News Production & Post

4G used in live sports for first time

26 May 2010
4G used in live sports for first time

Alcatel-Lucent Germany has, with the help of Teracue IPTV encoders/decoders, pioneered the use of a 4G LTE network in a pilot project for live mobile sports broadcasting.

This year’s 13th Match Race Germany sailing championships took place from 19th to 24th May 2010 in Langenargen, near Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. The competition in Langenargen is the only German Grand Prix on the World Match Racing Tour. Match Racing is similar to the America’s Cup, where two teams sail with two identical boats in a battle against one another

For the first time, the UMTS successor, 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), was used for a live mobile broadcasting. Alcatel-Lucent provided the mobile transmission technology, while the images were processed by Teracue with H.264 encoders and decoders from the ENC-200 and DEC-200 series.

A Teracue H.264 encoder was installed on each yacht, which received the video signal from the on-board camera. The live signal was then encoded in realtime and broadcast over LTE as an IP stream. The LTE radio cell was used to transmit the video signal into the mobile television studio, where the H.264 IPTV signal was decoded by a Teracue decoder. The decoder SDI output signal was then delivered to the studio director and mixing desk for live broadcast cutting, graphics and audio overlays.

The Teracue encoder was chosen as it is one of the smallest IPTV encoders and can be powered by batteries, crucial for mobile IPTV encoding scenarios. The ENC-200 encoder requires, at full encoding load, only 3.5W and 5V. A simple to setup, yet secure and robust IPTV video-networking solution was the topmost priority.

The advantages of the encoder/decoder solution can particularly be seen in regards to the tough conditions out at sea. The ENC/DEC series contain no moving parts, and a particular advantage is the expanded temperature range of -35°C to +60°C, as well as the quick resumption of IPTV streaming after loss of the power or video sources.

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