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The new world of live acquisition by Ronen Artman, VP of Marketing, LiveU W hile the debate rages over the future of broadcast television with discussion of OTT (OTT – over-the-top delivery – think iPlayer on Virgin Media as a key example – or LoveFilm. It means a content service – on-demand content service – that is delivered over the top of another network) and time-shifting increasingly hogging the limelight, there’s one arena in which the power of broadcast indisputably holds sway and will do for many years to come: high quality live coverage. With major events - be that the UEFA Champions League Final, the US presidential election campaign or the UK riots - live coverage brings events to life for viewers. The forthcoming Olympics will doubtless be a prime example and will see a world of innovation bring viewers ever-closer to the action. With sport the multichannel boom has seen the range and popularity of coverage grow at a rapid rate. It has meant that broadcasters (and venues) must drive towards a high-quality viewing experience in order to succeed in a competitive environment while also dealing with some harsh economic realities. We’re not only talking about broadcast coverage of the game itself, what we’ve also seen – and football is a prime example – is the rise in live in-stadium coverage of games, which means a high level of both equipment and expertise. Last year’s Rugby World Cup also highlighted the popularity of games being beamed live to home stadia for those fans that couldn’t make the trip to New Zealand. Then there’s the emergence of in-house football channels – MUTV and Chelsea TV being prime examples – that are carried around the world and the growing interest in pre- and post-game activities, such as press conferences and interviews with the players. This diversity of coverage is placing big demands 54 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE on both broadcasters and venues using traditional uplinking methods. broadcast centre, or directly to an online video player for live streaming. Accompanying this is marked growth in news coverage: a quick scan of the multichannel universe reveals the volume of content required to feed these highly competitive news channels. Being first on-air with breaking news is vital in the race for viewers. What complicates matters in both examples is the constant pressure to save on both capital and operational expenditure while maintaining quality of output. Let’s take a key example from last year. The riots across the UK were brought to a wide audience via some extraordinary content from Sky-carried Sangat TV – whose live coverage and community outreach efforts were described as “jaw-dropping” by the Guardian newspaper at the time. The solution is provided by the growing connectivity of terrestrial wireless networks, including 3G, 4G LTE, WiMAX, and Wi-Fi, which can provide an increasingly resilient, comprehensive and cost-effective alternative to streaming SD and HD video via traditional satellite and fibre. LiveU’s cellular uplinking technology is lightweight and highly portable, with the ability to be housed in one backpack with minimal time required for set- up and go. The bonded technology provides enough power to transmit up to 1080p HD signals using H.264 encoding – in the vast majority of cases this is using 3G networks. The device can robustly transmit video to a main hub, such as a studio or Sangat TV, launched on Sept 1 2010, a free-to-air channel on Sky channel 847, is the first project from the Sangat Trust, a charitable organisation promoting positive values and ethics. Normally a Sikh-based religious channel with lifestyle programming, the station found itself operating as a key news outlet at the forefront of live coverage of the riots. The riots coverage came courtesy of an earlier decision to lease two LU60 units from LiveU via its local UK distributor, Garland Partners. In these fast-moving, volatile situations, LiveU’s flagship LU60 product cost-effectively provided Sangat TV with the ability to deploy camera operators quickly and with a mobility that satellite trucks simply could not match. With cameras hooked into a video-over-cellular uplink unit, all carried by the camera operators in a backpack, images were able >>