Repurposing Remote Broadcast Equipment

Repurposing Remote Broadcasting Equipment

Jake’s Take on Repurposing Remote Broadcasting Equipment:

ViA with Dual Active SIM Module

This month we are going to look at some different uses for remote broadcast equipment like the ViA codec and Report-IT app. These use cases that we will discuss today are more unconventional, but have provided clients with such great results that we simply had to discuss some of them here today. Now, to be clear, these use cases did not originate by design but are the result of work that Tieline has completed on our hardware codecs, which provide flexible options to operate with these unintended use cases.

 

Controlling Automation Systems

I get asked often how I would control the automation system and/or console at the studio when I don’t have a board op. Well, the conventional method would be to wire up the contact closures from the studio codec to the console/automation system for control purposes. Then the field unit codec could trigger those remote closures remotely. Things like stop, start, and faders could be controlled remotely through your audio codec system. Other methods to accomplish the same thing do already exist, like remote desktop sharing apps to control automation, and even some audio console manufacturers have created remote access apps for controlling their consoles. These methods do work but require additional equipment in the field to accomplish the same task.

 

However, drawing attention to the unconventional or unintended use case… one of the features I’ve talked about before is the recording/playback system within Tieline field codecs (ViA and Report-IT). The playback system within these codecs allows the user to record or import pre-recorded audio files into the unit for playback. These audio files could include all your  ad break requirements configured in a playlist format. Now, your field talent has access to all of the audio files they require and can play them when they see fit. Plus, as a bonus, this method has no delay in telling the talent in the field that ad break playback is done. Providing an easy means to control the studio will not only reduce costs, but also provide a better working experience for your talent too.

 

Example of Playlist screen in the ViA remote codec when repurposing remote broadcast equipment.
Playlist screen in the ViA remote codec

 

Conferencing Solutions

Another question I get asked a lot, especially during the height of the pandemic, is the ability for conferencing together audio codecs in different locations. One method that I saw a lot, is to use your high-density studio codec that can support more than 2 connections set up with multiple mix-minuses, and both hosts dial into the primary studio. This method works but induces too much latency for talk-back channels to each host. Instead, our customers discovered that each of our products supports multiple encoders and decoders, therefore allowing each location to act as its own “studio codec”, you could reduce the latency between each host.

 

As an example, the ViA field unit can not only dial into the studio but also be configured to accept two additional mono feeds from other ViA units or other audio codecs. Then in addition to the multiple encoders/decoders, the user can adjust the digital audio matrix to reroute audio where they see fit (i.e., specific microphones to specific audio streams, specific stream returns to specific headphones, etc.). Providing two-way audio between multiple locations is important, but things can get a bit tougher with numerous locations needing to hear each other. Having a system that can provide multiple direct inbound connection points can make life easier and reduce all of that unwanted latency.

 

ViA codec solutions for sports broadcasting
Integration of Stadium Sideline and FX audio with Commentator Play-by-Play Audio from Home

 

Inventive STL Solutions

The last unintended use case I would like to mention is a bit more common than others, but some of our clients have taken it to a whole new level. Your STL is the main bread maker for stations. Without the STL you have no on-air signal, and no on-air signal catastrophic. Most stations have put in place multiple layers of redundancy on their STL path, which is strongly encouraged. However, for those that don’t have the budget for multiple backups, our customers found that using remote broadcast equipment to run STLs is a great in-a-pinch solution, especially with supply chain issues these days. I’ve seen engineers operate ViA units at the tower site to perform maintenance or get them back on the air. More interestingly, I’ve seen some engineers wire up their mobile devices using Tieline’s Report-IT to their TX site to act as a backup feed!

 

Repurposing Remote Broadcast Equipment
Report-IT used for disaster backup as a temporary STL

 

Now, these methods are not technically the designed use-cases for these products, but they do nonetheless work very effectively for short-term solutions. Just answer this question… would you rather be off the air for a day or two while you wait for a replacement part and still be able to do remotes, or would you rather reschedule your remotes and get back on the air until that part comes in. Keep in mind too, that this doesn’t mean that you should not still save up for that backup STL, you still should, but always keep in mind that you have a backup STL unit sitting in your remote broadcast kit.

To recap, these are just some of my favorite outside-the-box use cases for repurposing remote broadcast equipment. Whether you are looking for a quick way to control the station, create a conference call with multiple home/main studios, or even get back on the air. Remote broadcast gear is not just for remote broadcasts, it can also be deployed as portable stations in a box ready to broadcast as required.

 

If you are interested in more information about what has been discussed in this month’s Jake’s Take, then please feel free to contact me. (Jacob@Tieline.com). For more details on Tieline codecs visit www.tieline.com/products or contact Tieline sales:

(Repurposing Remote Broadcast Equipment, first published on July 6th, 2022)

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