Optical switch specialist Calient Technologies, Inc. is working with remote broadcast production company CP Communications of Elmsford, NY, to develop a new fiber-optic network supporting 4,000-pixel (4K) resolution ultra-high-definition (UHD) television for its next-generation live sports and event broadcast production trucks.
CP Communications provides digital products and services to support audio and video communications, including delivering comprehensive fiber-optic equipment and engineering services. The remote broadcast production industry is moving to fiber-optic cables for cameras and other systems in part to provide the bandwidth necessary for 4K UHD television broadcasts.
The company selected Calient's S320 optical circuit switches for its HD21 project, a 53-foot long transmission and master control truck to be used at major sporting events. CP Communications recently won contracts to provide services for major golf events broadcast by FOX Sports and NBC/Universal’s Golf Channel. In the coming year, the company will cover more than 100 golf events in addition to hundreds of other events.
The S320 is a 320-port optical circuit switch used to create an all-optical network fabric with total throughput of more than 32 Tbps (see "Calient debuts high-density photonic switch for data centers"). The switch allows any-to-any, layer one network connections with almost no latency and can be reconfigured on demand under software control, Calient asserts. Each switch port is transparent to bit rate and can support data speeds to 100 Gbps and beyond.
Once installed in the HD21, the S320s will provide a high-bandwidth interconnect for all transmission and master control functions. This means interconnecting equipment on up to 30 production trucks providing specialized broadcast services (such as graphics, audio, video, replay, etc.) and camera equipment on every green. For larger events, such as the U.S. Open, the broadcast production network will need up to 100 miles of fiber-optic cable.
In addition to basic connectivity between cameras and truck, the S320 provides specific production capabilities such as dynamic connectivity between cameras and camera control units. Each camera is connected back to a camera control unit (CCU) in the video truck; however there are typically many more cameras than CCUs. So, instead, each camera is connected to a port on the S320 and then switched to an available CCU when in use. This allows the production company to allocate CCUs to the appropriate cameras based on the activities taking place on the golf course.
"Calient's technology really advances the state of the market for broadcast production networks due to its high-density, software control and flexible protocol support," said Kurt Heitmann, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CP Communications. "The HD21 is our flagship transmission and control truck and it was an obvious decision to add the S320."
This is Calient's second announced win in the broadcast industry, following use of the S320 by MLB Network (see "Calient fiber-optic switch scores with MLB Network").
For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.