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Gray Television Group deploys hybrid mobile satellite, 3G IP newsgathering system

Gray Television Group has selected On Call Communications for a collaboration combining mobile satellite systems and 3G video encoders to create a flexible, simple-to-use news gathering package for 20 Gray TV-owned news channels.

Gray Television Group has purchased 20 QuickSPOT automated satellite news gathering systems from On Call Communications. Gray wanted a compact, easy-to-use system that would let its stations broadcast live news stories from any location, including those areas without microwave or cellular service, and take advantage of their existing 3G video encoders.

Gray selected On Call's QuickSPOT automated IP satellite system to provide a primary data connection for in-the-field newsgathering because of the reliable, dedicated satellite bandwidth, fast setup and On Call's willingness to work with a new type of video encoder.

On Call and Gray Television collaborated on a new concept, combining the existing portable 3G backpack video encoders in use by the station group with the QuickSPOT broadcast satellite system. The result is an affordable, simple to use and flexible news gathering package that takes advantage of both cellular and satellite services, allowing them to deliver live news from virtually anywhere.

"The QuickSPOT system gives our team the same flexibility and anytime access to bandwidth that we're accustomed to with cellular service; it's available instantly, any time and without any scheduling, " says Jim Ocon, VP of Technology for the Gray Television Group. "Over the next year, we plan to outfit all 36 of our stations with these units. Our test unit was an outstanding success during the recent Colorado Springs fires, letting us cover the fires live in locations where other stations don't have live coverage capabilities."

Satellite and 3G package sets up simply in the field. A news crew doesn't have to change video encoders to switch from to another type of transmission. The system leverages assets that many stations already have and expands the coverage range of that device. It lets stations lower their capital expenditures for new equipment and get increased ROI on their existing investments.