Tieline Technologies

Tieline POTS audio sounds as good as ISDN quality at 64Kbps

 Jack Hollemans

 Jack Hollemans Network Manager Audio and Continuity at NOB

Hilversum, Netherlands - No matter where the news breaks in the Netherlands or around the world, almost one thing is certain - the media feed will find its way to NOB Cross media facilities located here in this "media city" near Amsterdam.

Jack Hollemans, the Network Manager for Audio and Continuity at NOB, has been with this key broadcast organization for 40 years. "We are the audio visual broadcast facilities company for the Netherlands and completely independent," said Hollemans. "For radio we have 10 broadcasters, sharing six public programmes and that covers everything from sports to pop music to classical music and so on."

For five years now, Hollemans and NOB have utilized Tieline codecs to handle POTS traffic in the master control room and some external ISDN traffic. "We have three Tieline rackmount units here in the control center and in the morning two of the three are usually receiving audio at the same time," said Hollemans, who estimated that there are probably about a dozen Tieline Commander G3 field units utilized by Dutch media for news contributions.

Once the audio has been delivered, it is routed to the proper studios where they work on it, and then it is sent back through to the control room where the audio is then distributed to the proper broadcast network.

The switching operation has been in effect since Oct. 4, 1992 and Hollemans, who is set to retire in two months, has been there from the start.

"We started with analogue highquality lines via Telco but then in 1994 or 1995 ISDN started and we had to learn a new word called "codec"," said Hollemans. "We have very good infrastructure here as anywhere you go, you can order ISDN lines, but in the late 90s, the prices started to go up so we started trying to find another way."

For breaking news, however, there is no time to order an ISDN line and that is where the POTS set-up comes in. "It is very useful to have the Tieline's," said Hollemans. "We find the audio via the Tieline's to be comparable with ISDN quality at 64 Kpbs. That is very good quality."

Hollemans said that when the Tieline codec was first introduced it was embraced immediately by journalists in the field. "Journalists are more or less like artists, on Day One they said "It's a miracle. We don't have to ask for ISDN"," said Hollemans. "Now after five years, it is no longer a miracle but just a useful piece of equipment to them."

One major advantage of the Tieline, according to Hollemans, is that the journalist can use it for interviews in sources own homes and then use their phone line to send in the story.