In an area of the market as competitive as live sports and newsgathering, there is increased pressure to deliver high-quality video in the most cost-efficient manner available. As industry and consumer demand evolves, Arqiva's DSNG vans need to deliver the pictures wherever and whenever a story breaks, and to cover both regular news as well as HD (and possibly 3-D) sporting events.
To upgrade its fleet of vehicles, Arqiva required equipment that was both versatile in format support and efficient in bandwidth usage. There were several challenges to be considered: The same equipment needed to be used for SD news, full HD coverage or a 3-D sports event. Moreover, it had to support a multitude of possible delivery networks. As there is no way of predicting where the news will break next, in the past fleets have relied on satellite for coverage. However, today's growing ubiquity of fiber availability, and the growing capacity of cellular networks, offer viable alternatives in certain situations.
In order to remain leaders in the changing world of live broadcast, Arqiva equipped its entire DSNG fleet with the Ericsson Voyager II DSNG platform, which provided Arqiva the ability to broadcast from any location using the power of a MPEG-4 AVC 4:2:2 encoder with 10-bit precision specifically designed for the high-quality requirements of live-event television.
Flexibility — both in codec and connectivity type — is more essential now than ever before. The upgraded Arqiva DSNG fleet supports multiple encoding algorithms, including MPEG-4 AVC 4:2:0 and potentially MPEG-2 video, in order to provide the highest level of interoperability possible. Recognizing that the proliferation of fiber networks often provides a viable alternative to satellite, the installation has been designed to natively support IP outputs.
The IP support extends beyond the fiber availability to broadband Internet and cellular network links, which may be the only option in certain locations. To ensure that the fleet continues to offer the most valuable benefits in news and sports broadcasting in the future, it is now able to broadcast in 3-D through a mixture of licenses and software upgrades on the hardware available today.
Voyager II represents the new generation of DSNG encoding and modulation platforms. It is modular in function, ready for all modes needed, and interoperability is ensured with the huge installed base of Ericsson professional receivers. The platform marks an advance in the compression industry and offers a transition from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 encoding. It also represents the latest success in the long-standing relationship between Arqiva and Ericsson. The two companies have been working together closely to ensure that the DSNG fleet engineers are ready to deliver the next-generation of television using this new platform.
The first big test for the newly equipped vans came with the broadcasting of the royal wedding in England — one of the biggest global television events of the year. Arqiva was able to transmit all of the day's events around the world reliably in HD and deliver the television experience that both broadcasters and their consumers demanded.