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Covering Live Events with Streaming Video at KAMU, Part 2

Jan 24, 2011 11:16 AM, with Bennett Liles


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I know it well.
We do an annual auction where of course we solicit different products and services, donations from the community and that goes on for about every night for a week or so and we even “rent out” the studio for various events. Some of the local high schools have video production classes but do not necessarily have true studio facilities so they produce some programs in our facility. There are several academic uses all the way from producing some of the classes that air on our station to the meteorology department doing the lab aspect of a TV meteorology class that they offer. [Timestamp: 5:17]

And you’re doing a lot of distance learning operation in support of academic classes that are offered at Texas A&M. Are you using the Streambox gear for those projects at all?
In all honesty, to date the Streambox has not had what I would call a major…it’s been used primarily more for our broadcast things all though there have been a couple of events where we bring in someone, let’s say from a remote location, into the studio environment—that’s primarily where we have used the Streambox. [Timestamp: 5:5] As far as the production aspect of it, I guess it’s like a PBS News Hour type of format where you have a head and shoulders shot of a remote guest joining in on a studio panel discussion?
That’s correct. I look at the Streambox as my…that is my satellite truck or my ENG truck. [Timestamp: 6:07]

A lot of outfits are looking at it that way and what you can do with it without the tremendous investment you have to make in shooting stuff up and down to satellites. It’s light, easy to carry around and very simple to set up and operate.
It certainly is, particularly one of the advantages of the university environment we have not just in College Station but at the other campuses throughout the system within the state is a robust IP network that ties us all together so the transmission medium or that path is basically free to us. It’s not like we’re buying satellite time. [Timestamp: 6:44]

So when you’re doing a live event from a remote location how do you handle communication between the crew people at the various ends of it?
We have used basically its telephone either landline or as we’re doing today have used voice over IP and of course the good ol’ cell phone. [Timestamp: 7:03]

And when you’re doing an operation in support of classes there, what type of classes do they offer as telecourses at Texas A&M?
Well there’s been a variety of them. Some of the ones I think that are in works right now are updating some anthropology classes. The classes that tend to be done through the broadcast are those that are geared to fairly large—tend to be lecture classes oriented toward large audiences and so forth. Agriculture at A&M is certainly a big area. There’s numerous agriculture classes but those are the ones that come to mind right now that we’re doing. [Timestamp: 7:41]

And when you’re doing those obviously you can’t afford to have big chunks of program material drop out in the middle of things. You mentioned a robust IP network of course being very basic and fundamental of this, how do you find the advantages of the Streambox ACT-L3 compression to what you may have used before?
Well since we…this is the first high definition and result high bandwidth I don’t know that I can make a direct comparison but we have found particularly when we get off of campus that the ability to dial in different levels of error correction has been advantageous to us. And of course one of the selling points in the looking before this was actually acquired was the efficiency, I guess, of the ACT-L3 compression in terms of quality and bandwidth. [Timestamp: 8:35]

And at the receiving end, what formats can the SBT3-9300 units output?
Well the box actually is really pretty versatile. We are really pretty much using our system in a…well we are using it for high definition with a 1920x1080 format however the box certainly is configurable through the menus—certainly is capable of various SD formats, is various…gosh there’s a whole chart of various HD and SD formats that it supports with PAL as well as NTSC. [Timestamp: 9:14]

And what can it do on the audio side?
Audio, it supports certainly AES audio. It supports analog audio and in our case how we’re using it is we’re using embedded audio. [Timestamp: 9:27]

Are you using that remote web base management feature on it?
Yes we do. Of course it’s one of those…I started to say black boxes but sort of a silver box that sits back in the rack room and any of the configuration work we do is done through that web interface and of course there’s always the remote one and everything we do there is done remotely through the web interface as far as configuration and also certainly monitoring the parameters performance during an event. [Timestamp: 9:59]

And with all the newer gear it seems like there’s more and more going on behind the scene so it can be easier to set up and operate. I appreciate you being here Wayne. It’s Wayne Pecena from KAMU at Texas A&M University using Streambox hardware for live TV remotes and thanks for being here to tell us about it.





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