For its live reporting from various locations around the world, the Italian 24/7 news channel TGCOM24 relies on compact mobile studios from its broadcast service provider, EI Towers. The TOTEM studios, which are designed as flight case solutions, make it possible for the station, which is part of the Mediaset corporation, to directly integrate its foreign correspondents into the news programme with a low degree of technical and administrative effort.
Simple commissioning and operation, reliability and a high degree of mobility with minimal space requirements were the most important aspects for the technical broadcast service provider EI Towers while developing the TOTEMs for TGCOM24. Today, journalists and correspondents of the news station from New York, London, Brussels, Jerusalem and Rome can initiate interviews and live connections single-handedly and without prior technical knowledge.
The compact TV studios, which are integrated into flight cases by the Italian systems integrator PSE, are designed in such a way that they can be put in operating mode at the touch of a button. Fully equipped with a robotic camera, microphone, lighting panel and displays, knowledge about camera and audio technology, light control and signal transfers is not necessary. The whole technology is pre-configured with various pre-sets for live use and can also be externally administrated by remote access if needed. As a result, the journalist can concentrate solely on the interview with the news studio and does not require any further technical infrastructure or technical personnel as support. This opens up an extensive and independent field of use, for example in normal offices, publishing houses or directly at the site where the actions takes place.
As is usual with live and on-air technology, a high accessibility and reliability is required for the TOTEMs signal broadcasting. For stable transmission of signals, solid hardware encoders from Teracue are used in the systems. The video signals are compressed by ENC-200 H.264 encoders and streamed by EI Towers via the internet into the Milan master control room. Here, the live streams of all global TOTEMs are collected, decompressed by Teracue H.264 decoders in real-time and can then be used for further distribution, for example as live feeds and live ingest into the studio programme. An additional encoder/decoder set is used in the reverse set-up to transmit images of the news presented from the main studio to the TOTEM. However, Teracue components do not only deliver failure-free live streaming of moving images. The encoders and decoders additionally provide the integrated Teracue TALKBACK audio-conferencing function, enabling the interview questions to be transmitted from the studio presenter to the on-site correspondent. The Teracue H.264 Encoder and Decoder products have been supplied by Network Electronics Italia.
Since the first live usage about 12 months ago, the field of use of the TOTEMs at TGCOM24 has been continuously expanded. In this way, the news station has come not only to value the advantages of the system in permanent use as compact TV studios based in the metropolises. Nowadays, it also uses it throughout the entire world for temporary live transmissions of current events, for example during the Olympics in London or for the coverage of the US 2012 elections.