DistributionFibreHDRIPOutside Broadcast (OB)

NEP UK adds two IP-based OB trucks to rejuvenate old fleet

SMPTE ST 2110-compliant Venus and Ceres mark NEP’s new direction for OB vehicles

With the need to replace two of its older outside broadcast (OB) vehicles, NEP UK has invested and unveiled two new IP-based OB trucks — Venus and Ceres. Dubbed the “world’s first” SMPTE ST 2110-compliant OB trucks, both Venus and Ceres will be deployed at major events, sports fixtures and other large-scale productions.

The introduction of Venus and Ceres, according to NEP, has enabled the company to create a new industry benchmark for OB platform topology, as Arista switches provide ample data throughput and data linking capacity to realise NEP’s ‘single virtual truck concept’.

The SMPTE ST 2110 system infrastructure installed in both vehicles is identical. Each system is built around Grass Valley IQ UCP 25GbE gateway cards, which is able to provide two-way links between IP-based equipment and the existing baseband technology that is still needed to support operators using SDI feeds. The trucks also offer dual-level 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) and HD-SDI simultaneously.

Venus and Ceres are also equipped with Phabrix’s high dynamic range (HDR) and IP-enabled test and measurement solutions. This includes three Qx 12G signal generation, analysis and monitoring solutions to accommodate operators, regardless if they are utilising SDI or IP feeds. NEP also invested in four Rx2000 units, with each Rx providing up to four channels of 2K/3G/HD/SD-SDI video and audio analysis and monitoring.

Other equipment installed in each vehicle includes Grass Valley’s Kayenne video production centres and Kahuna vision mixers, Calrec sound desks, Telex talkback systems, Arista 7504 IP switches, and Axon Cerebrum control systems.

NEP pointed out that the major differentiator for these vehicles is the reduction in cabling, as the system requires less fibre-optic cable compared to coaxial cable previously required. Because the new equipment requires greater cooling, the truck design also incorporates the ability to provide air-conditioning, with all equipment able to be cooled separately in operational areas.

Rob Newton, engineering and technical director, NEP UK, added: “This is the first time we’ve been able to effectively make our trucks larger — the only limit is the number of ports available on the switch.

“We can put the truck in any location and connect multiple IP systems, be they our flypacks, our trucks or our media hubs, creating fully scalable and large broadcast system.”


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