the HD Z-Link fiber system, which provides multichannel video and audio connections and control for studio cameras and camcorders over a single hybrid cable using Lemo’s 3K.93C connectors.
LynxTechnik showed its Yellowbrik 4K fiber transmission system, which supports four independent 3G-SDI links over a single fiber that can be combined into an uncompressed 12G 4K signal. These small transmit and receive modules can be used to send video/audio up to 12 miles.
Multidyne BullDog field fiber transport systemMultidyne debuted its BullDog field fiber transport system, a rugged and portable system that provides multiple video audio links over fiber. The expandable chassis makes it easy to scale up or down for specific applications. Also new was the SilverBULLET 3G Compact Signal Transmitter/Receiver for sending SD, HD and 3G-SDI video signals, as well as embedded audio signals, over one single mode fiber cable. Multidyne also demonstrated a fiber-based camera module that connects directly to the back of JVC’s GY-HM890 camcorder and supports 3G-SDI 1080p/60 camera feeds and returns, and takes advantage of the camera’s built-in streaming engine for video-over-IP functionality.
Apantac debuted the KVM-1-RH-LAN IP-based KVM extender/receiver set, targeted at applications where multiple local computers need to be accessed from several remote locations. This new KVM solution can extend HDMI video up to 1,920 x 1,200/1,080p, and also includes connections for USB 2.0/1.1, RS-232, bidirectional audio, and bidirectional IR on a single cable, over a Gigabit Ethernet IP network.
Studio Technologies spotlighted the model 5205 mic/line-to-Dante interface that allows two microphone- or line-level signals to interface with systems that use Dante networking technology.
Barnfind introduced the BarnMini-5, which provides a compact way to combine an RS422/485 4 x GPI and 4 x GPO, controllable via an Ethernet port. Also new is the optical changeover switch BarnMini-06, and the BarnMini-11 and BarnMini-12, both with support up to 12G. The company also launched the HiLo SFP system for 26-channel CWDM.
AVP featured its Maxxum bulkhead panels, which can be fitted up with a range of connectors in a variety of shades for easy color coding. Maxxum panels are available in 1-, 1.5-, 2- and 3RU sizes, and there are options for strain relief behind the panels.
Bittree rolled out a limited edition of its 969A series front programmable TT (bantam) audio patchbay. Celebrating the 15-year anniversary of its patent on this product, Bittree made 150 of the panels with a special paint and numbering scheme.
Canare showed the new 4K-DIN coax connector that contains four high-bandwidth fittings in one small housing. This allows you to connect or disconnect four 3G-SDI signals in one easy step, making it easy to deal with uncompressed 4K video feeds.
Julie Carlson shows the business end of a Lemo 3K.93C SMPTE cable connector.Fischer Connectors launched a single fiber connector within its FiberOptic series, aimed at the need for higher data transmission rates over long distances, while maintaining small, rugged connectors. The FO1 connector is available either in pre-configured reels or integrated into custom assemblies for a variety of applications.
Lemo showed its 3K.93C connector used to terminate SMPTE 311M hybrid cables. The rugged connector is rated for severe use, yet connects and disconnects easily.
Nemal introduced a system for adapting Neutrik OpticalCon Duo, Quad and SMPTE connectors to ST, SC, LC and Lemo fiber optic and hybrid connectors. The adapters are available in a range of configurations that include fiber and electrical (SMPTE), or fiber only.
Mini-BNC connectors at the Sam Woo Electronics boothNeutrik unveiled its rearTwist UHD-BNC connector, specifically for high frequencies for 4K and 8K. The company has several versions of the connector fitting a wide range of available cables, including those from Clark Wire, Belden, CommScope and Gepco.
QPC debuted QSeal, an IP67-sealed, push-pull style fiber-optic connector that can accommodate either two or four channels. QPC’s product features all-metal construction and optional protective rubber grips for added protection.
SamWoo Electronics showed a range of connectors, including the SMA mini-BNC that is good to frequencies as high as 18 GHz. Conforming to applicable mil-spec requirements, the SMA mini-BNC is available in different metals and can be gold plated.
Belden showed its new 10GXS Cat-6a data cable, with a significantly smaller diameter and an absorptive layer to counter crosstalk from both inside and outside the cable. With its smaller diameter as compared to typical Cat-5e cable, 10GXS has a smaller bend radius but maintains the ability to deliver 100 Watts of power for power-over-IP applications.
Clark Wire & Cable featured its RCC2V2A1C6HDE “snake” cable that contains two RG-6 coax, audio pairs and a Cat-6 data cable in the same jacket. Clark also highlighted its HFC series of SMPTE 311M hybrid-fiber camera cables, with versions for portable, permanent and direct-burial applications.
Sommer Cable debuted its HQ-HDMI cables (with connectors), rated to 18 Gbps for uncompressed UHD signals, including 4,096 x 2,160 pixels. The cables also support bidirectional audio and 100 Mbps Ethernet.
Technologies debuted the Neutrik Xirium Pro digital wireless audio solution that delivers high-quality audio with no compression and low latency via Neutrik’s proprietary DiWA (Digital Wireless Audio) technology. It uses 24-bit/48 kHz sampling on the 5 GHz spectrum, and repeaters are available to extend the distance beyond the basic system’s 1,000 meters.
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Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."