Category Archives: ENG

Blending Cellular, Ku-band Satellite Networks Equals Reliability, Says Bogdan Frusina

Bogdan Frusina.

IP newsgathering specialist Dejero and global satellite service provider Intelsat have partnered to offer the TV industry a new service that blends Ku-band satellite and cellular network bandwidth into a one-button-push service for IP news contribution from the field.

Dejero’s CellSat seeks to overcome network congestion problems and spotty cell network coverage to provide news crews in the field with reliable bandwidth.

CellSat combines up to six cellular network connections and an Intelsat Ku-band satellite connection using Dejero’s network blending technology, which dynamically allocates bits across each path to ensure reliable, low-latency IP packet delivery.

Dejero held an embargoed press briefing yesterday. Following the briefing, TVNewsCheck conducted an interview with company founder Bogdan Frusina about CellSat.

In this interview, Frusina explains why the service is necessary, how existing Ka-band users can get on board, what Intelsat brings to the party and how the new service will add another option to relieve network congestion at big events like political conventions.

An edited transcript:

Why are you launching CellSat?

Today, broadcasters have to deal with challenges where you have congested network environments. This solution fixes that. It gives you additional capacity from a satellite network to give you additional bandwidth in a congested environment to ensure you can move video.

You are also dealing with the situation where you have no cell coverage. In that case, you would normally have to book a satellite. With our approach, at the push of a button you have that same technology without the cumbersomeness of booking satellite time.

The other part is you have to look at the operational costs. The operational cost of traditional satellite when compared to this solution is quite expensive. It’s the time and effort to lineup a shot, to make sure you have the proper booking system and you’re in the window you need to be.

As we all know, news happens fluidly, and if it’s a big story it can be very fluid when you are going to go on and off [the satellite]. Therefore you have to book a window that is very large and very inefficient. With the CellSat, solution you only pay for the gigabytes you use.

You can be on the satellite 24/7 and not pay one penny if you don’t use any bytes. So it solves quite a few issues.

Can you elaborate a little bit on the charges as relates to blending bandwidth sources?

When you create video at 5Mb/s, you’re creating it at pretty clear rate. That’s approximately 2.2 GB/hour.

When you are using a non-blended solution, you are effectively transmitting that data across both the links. So you are paying the cell providers and the satellite provider. In a blended environment, it’s one single price per Gigabyte as a blended solution.

What is the latency?

On the satellite-only system it’s about two seconds. If you are dealing with cell and satellite availability at the same time, that can drop to about 1.5 seconds.

CellSat uses a Ku-band satellite connection. What do broadcasters with Ka-band terminals face if they wish to deploy this service?

The very important thing to understand is if we are looking at current Ka solutions what happens is you purchase a certain amount of capacity from a Ka-band provider, and that capacity is available to you at all times during the shot. At the same time, you are also using cellular. So, you are actually paying for both. In our case, you are paying a blended price. You are not paying for one and the other on top of that.

If you have a Ka-band system, depending on the dish size, it is very important to have the option to have a Ku-band [antenna] option from the vendor with the same aperture –be that 1-, 1.2 -or 1.4-meters. If it does, we simply convert it by adding a BUC [block upconverter] and a feed arm to the dish as well as the modem required by the network.

How does a broadcaster control whether the satellite or cellular network is used for any given shot?

It can be done manually or automatically. It’s comes down to a matter of costs. Whenever you implement the satellite part of the combination, it’s more expensive. So, this gives the customer the option to select between a satellite-inclusive or cellular-only solution.

That is the only part the customer is doing. So at the beginning of the shot, the customer decides I am happy, I don’t want to pay anymore, or no, I want the guaranteed shot, so I am willing to pay the blended costs to ensure that the shot gets delivered.

Why did Dejero partner with Intelsat on the CellSat offering?

IntelSat is a global satellite provider. They are one of the most forward-thinking satellite providers in the world today. They tend to look at things in the reality, which is providing ubiquitous connectivity in the field.

They understand moving that connectivity towards one thing, and that’s called IP. The market is converging towards an IP network, and it’s an IP network that will run anywhere between fiber, satellite and cellular connectivity as one single connection or blended as an option.

So the blended solution between the two companies is a natural fit. Ultimately it gives flexibility to our customers in handling their applications over the network.

Will the availability of CellSat diminish the need for the hotspots at big events, such as political conventions or the Super Bowl, that are setup to allow broadcasters to overcome network congestion?

Ultimately what this does is give us the ability to add an additional hotspot and service from Intelsat. It actually will allow us to deploy these hotspots a lot quicker because just like the broadcasters who have trouble with connectivity, so do the carriers.

The carriers don’t have connectivity everywhere, and it is very hard to actually bring it in. It has to be booked months in advance.

In some cases, last minute decisions are made, making it very difficult to roll out connectivity for a particular event. We won’t stop doing the hotspots for additional availability. This will simply make it much simpler in a lot more situations.

You mentioned fiber before. Does that play into this Intel partnership on CellSat?

Yes, one cool thing with Intelsat is they have a global satellite and fiber network as well. It’s one of the largest fiber networks around on top of their satellite ability. That gives us the ability to have direct access into their nodes, and carry information, for example, across the ocean very quickly.

For instances, it’s actually pretty easy to get public internet from Verizon; however, if you are a European broadcaster, your challenge will be to backhaul content, like coverage of the U.S. elections, across the ocean via the internet because the traffic during that time will be significantly higher.

In one instance last year, one particular broadcaster in Denmark experienced a lot of dropouts during their election coverage just because they tried to use the public internet for their backhaul.

One of the benefits of Intelsat is you can actually use a private fiber network to carry the payload across the ocean to ensure the bandwidth is always available, which the public internet sometimes can’t deliver.

So, is the CellSat offering international?

It is launched as of Aug. 23 and is available to purchase from Dejero in the United States. As far as global deployment, Intelsat and Dejero are evaluating the deployment schedule and will deploy more regions through 2018 and may run into 2019 in some regions. But we are trying to focus on the 2018 for key deployment areas such as Europe.

(Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in TVNewsCheck’s series of interviews with top executives at IP newsgathering companies. Previous interviews include: “Remote Revolution: IP Transport Is Key To Reducing Production Costs, Says Paul Shen” and “LiveU Readies Support For Trump Inauguration Coverage.”

PWS Coordinates Frequencies For Soccer Tournament

PWS provided overall frequency coordination services for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) provided frequency coordination for the multi-city 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer cup in July, the company announced today.

Fourteen venues in 13 cities hosted various stages of the tournament. PWS began preparing its frequency coordination efforts about a month before the event via a website. All vendors involved used the site to identify the frequencies they planned to use.

This list of frequency usage was shared and coordinated with local SBE coordinators. All SBE-approved frequencies were submitted to the FCC for final confirmation, PWS said in a press release.

“Coordinating a single location was fairly easy, but coordinating all of the cities and parties wanting to use the spectrum was the biggest challenge for us on this project,” says Kasey Gchachu, PWS project manager.

More information is available on the PWS website.

Arco Groenenberg Joins LiveU

Arco Groenenberg.

Arco Groenenberg has joined LiveU as director of sales, central region, the company announced today.

Groenenberg has more than 20 years of sales experience, including time spent in multimedia, IT, software and cloud technologies. He joins LiveU from Dejero where he managed the company’s global sales organization and broadcast integration and technical support teams.

Based in Detroit, Groenenberg will cover 16 states in the central United States.

More information is available on the LiveU website.

IMT-Vislink Launches Tech Support Portal

IMT-Vislink this week launched a new, comprehensive technical support portal for customers worldwide.

The new portal is driven by the Freshdesk system, a cloud platform used to manage customer service and support interactions.

Using Freshdesk, IMT-Vislink support personnel will be able to respond to customer needs in a timely manner and more accurately track issues from start to finish, the compay said.

More information is available on the IMT-Vislink website.

WPEC Adds StormTracker12 Weather Vehicle

WPEC in West Palm Beach, Fla., has rolled out its new StormTracker 12 newsgathering vehicle.

WPEC CBS12, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., has rolled out StormTracker12, its latest newsgathering vehicle.

The StormTracker12 truck is outfitted with the latest radar and camera technology. It not only can provide the CBS12 News weather team with vital weather data, but also capture a closer live look at severe weather.

StormTracker12 adds to the station’s fleet of newsgathering vehicles, which the station began to build in December 2016 when it rolled out TrafficTracker12. Other vehicles in the fleet include the SkyTeam12 drone and MarineWatch12, a Jupiter 30 boat equipped with several cameras, including a 360 degree camera and an underwater unit.

Geo News Covers U.K. Elections With Quicklink Encoder

Geo News relied on the Quicklink mobile encoder to contribute live coverage of the U.K. general election to its headquarters in Karachi, Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Geo News used the Quicklink mobile encoder for its coverage of the June 8 general election in the United Kingdom, the company announced today.

The top Pakistani TV channel used the encoder to go live from London to its headquarters in Karachi, Pakistan. The field contribution from London was done with the mobile encoder via the internet, which allowed the broadcaster to sidestep the expense of satellite connectivity as well as any transmission issues that may have arisen due to the heavy rains on election day, the company said.

Geo News also used Quicklink playout servers for its election coverage.

More information is available on the Quicklink website.

‘I Shot Halley’s Comet’ Revisited

I couldn’t help but think of an experience I had at Television Broadcast magazine in the mid-1980s while writing today’s feature article on the preparations local stations are making to cover the total solar eclipse Aug. 21.

At the time, I worked for Ron Merrill, an owner of TVB publisher Globecom Publishing and editorial director of the magazine.

Ron, whom I admired quite a bit, had purchased a nice telescope — I believe a Celestron, but I don’t remember for sure — in anticipation of the arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1986.

He would frequently come to work and report on the celestial wonders he gazed at through his new telescope while waiting for Halley’s Comet to arrive.

During one of those conversations, he suggested Television Broadcast run a contest to be dubbed “I Shot Halley’s Comet.” As I recall, readers were encouraged to submit their photos and videos of the comet as it approached. In exchange, they would receive a T-shirt with “I Shot Halley’s Comet” emblazoned on the chest.

I piped up and suggested we also attempt to organize a video crew to shoot the comet and uplink it to stations around the country so they could pull it down and broadcast to their viewers.

As things turned out, however, there was one major problem with that plan. The appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1986 was a total bust. Sure, it showed up, but it was nowhere near as spectacular as it had been hyped to be.

As a result, our uplinked video didn’t appear to be much more than a few, tiny shimmering pixels — hardly airworthy.

Oh well, live and learn. That’s why I made it a point to ask about what stations are planning for a weather contingency when reporting on the total eclipse in August.

Ikegami’s Alan Keil On Shooting An Eclipse

In my Tech Thursday feature article today, “Stations Prepare For Total Solar Eclipse,” I quoted Steve Mahrer, senior technologist with Panasonic, on ensuring safe use of an ENG camera to shoot the Aug. 21 eclipse.

I also received an email reply to my questions about camera use and the eclipse from Alan Keil, VP of Ikegami Engineering. It echoes Mahrer’s thoughts and I wanted to share it with you:

Alan Keil:

Momentarily shooting the sun as a highlight (above 100% video) is OK.

Also shooting the sun with the appropriate ND and iris setting so the video level is within 100% is OK for an extended period of time. I suspect this would be the typical conditions for shooting an eclipse.

Meanwhile, shooting the sun continually as a bright highlight is not recommended. On rare occasions I have seen damage from lasers, not the sun. But I can imaginie the sun also causing damage under extreme conditions. My experience is about the same regarding CMOS compared to CCD.


Resources To Help With Eclipse Prep

My Tech Thursday feature article today, “Stations Prepare For Total Solar Eclipse,” looks at the efforts of many stations and station groups across the country to prepare for the Aug. 21 celestial event.

In the course of reporting, I came across some links to information that stations might find helpful as they finalize their coverage strategies.

If you have others that you have found helpful and wish to share them, email your links to me and I will update this blog.

Photojournalist Dave Henry and Explorer of Light Ken Sklute are teaming up to write a blog for Canon, called “A Total Guide to Totality,” which can be found at

Maps of the Path and

Everything needed for eclipse background prep, including science, safety and activities across the country can be found at:

Streaming site where NASA’s national broadcast Aug. 21 will be available along with live interactive streams and Spanish-language content. There are also media resources available from this site right now, including downloadable HD video of the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Silvus Begins Shipping 4×4 MIMO Radio

Silvus Technologies has begun shipping its new StreamCaster 4400 (SC4400), a 4×4 MIMO radio with transmit beamforming.

Introduced at the 2017 NAB Show, the SC4400, which operates in both licensed and unlicensed bands, offers “an incredible increase in range and performance,” said the company’s Jimi Henderson, VP of sales.

The radio is among the latest in a crop of alternatives to traditional wireless delivery of HD video, audio and data.

The SC4400 creates an ad hoc, self-healing/self-forming mesh network of nodes operating independently of Wi-Fi or cellular infrastructures, according to the company.

According to Henderson, transmit beamforming provides about 6 dB of extra signal strength, which means the SC4400 can deliver the equivalent of a 32W radio.

More information is available on the company’s website.