Stratos Optical Technologies has supplied fibre optic camera cables for the high definition OB trucks of the Italian broadcast services company SBP spa. These make use of Stratos HX-1080 expanded beam connectors to provide reliable camera links in OB conditions using SMPTE 311M hybrid cable.
The largest truck, supplied by Sony, includes 20 HDC-1500 portable cameras working at normal HD formats and framerates, as well as four HDC-3300 Super Motion cameras running at three times normal speed, capable of up to 180Hz interlaced at 1920 x 1080 resolution. The HDC-3300 has a 10Gbps link to carry its high-speed uncompressed RGB images to the CCU. This data, as well as that from the normal speed cameras, has been carried over the HX 1080-terminated fibre optic cables.
The trucks have already been involved in prestigious live broadcasts including the popular Moto GP series of motorcycle races. Sergio Nuvoloni, chief engineer at SBP commented: "In our HD trucks fibre was the only sensible solution for our long camera links, particularly for race circuit coverage. We had some concerns about the reliability of fibre connections used with trucks, and I was attracted to the HX-1080 because this connector is very easy to keep clean out in the field. It has since provided consistent and reliable performance and is the right solution for us."
The HX-1080 was developed by Stratos to provide a reliable and easy-to-use connection for the fibre cables needed to cater for the high bandwidth requirements of HD camera links. SBP was one of the first to specify HX-1080 connectors for its OBs. Using Stratos' Expanded Beam (EB) technology that places spherical lenses at the fibre ends. These widen and collimate the 9-micron light beam in the single mode fibre, so the microscopic dust and dirt that can impede physical contact (PC) connectors when used in the frequent rig and de-rig environment OBs and studios, is no longer a problem.
The Stratos EB optics are recessed so the light path connects via an air gap; without glass being pressed onto glass (as in PC), and the glass lenses are hardened to resist any scratching. The result is an optical connection that can provide reliable performance in the technically harsh environments OBs and studios, over the life of the equipment. For easy deployment the HX-1080 is hermaphroditic and, to survive in the mud and grime of real-life operations, forms a hermetic seal.