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As MTVG Preps Latest Unit, IP Enables New Level of Flexibility

DENVER—Mobile TV Group plans to roll out 47 FLEX, its third SMPTE ST 2110-based mobile unit, before the end of March, an introduction that comes on the heels of the last year’s launch of IP-based units 45 FLEX and 46 FLEX.

The infrastructures of the new dual-trailer units currently in service are based on the Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame IP switcher, Evertz 384-port EXE2.0 IP router and an Evertz Magnum control system. The units deliver 1080p production capacity that would at least require a 3000x3000 baseband router.

Both are dual-trailer outfits with 53-foot trailers. Unit A of each expands to 16 feet, 6 inches in width, while the VMU-B unit trailers are 8 feet, 6 inches wide.

For audio, the new units rely on Artemis digital broadcast consoles from Calrec with support for audio-over-IP. To integrate Calrec’s audio solution into the IP infrastructure of the units, Mobile TV Group is using the company’s audio-over-IP I/O unit, which provides a Hydra2 AoIP interface for up to 512x512 channels using AES67 or Ravenna. That is connected directly to the Evertz router.

“Taking the units’ infrastructures into consideration, that’s amazing for ease of connectivity and use. Of course, it also helps on weight, which is a big issue on these trailers,” said Peter Wehner, Mobile TV Group director of engineering.

DUAL-FEED

Mobile TV Group currently has 41 mobile units, each with a crew of about 50 engineers, traversing the United States to cover sport and entertainment events. Fifteen of those rigs are dual-trailer setups consisting of Unit A and VMU-Unit B. The approach enables the company to employ its dual-feed production strategy that provides for both home and visiting teams to operate from two spaces with shared technical resources.

Over its 25 years in business, which the company marked in 2019, Mobile TV Group has achieved several firsts, including the first HD mobile units in North America, the first ground-up 4K UHD mobile unit and the first HDR broadcast in America, the company says.

However, the emphasis on enabling such firsts hasn’t impeded the familiarity engineered into the designs of its units. For instance, Mobile TV Group relies on industry standard tools to create an environment for clients that is comfortable and easy to use. “Our clients will hire freelance operators who may or may not have seen our mobile units before,” he says. “Being able to come in and get working straightaway is incredibly important.”

A case in point is Mobile TV Group’s use of Calrec audio consoles and technology. Seventeen of the last 18 mobile units the company has designed and built have been equipped with Calrec Artemis audio consoles, Bluefin 2 processing and integrated Hydra2 routing. While fader counts vary between 48 and 64, the consoles all have the Artemis Beam package, which offers 340 channel processing paths.

As the company’s unit designs transition from baseband to IP, clients have come to appreciate a new level of flexibility that will enable an “everything, everywhere future,” says Wehner.

“Every feed can be available everywhere,” he says. “That in turn has now become an expectation for clients who understandably don’t want any restrictions.” Before the dawn of this new age, there were restrictions on how many audio channels could be sent between units.

“Now those restrictions are going away thanks to the latest audio technologies like those provided by Calrec,” he says.

More information is available on the Calrec website