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KTLA Taps Telairity for MPEG-4 ENG

KTLA-TV in Los Angeles has successfully completed switching over its helicopter news transmissions to high-definition MPEG-4 using the Telairity BC8100 H.264/AVC HD encoder. KTLA broadcasts over eight hours of live studio and field news each day, and virtually all in HD. It turned to Telairity to design a new MPEG-4 HD encoder, a natural extension of Telairity’s BH8100 HD MPEG-4 encoders, which are used in the station's fleet of 10 live ENG ground vehicles.

Based on the same low-latency H.264/AVC encoding technology used in its other encoders, the BC8100 encoder is designed to support live transmissions from airborne news units. It eliminates fade-out problems, allowing studio decoders to quickly lock on to its signals.

Mounted aboard Sky5 HD, the station's flagship news helicopter, the BC8100 encoder helped KTLA switch its compression technology from the older, more data-intensive MPEG-2 to the more efficient MPEG-4 format. The Telairity encoder is designed for aerial news vehicles, including both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The transition of Sky5 HD from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 compression technology was triggered by the broadcast industry's permanent switchover from analog to digital technology. A side effect of this change is the squeezing of the available bandwidth for BAS, used to transmit from the field to the studio or to a remote transmission site, from 18 Mbps and higher to 12 Mbps and lower. With older MPEG-2 compression technology, acceptable HD video quality cannot be achieved with the reduced digital bandwidth.

"KTLA has been with us every step of the way in the development of this airborne encoding system," said Howard Sachs, CEO of Telairity. "We thank the engineering staff for its support and look forward to the station's inclusion of our encoders as part of its everyday HD broadcast equipment package."