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NBC Flies Away With DSNG

NBC is deploying digital satellite newsgathering (DSNG) flyaway systems in the Middle East that combine voice, video and data communications in one unit, an industry first, according to the manufacturers involved with the project.

The system is the brainchild of NBC but the result of work by Tandberg, Vocality and Raytheon Co. It couples Tandberg's E570 DSNG encoder with Vocality's V100 multiplexer and Raytheon's MVSAT system with a 1.2-meter antenna.

Raytheon Commercial Manager Ray Marshall sees three advantages to the system: the quality of the video delivered vs. the bandwidth required; the capability for worldwide access, provided there is Ku-band satellite coverage; and the integration of two-way voice and data alongside the video.

The product will also have a chance to be used by other networks. The name of the system is still to be determined, but it's expected to be on exhibit at the NAB show in April.

Tandberg's baseline 2RU encoder is used, providing the necessary module slots to permit voice and data applications to be integrated into the system. The Vocality multiplexer is currently in a 1RU configuration tied to the encoder, but, according to Tandberg Director of Marketing Lisa Hobbs, it will be integrated into the encoder by NAB. "The final implementation," she says, "will be a 2RU SNG encoder with voice and data capability built in."

Lowering transmission rates is always a concern, and NBC addressed that with a software option to the Vocality system that allows it to transmit at 1.5 to 2 Mb/s. That rate, Hobbs explains, offers good-quality video with low thimble rates, which means that transmissions won't have to take a huge chunk of satellite space.