Real News: New Technologies for Mobile Newsgathering - VidOvation Corporation
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Since bonded cellular systems began appearing on the scene a decade ago, advances in compression, cellular connections and portability have made these systems among the fastest growing technology in newsgathering and AV production. IP is

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Jim Jachetta, CTO at VidOvation, Engineer, Design Consultant, Integrator, Trainer, Teacher, Author & Speaker

also providing broadcasters with more flexibility to do remotes with fewer people. What does the future hold for this technology? What impact will 5G and the cloud have? Join us for a roundtable of experts who will discuss the challenges and opportunities this technology offers.

Moderated By:
Speakers:

Learn How AVIWEST Safe Streams Transport (SST) Transmits Live Video over Cellular and Internet

Tom Butts: All right, the little hand’s on the one, the big hand’s on the three. That makes it 1:15, and time for the first session for the mobile. Who’s got it? Also, no one has mobile journalism or mo-jo for short? I’m Tom Butts, content director for TV Technology. Thank you for joining us today.

 

Tom Butts: A few housekeeping things, we’re going to be going … we’re going to have probably about maybe five or ten minutes at the end for questions, or any time you feel like asking a question during this session, feel free to raise your hand. We also have some schedules in the back. At a glance, basically, one piece of paper that allows you to navigate what the various studios are offering today. Thank you again for joining us.

 

Tom Butts: This is called Real News: New Technologies in Mobile News Gathering, and if you read the description, we didn’t really have, we didn’t talk about in the headline exactly what we’re talking about. Really, we’re talking about bonded cellular and the evolution of … we used to call it bonded cellular. We in the industry, we’re still not sure what to call it. We have called it … we call it IPENG. It’s basically using IP out in the field or anywhere you are to acquire and distribute video.

 

Tom Butts: No, in ye olde days of broadcasting, up until about a decade ago, when you had to cover a news event, you had to fire up the news van, or you had to fire up the satellite news gathering truck, and you had to get the breaking news. Now, you don’t have to do that as much anymore. There’s still a lot of news vans out there, but they’ve taken on new roles, I think, in many cases, in the way that bonded cellular has seriously revolutionized not only the broadcast industry, but so many other industries. And we will talk about those today.

 

Tom Butts: We have a distinguished panel of representatives from the major developers of these systems, and I’m going to ask them right now to introduce themselves. Jim?

 

Jim Jachetta: Hello, Tom. Whoa, hot mic. Hot mic. Hello, Tom. Thanks for putting this panel together. I believe you coined the phrase, “Bonded IP”.

 

Tom Butts: Did we?

 

Jim Jachetta: I think you did. This might have been a few years ago that it, you know, just more than cellular. It could be satellite, it could be a fiber connection, so I think you came up with that.

 

Tom Butts: It’s still a bit of a marketing issue. I’ve got to learn how to brand it.

 

Jim Jachetta: Yeah yeah. So, I’m Jim Jachetta. I’m the CTO of a company called VidOvation corporation, and we are the master distributor for a bonded cellular or bonded IP provider out of France called AviWest.

 

Chris Crump: Hi, I’m Chris Crump. I’m the Senior Director for sales and marketing for Comrex Corporation, a little tiny company in Devens, Massachusetts, 30 employees, and we’ve been around since 1961 making audio for television, and more recently, video product for television, and I’m fortunate enough to be one of the owners of the company, because we’re an employee owned company.

 

Speaker 1: You’re an audio guy.

 

Tom Butts: Is it working?

 

Speaker 1: Yeah. [inaudible]

 

Fred Poole: Hi, I’m Fred Poole. I’m the [inaudible 00:05:21], and I don’t know if I like the term bonded, because it doesn’t sound [crosstalk 00:05:24].

 

Speaker 1: Take that one. That one’s really hot. [crosstalk]

 

Tom Butts: Oh yes, okay. [inaudible 00:05:24]. So, the term bonded just doesn’t sound right to me. I think of different things when I think of bonding, but … we’re in the remote news gathering business, and I’m looking forward to talking about what we do and what you guys are looking for and how we can serve you, so [inaudible 00:05:59].

 

George Klippel: My name is George K;ippel. I’m the director of channel sales for North America for LiveU. We got our start in 2006 and actually the first bonded cellular devices and have been around shipping products since about 2008, and we call it bonded cellular. We use it for everything from mobile news gathering, to education, to corporate [inaudible 00:06:23], and I’m looking forward to participating in this panel. Thank you.

 

Tom Butts: Thank you, I’m going to start the panel off. I’m going to throw these questions out to anyone, and anyone can answer at will. Some of you, your businesses started based on bonded cellular, but what I want to know is what impact has it had on your business, and how would you describe the evolution of it over the past 10 years? Jim?

 

Jim Jachetta: Sure. That’s a great question, Tom. So, VidOvation, and our partner, AviWest, we’ve kind of shifted away from just the cellular, you know, more the bonded IP. Particularly where the pain point that we’ve solved is the at-home production or REMI-production. And one of the challenges is maintaining genlock, frame accurate genlock and lipsync over an unmanaged network. It’s relatively easy on a managed network, if you have a dedicated connection, you can do precision timing protocol. You can keep all your equipment … if you’re doing SMPTE-2110, it’s a part of the standard to keep everything in sync in genlock.

 

Jim Jachetta: Now, you try to do that over an unmanaged network like cellular, like the public internet, you don’t own the internet, you can’t maintain clock and genlock. You can’t really do precision timing protocol. So our partner, AviWest uses a technique similar to PTP, but they do it over an unmanaged network, where they’re able to send timing signals, reference signals, through the unmanaged network to the encoder at the origination point.

 

Jim Jachetta: And the video comes out in the studio absolutely perfect, down to the frame, perfect lipsync. So that’s been a sweet spot for us. We’ve done some big projects with Turner Sports, doing the Ryder Cup. We’ve done some Soccer, or what they call Football in Europe, so European projects.

 

Jim Jachetta: We’ve done a crazy cop show called LivePD, which has evolved into a live rescue and first responders live, where they’ll have 40 cameras out in the field, and when you’re doing anything live, whether it’s sports or these live reality shows, you have no post production to fix the lipsync or to fix the genlock problem. You know, when you’re live, you’re dumping it into like an EVS type of a playback system, and there’s no time to correct before going to air.

 

Chris Crump: So, cellular, that’s relatively new, isn’t it?

 

Jim Jachetta: It depends how you define new.

 

Chris Crump: Well, anyways, sorry. Back in 1961, Comrex was creating products using licensed and unlicensed RF frequencies, and later on, we were actually able to use public switch telephone networks, plain old telephone service, POTS lines, to transmit high quality audio. So, one of the things we’ve always done is looked at the most widely deployed, widely leveraged data infrastructures on the planet to help broadcasters do their job.

 

Chris Crump: So, when IP started to become popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, we actually started looking at creating an audio product that could replace ISDN, and we created one of the first IP audio codecs for delivering high quality audio over managed networks. But then the public internet was really kind of the challenge, and creating the technology to make that work was something that we spent a lot of our time and treasure on.

 

Chris Crump: In about 2004, we came out with our first IP audio codec, and we spent a decade perfecting it. And some of our customers that had gone from radio into television were coming by NAB and saying, “It’d be really great if you could take this thing and put video through it.” And we were like, sure, why not? It’s just data, right?

 

Tom Butts: It’s bits. It’s packets.

 

Chris Crump: It’s bits and bytes. So, cellular was really kind of one of those, the holy grail of having data anywhere you needed it, in places you couldn’t normally go. Doing video over that, at the time, we were looking at 3g, and then the early parts of 4g. It seemed a little bit daunting to try and do that on a single network, so multiple networks and aggregating those networks actually became the thing that we needed to do.

 

Chris Crump: So we developed that for our video product first, and then put it back to our audio product, and it’s really changed the way we do our business. So, to answer your question, it’s been huge and transformative, but we’re still kind of agnostic to data networks. We’ll work on a private LAN, cellular, satellite, any kind of IP network, and we can aggregate them all and basically make the product work really well.

 

Tom Butts: All right, thanks. Fred?

 

Fred Poole: Okay, so I think we started out with the idea that cellular transport of video was a replacement for the infrastructure you could create with microwave, or for the expensive satellites systems that were out there in the 70s. So we were looking to solve a problem. And in the time that we’ve been around and working with the broadcast community for gathering news, we found that they’re basically looking for ways to get acquisition of video and the distribution of that content into your network and out to your customers.

 

Fred Poole: In addition to that, they’re looking for ways to automate process and find out … this weird AI stuff, I’m not really sure what it is, but I know we can use it somewhere. So, situations where you’re trying to get video in, how do you manage that content? You know, if you go back to … some of you guys aren’t old enough, but some of you guys are … and, I remember when we went to school, you had to go to a thing called a library. Anybody heard of it?

 

Tom Butts: What’s that?

 

Fred Poole: Yeah, I know. And you had to look at a reference book to find out about the war of 1812. Now, you can pull out your phone, Google the war of 1812, and you’ll get anything you want about the war of 1812. Right from your pocket. So I think what I’m trying to say is that we’re trying to enable this marketplace to be [inaudible] the same thing our kids can do on their cellphones, in the market of collecting global news. [inaudible]

 

George Klippel: Yeah, and I think, from a live news perspective, when we first started out in 2008, it was all about broadcasters, and the goal, as Fred just mentioned, was to really go after that market and solve the problem of replacing satellites with bonded cellular, and transmit back to the control room. And today, it’s really about from 3g to 4g, now moving into 5g, transmission, but it’s also evolved, from a product standpoint, to going away from just broadcasters to having products that fit every single market, from high schools to colleges to corporate environments and what have you.

 

George Klippel: And the products have become agnostic, in the sense, as Chris mentioned, and even Jim, that they can all work on satellite, they can all work on ethernet and wifi, and it’s not just cellular, right? But that’s the main piece, or the main thrust, that’s how it was kind of invented, right? Giving you the biggest pipe to get your signal through, out over IP, and get those packets back to somewhere.

 

George Klippel: And as Jim mentioned, the biggest thing, I think, for most of us, maybe most of us, but at least for LiveU, for sure, almost all of our productions today are REMI based, and what we call at home production as well, whether it’s the news organizations doing it or corporate customers like Toyota, they do something which is really amazing. Every single month, they go to one of their factories around the country, and we have multiple units of ours that we send this signal back for tours that they do at these different factories and show how they save money and stream the signal back from the factory back to their control room, where they have a server, we have a full production switcher, replay, CG, Chiron, everything else.

 

George Klippel: And then they put all the production together back there. They don’t do flypacks anymore, they don’t send people on the road anymore. And then they stream that out to their destinations worldwide, so they can show how they’re becoming more and more efficient at the factory level to all of their employees. And that’s become the norm. It used to be really not possible, or too costly to do that. And that’s kind of the change in growth and the change in methodology that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, and again, moving now from that workflow, and the more efficiencies that we’re seeing with new codecs like HEVC and 5g coming to fore.

 

George Klippel: So I think that’s really what’s new for us, and what’s been happening in the industry over the last few years.

 

Fred Poole: George, you made a good point earlier on, the fact that your first market was to go after broadcasters, because that’s the high end. If you please the broadcasters, then you’ve pretty much pleased everyone else. They’re the biggest skeptics.

 

George Klippel: They sure are. They were the biggest ones, and first off, our very first customer, in the very beginning, was NBC. And they came us with the problem, saying … and we went to them, and the solution that we had, at the very first NAB, was on a piece of plywood, and it said, we think we can do this, and this is how we’re going to do it, and how we’re going to save you money, and we showed them, and now CBS and all these other stations are retiring trucks.

 

George Klippel: CBS doesn’t even use any more, doesn’t buy any more satellite time. They still have trucks, don’t get me wrong, but bonded cellular transmission is literally replacing satellite trucks. I think all of you [inaudible] today.

 

Tom Butts: Anybody else want to add in regards to the kind of reaction you first got from the industry when you rolled these out?

 

Jim Jachetta: Well, I think, years ago, in the late 2000’s, everybody had their crackberry, right? Their research in motion Blackberry, and they’d be like, “Apple’s going to make a phone? And put RIM out of business?” Where’s Blackberry today? So 10 years ago, right, when we all said this is going to be the replacement for satellite, you know, “Prove it to me.” I think we’re there now.

 

Jim Jachetta: You know, I always tell a customer, if they want 110% reliability, you probably maybe want to run a couple of fibers, you know, a fiber connection, but even satellite is susceptible to rain fade. But before the panel, George and I were talking about lower cost solutions, and they have a lower cost product that they’re pushing, you know, to bloggers, vloggers, wedding videographers, and we’re doing something similar, where we have smaller, more cost effective solutions, using a technology that’s been tried and true by the broadcasters, now trying to do it, you know, lower power consumption, smaller footprint, more cost effective. So I thought I’d add that.

 

Tom Butts: In terms of, over the past few years, in regards to the equipment itself, how has the size, weight, shape, you know, how has that affected … I’m sure that the early systems that came out, you probably got feedback from customers saying I want it like this, the ergonomics of it all. How important did that factor into it?

 

Jim Jachetta: I’ll go again. I don’t want to monopolize.

 

Fred Poole: You are, but that’s okay.

 

Jim Jachetta: You want to go first?

 

Fred Poole: Am I pulling a you know who?

 

Jim Jachetta: You go first, Fred, you go.

 

Fred Poole: So, Moore’s Law, we all know what Moore’s Law is, and if you don’t, it’s that there are twice as many transistors on a motherboard every two years. So, if you consider that fact, and you went back 10 years, the size of what we all had 10 years ago is relatively dwarfed compared to what we do now. Small pack, more power, more functionality in it. We’ve all got REMI solutions, we’ve all got cellular, microwave, satellite, wi-fi. We all have those solutions.

 

Fred Poole: But I think what’s interesting is that, we were talking about changes, and the broadcasters questioning what you do. When we started with the packs, years ago, and the [inaudible] years ago, that was a, “Well, is this really going to work?” Nobody believed this thing was going to run out in the field with a [inaudible] backpack, [inaudible] TV, and it was going to look good.

 

Fred Poole: It’s interesting, when we were talking about REMI, you know, there’s a lot of news gathering operations that you all do that include things like town halls and multiple rooms where you have multiple camera events, and we transport that over plain old IP, and synchronizing the cameras, synchronizing the [inaudible 00:20:12].

 

Fred Poole: And, I swear to God, I had one broadcaster who basically said to me, “I don’t really know if I trust this internet video.” So, I asked him if he watched Netflix, and he said he did, so he’s heard of it.

 

Tom Butts: Chris, anything you want to add?

 

Chris Crump: One of the early things that we were kind of faced with was dealing with the small market mentality, thinking that they had to have a truck. But when they realized the cost savings of basically turning their truck into just a mobile journalist that was basically doing the story, running the camera, their own technician, making it simple for them was really key. So, having a very small, simple package that they could power on, hit one button, do the story, that really kind of changed the small market mentality into how they can actually use this to their benefit.

 

George Klippel: I was just going to say, your question about size and how we’ve moved in the last 10 years, our first backpack weighed 52 pounds, looked like a camping backpack you would go up into the mountains with. And you’d have to be pretty hefty, like myself, to hump that thing around. Today, our number one selling unit weighs about five pounds, and we even have a small unit that you can fit in the palm of your hand that weighs about a pound and a half.

 

George Klippel: So it’s really migrated, as things get smaller and smaller and more compact, and you can fit more electronics into something now, as you were suggesting earlier, but it’s really scaled down and gotten smaller and smaller. The technology’s really gotten better and better. We still have one of those packs in our offices if you’re up in our headquarters in Hackensack, New Jersey, you can come in and try it on and carry it around a little bit.

 

George Klippel: It’s crazy how things have gotten tinier and tinier for people.

 

Jim Jachetta: My dad, before starting Multidyne, worked for years in the industry. His last job was at NBC, worked at 30 Rock, and the joke was that, you know, if you took something the size of a refrigerator and put a handle on the side of it, it’s portable now. You might need four guys to lift it … So, AviWest, when they got into the market in 2007, 2008, they kind of took the form factor that you saw in microwave camera rigs, where you put the unit between the battery and the camera.

 

Jim Jachetta: So, if you had a Anton Bauer rig, you’d mount the unit on the camera. So they were one of the first adopters in the so-called bonded space to put it on the camera. And as George alluded to, now they have smaller units, if you don’t have a broadcast camera, that has a V-lock battery plate or an Anton Bauer battery plate, where do you put the unit? So we have smaller units, now, that have a quarter twenty mount on them. You can even mount them to a DSLR or a smaller camera.

 

Jim Jachetta: Size is important, and one of the challenges is when you … a lot of you guys are probably, guys and gals, are engineers that, when you shrink things, heat dissipation becomes more challenging. When something is larger, you can put a heat sink on it or have fans on it, and in a production environment, fans usually make noise, so the unit has to be silent on a quiet set. So, shrinking it presents challenges in thermal management, and AviWest has solved all these problems in making a smaller package.

 

Jim Jachetta: One of the challenges of HEVC in particular is the chipsets run a lot hotter, you know, there’s a lot more processing going on, more power consumption, so those are some of the challenges that have been addressed and overcome.

 

Tom Butts: I’m glad you brought up HEVC. That was sort of my next question. In regards to how, I think, cellular and compression have both worked in tandem or worked in certain rates to help advance your businesses, in regards to compression, HEVC, in your early days, all you could expect was a standard definition picture, and everybody does news in high definition now. When did that come along, and what spurred that?

 

George Klippel: So, we’re talking about HEVC, right? So we came out with HEVC this last year with our LU-600 model, and what really spurred that is just making sure … it was really, I think, the industry that was spurring it, and technology finally evolved enough on the hardware side that we could offer it. And it’s a high efficiency codec, H265. It allows you to essentially stream more data at a better bit rate, if you will, a lower bit rate, and it’s more efficient than an H264 codec.

 

George Klippel: And one of the things that’s nice about the LiveU products is that we’re always on HEVC encoding, we do hardware encoding, so it gives you cooler operation, so that’s one thing that’s important. It’s always HEVC all the time, so you’re not switching back and forth between multiple codecs.

 

George Klippel: It gives you longer battery life, which is important. And then also, one of the things that we were able to adopt when we moved to HEVC was the ability to stream in H2 65, which everybody wants, because they want the ability to get that better bandwidth and be able to stream at that codec, but we can also record the feed at H264, which is an editable format which everyone, if you’re using Adobe or Avid or Final Cut, you want to edit your files, possibly.

 

George Klippel: And today, we can’t edit in H265 unless there’s some newfangled thing that I don’t know about. But that’s really what H265 and HEVC is all about, is much more high efficiency codec, gives you the ability to stream much more data, or more hours or gigabytes, on a data plan, than an H264 codec does, and it’s just a much nicer looking codec, and people have been wanting that for a while.

 

Chris Crump: One of the challenges that Comrex had, when we were looking at all of the H265 encoder/decoders that were out there, was finding one that was actually an encoder/decoder and not just an encoder, because our customers have come to expect the two way video and audio that we offer. And so, finding an H265 encoder/decoder that wouldn’t burst into flames was not something that we were able to do.

 

Chris Crump: Because one of the things that we don’t want to do is put a big fan in a product that’s up by a camera operator’s head, because it will suck in dirt and debris and make noise. So I think we’re, in terms of H265, we’re looking at a different product that you might see at a large trade show in the not to distant future, but I can’t really speak more on that at this point.

 

Chris Crump: We think it’s interesting, but for what we’re doing with the two way audio and video, the H264 encoder/decoder that we’re using seems to be the most efficient way.

 

Chris Crump: And I was reading an article, it might have been in TV Technology, about how H264’s not going away, because it still has its use. I think H265 will be useful in some regards, but for our purpose, not so much.

 

Jim Jachetta: Something George said resonated with me, that you can’t edit with H265 or HEVC. Another challenge is, most of the CDNs, if you’re going to the web, don’t support 265 yet, so the AviWest solution is we do transcoding in our transceiver box. We call our receiver a stream hub, because it’s not only an input, it’s more than a receiver. It can take IP inputs, it can bring in the bonded cellular streams, but also can transcode and encode and connect with the CDNs.

 

Jim Jachetta: Another interesting fact is that not all HEVC codecs or chips are the same. You know, there’s chips at varying price points, etc. What our customers have found, they’ll take all of our products, even non bonded cellular type encoded products, and they’ll run them through the … Do you guys know the Tsarnoff labs test, that test pattern that’s supposed to break encoders?

 

Tom Butts: With the, uh, lobster?

 

Jim Jachetta: The lobster tooth thing.

 

Tom Butts: [inaudible]

 

Jim Jachetta: And then, Video Clarity makes a box that gives the stream a grade. You feed the source video into the box, and then the video coming out of the encoder/decoder, out of the transmission, and it gives it a grade. So what our customers have found is that, with 264, the rule of thumb was like six or eight megs was respectable for HD, was kind of the rule of thumb. I believe that the default setting on the AviWest box is six megs with H264, so most broadcasters are saying we’ll run HEVC at three or four megs, basically cut it in half.

 

Jim Jachetta: Well, using the Tsarnoff labs test and this video clarity test, our customers have found that they get the same quality at two megs or less than what they get at three and a half or four megs with some of the other HEVC encoders. So it’s the efficiency or the quality of the chipsets, the encoder and decoder that you’re using are important.

 

Jim Jachetta: If you’re on a dedicated circuit where you’re not being charged by the megabit, who cares whether you’re running at two megs or three megs or four megs? But when cellular or satellite is involved, where there’s a meter running on how much data you’re using, if you can save thirty, forty, fifty, sixty per cent on your data usage, that can be significant. And our customers seem to like that.

 

Fred Poole: Okay, so H264 and H265, the difference is one, obviously. H264 came out in the early 2000s, advanced video codec. I was working for Harris at the time, transitioning here. When H265 came out, we had ours in the pack like two years ago. We do our own development on that H265 codec, as well as the H264 codec, so a lot of what we do … and the only thing … I guess you guys don’t really care about H264/H265 except for in the transmission of the data, it allows it to get through the network in a more efficient manner back to wherever it’s going to be received, so you can actually see HD video.

 

Fred Poole: We were at a trade show similar to this one not too long ago, and inside the venue, we were getting like maybe one meg out, maybe up to three. Low was one, high was three. So we’re sitting there with a camera, HD camera, hooked up to a transmitter, and we’re transmitting back to Raleigh, North Carolina, and pulling the video back into the trade show, and we’re getting video out. We’ve got HD out. Well, we’ve got video out, and we’ve got HD video back, so … so, that’s the efficiency of H265 compared to 264, which we would not have been able to get out.

 

Fred Poole: And the switchable capability, like you were talking about before, H264’s not going away. There are applications where it makes sense to use H264. There are applications where it makes sense to use H265. So, we kind of give you guys the choice of what do you want to use, what do you want to get, what’s better for you, what’s better for your work flow, your environment, wherever you are, to use that capability? But H265 is a new codec, early on. It’s going to be improved much over the next years just like H264 has been, so … [inaudible] with new technology developments.

 

Tom Butts: Right, thanks, Fred. I think it can be fair to say that broadcasters really didn’t want to commit themselves to this technology until it matched or was better than the reliability and the latency of microwave. Have we achieved that, and if we have achieved that, what’s the next improvement online? What’s the next improvement? And have we achieved that? Have you guys achieved that? You’ve matched or bettered microwave?

 

George Klippel: Yeah, from LiveU’s perspective, I believe we have. We’ve matched it or achieved better than microwave in the respect of latency and delay, so in a LiveU environment, and I’ll let the others speak for their environment, we’re down to, on a delay setting, 0.6, so it’s sub-second delay. That’s better than what you’ll get in a standard, typical environment like that.

 

George Klippel: So when you start talking like that, though, you also need to realize you do give up some things. You’re not able to apply what we call LRT or LiveU Reliable Transport, which is things like packet ordering and forward error correction and other technologies that make the signal look better and better.

 

George Klippel: So, for example, for our broadcasters, we have a large percentage of broadcasters using our technology. When they do, when they’re doing talk-back and interviews on CNN or CBS or whatever, they usually set the delay to about 1, 1.2 seconds in the field. Most people go, “What? Why wouldn’t they set it to 0.6?” Right? For the lowest possible delay? Well, because you want to have that error correction and those things in the signal, usually, to happen on your feed, and it seems to be an acceptable norm, maybe you guys would agree with that, about the delay setting when doing talk-back for interview.

 

George Klippel: But others like to bring it down as far as possible, and they roll the dice sometimes depending on where they’re at. So, I think we’re there in terms of that technology, and also with 5g technology, we’ve done some testing with 5g. We just did … or, you’re getting to that, right? So I don’t want to overshoot.

 

Tom Butts: Yeah.

 

George Klippel: Yeah, hold on, I’ll hold that. But I think for the reliability, talking about satellite or microwave, I think we’re definitely there, and can beat or replace at this standpoint.

 

Chris Crump: I kind of think that microwave is just another tool for the toolbox, especially if you’re in a big, crowded stadium, where you’ve got 80,000 people using cell phones, you can’t really expect that your cellular bonded device is going to work perfectly every time, whereas microwave, actually, is probably a better solution for wireless cameras inside of a stadium, doing scoreboard stuff, or … [crosstalk 00:35:30]. Yeah, so I don’t think it’s that we’ve achieved something better than them.

 

Chris Crump: I mean, cellular has, or IP codecs have their place. You get to places that you can’t get with microwave, so now I can Sky Utaya broadcasting from Time Square back to Rome, I can’t necessarily do that with microwave.

 

George Klippel: So far.

 

Jim Jachetta: To dovetail what Chris just said, we obviously are big on bonded cellular, but you bring up a great point, that inside a stadium, if somebody was using a bonded IP or cellular product, one second delay, and you’re singing the national anthem, I think that’s going to be ridiculous, to the PA system and the screen. So, VidOvation being an integrator, reseller, we have some microwave solutions from another partner called AV On Air, and the latency is sub-frame, so the millisecond.

 

Jim Jachetta: So, we have that mix, and a lot of applications that we do, some of our customers like a game [inaudible] might use the microwave to get from the field to the truck, and then cellular, and then there’s a production switcher in the truck, then a single cellular or bonded IP product is used to get the produced show out of the venue.

 

Jim Jachetta: So there’s always a hybrid. There’s always a mix. And back to what you said, George, that the AviWest products, we can go down to about a half a second latency, but that’s being kind of aggressive, and the achilles heel is the cellular networks. I’m sure you guys have seen … your gear, I’m sure you have a latency indicator on your products. AviWest does. And typically it’s about 50 to 60 milliseconds latency on these cellular connections, but you’ll suddenly see it spike to 3,000.

 

Jim Jachetta: Like, what just happened? Why did that connection all of a sudden go out the window? So I think, with 5g, there’s provisions for low latency services. 5g is going to be using a technique known as slicing, so we’ll talk more about that later. So I think we’re kind of at the limit based on the 3g/4g LTE networks, that 5g will allow us to get the latency.

 

Jim Jachetta: Ideally, everybody wants it at 0, right? But I think we’re kind of at the theoretical limit right now, and hopefully 5g will help solve that.

 

Tom Butts: When do think … I was saving for my best part, the most buzz worthy question at the end. In regards to 5g, you know, it’s very much hyped right now. In fact, a couple years ago, when we approached some of you guys about 5g, there was a lot more skepticism. Is that skepticism still there? And I guess, what impact will 5g have on this technology?

 

Fred Poole: I think 5g is going to be the next step in cellular, right? I don’t think it’s going to be revolutionary. I think it’s an evolutionary product. I think it’s an evolutionary capability. I think, if you think about the way bandwidth … anybody live around … who lives here? Raise your hand. If you live here, raise your hand.

 

Fred Poole: Okay, does anybody remember when 495 had fewer lanes than it has now? Yes? Okay, great. Does anybody remember if the traffic, when they put another lane on there, got any better? No. Once we get more capability with 5g, we’re going to figure out how to use it.

 

Tom Butts: Technology hates a vacuum.

 

Fred Poole: What’s that?

 

Tom Butts: It hates a vacuum.

 

Fred Poole: Yeah, I know, it does, and that’s the same deal that’s going to happen. There’s no difference between a highway and more bandwidth with 5g. The best thing about 5g is the density in urban areas. So you will get connectivity that you can not get now, but as far as bandwidth, it’s going to be utilized.

 

Fred Poole: And the bandwidth going up is not that revolutionary at all. It’s virtually the same as the bandwidth up on 4g. The bandwidth down is going to be a boon for all you guys that want to send stuff to my kids on their damned cell phones.

 

George Klippel: But that doesn’t help us.

 

Fred Poole: No, it doesn’t.

 

Chris Crump: One of the problems of 5g, though, is the frequencies that they plan on using. They’re talking 30GHz to 300GHz, which means no building penetration, which means no signal propagation, which is why, look at what T-Mobile did, they went and bought all that 600MHz frequency so they could basically download all of their data service onto the 600MHz spectrum so they have building penetration.

 

Chris Crump: 5g is basically a congestion avoidance scenario for the urban areas, where you’ve got a lot of repeaters, a lot of microcells, and a lot of people, on devices that need to be able to get data. Once you get out of that environment, it’s not going to be a useful, because you have to have a small cell repeater every 500-1200 feet in order to make 5g work in its current iteration, and we’re still a long way from 5g, regardless of the Verizon commercials that are on there saying, “I’m in Houston, and it’s great. I’m in Dallas, and it’s great. I’m in New York, and it’s great.”

 

Chris Crump: Well, if you move two feet, it’s not great. If you get onto a bus, it’s not great. You lose the signal. You walk into a building, forget about it. So, 4g isn’t even fully implemented yet. So, until they do that … we’re seeing an improvement on 4g technology, 4g LTE. 5g, the final specification isn’t due to be released until 2023, 2024, and that’s part 17. We’re on part 15 now. There’s still a lot of work that the 3g [inaudible] needs doing.

 

Chris Crump: And the chipsets, and the technology, and the radios, and the handsets, don’t quite exist yet. We’ve got a long way to go before I think 5g is going to be useful, and I think industry and enterprise is going to see it before broadcast is going to see it, in my opinion.

 

George Klippel: This was my favorite question. I’ve been waiting for this one all [inaudible] so thank you for asking this. I agree with both everything that Chris said and Fred said. It is going to be a long ways off. But we’ve been working, LiveU’s been partnering with AT&T for the last two years on this, and have been in their lab and working with them for a while.

 

George Klippel: And we see it a little bit differently, that it is going to roll out quickly, and much faster for the sports world than it is for everybody else. And you guys might agree with that, maybe not, but we worked with them over the summer, with the NBA summer league, and actually did a full broadcast that went to air using our LiveU smart, which is our phone application, on AT&T phones with 5g transmitters, the phones that had the 5g built in, in the stadium that they were doing the summer league.

 

George Klippel: They used five of these phones around the stadium in broadcast with the standard complement of what they normally put out of an NBA game. And the reason for this was, the NBA wants to … they saw people at every single game using their phones and recording content, and then they realized they were posting this content on their Facebook page and the YouTube page, and they wanted to start getting more fan engagement, and wanted to come up with a way of doing this fan engagement.

 

George Klippel: And one of the ways of doing that is using their 5g network. And they have, in a majority of stadiums around the country, 5g networks built in. AT&T has quite a few of those. So, I think you’re going to see a very quick addition of 5g in these sports stadiums, sports scenarios, where it can be handled.

 

George Klippel: And you’re right, for our products, we’re implementing 5g in January, but it’s a hybrid type of scenario, where we’re using the AT&T modems that are able to, when you’re inside, where 5g can’t get out through the walls, it switches to 4g LTE. But then, when you go out, and you’re in that 20ft zone where there is a 5g antenna somewhere, it will turn on, and it will go to 5g for those couple of modems that active.

 

George Klippel: …[inaudible 00:44:15] non-5g related, but it’s also an interesting step towards that, which I think others will be adopting in the future, possibly, where we also have what are called DTM priority SIMs, in LiveU’s world. And those are also made by AT&T. So you have your regular cell phone, right? Everybody has a cell phone, like this, and if you’re at a stadium event, like we were mentioning before, bandwidth is fine, and it gets sucked dry, because everybody’s trying to stream.

 

George Klippel: Well, if you have a priority SIM, you get a next level prioritization on that network to get your shot out, and when you look at AT&T or some other manufacturers, they have three levels, right? You’ll have your regular cell phone SIM, there’s DTM priority SIM, and then they have what’s called first net, which is for first responders only, like police, fire rescue.

 

George Klippel: So, by adding these other DTM sims to your plans, you can actually be in a stadium situation where bandwidth is just crunched down to nothing, and still be able to get your shot out. So I think, in agreement with Chris and Fred, there’s evolutionary processes that happen, but I think there’s going to be these other smaller steps that might occur with DTM SIMs, sports is going to be a huge adopter first, early on, and there might even be some other industries that come to fore in addition to sports, before it gets to the masses, like you were saying, later in 2023 or whenever.

 

Tom Butts: Thanks George, and just a reminder, actually our next session at 2:15 will be addressing the impact of 5g. We’ve only got a couple minutes left, so I wanted to open the floor for questions … okay, last question, then. Kind of just describe in a brief minute, or even less than a minute, some of the most unique use cases that you’ve seen of your gear so far.

 

Jim Jachetta: One of the most unique use cases is this live reality TV shows we’ve been doing, and basically, the A&E channel took the show Cops and said hey, why don’t we do the show Cops, but do it live? And early on, they tried, kind of like a Tour de France method, where you had a chase helicopter, and you beam microwave from the vehicle moving to a helicopter, then it hits some EMG microwave receive site, but that wasn’t scalable if you had two cop cars in close proximity, then you had two helicopters, and it’s $100,000 an hour to run a helicopter.

 

Jim Jachetta: So let’s try to do this over cellular. And the challenges of multiple cameras in a police vehicle, or two vehicles showed up on a scene, the whole genlock and REMI model really came into play. So, that’s kind of a crazy live cop show application that we’ve thrived on.

 

Tom Butts: Thanks, Jim. Chris?

 

Chris Crump: I’ve got two, but I’ll make them very brief. We have CBS [inaudible] television station down in Dallas that actually uses our device for weather. So, they have the rack mount, they put it in a big suburban, weather guy goes out into the weather at a shopping center, or at the edge of a hurricane, pulls out a 55 inch flat screen out of the back of the thing, and basically, they [inaudible] the whole weather package out to the truck, and he has a seven day forecast and the live doppler radar and the [inaudible] tower cam, and he’s doing his weather in front of it. And on the same link, they send that whole shot back to the studio. So it’s kind of crazy.

 

Chris Crump: The other one was, I still don’t believe that we did this, but there was a 14 city movie premiere out of Los Angeles, where they wanted to have social media likers or influencers in each of these theaters, interviewing movie stars from the movie, and basically having the world premier happening from Los Angeles.

 

Chris Crump: So we had 14 racks in Los Angeles, and then one in New York, and San Francisco, and Chicago, and Nashville, and they were basically going to every city, doing two way video, which they would then put up on the big screen through the digital projector, and it was crazy. It was a half hour of the most intense live production that I’ve ever been involved with. That was crazy.

 

Tom Butts: Thanks. Fred?

 

Fred Poole: So, this is the kind of … is this thing working?

 

Tom Butts: Yes.

 

Fred Poole: It doesn’t sound like … I can’t hear myself. I need a monitor.

 

Speaker 1: Your voice is louder.

 

Fred Poole: Okay, how about this? Is that better? I can’t do that. I don’t have that voice, man. Come here, you do it.

 

Speaker 1: This mic.

 

Speaker 2: Yeah, that mic’s hotter. Much hotter.

 

Fred Poole: The battery’s good on that. So, everybody’s got to run your product, right? So, one of the … if you usually think of how REMI works, it’s a bunch of cameras over here, a studio back here, bunch of feeds coming in, plugs in the animate, goes back to studio, the studio produces the show. That’s normally the way it works, right?

 

Fred Poole: So, one of our customers is AT&T Sports Net. They run our REMI product in an inverse fashion, because they have another one year lease on their vehicles, on their [inaudible] control vehicles that they’re using for sports production. So what they do is, from the studio, where they have their talent, they mix back to their production truck, using a REMI in an inverse manner. So they go from the studio back to the truck to produce the talent back at the studio conversing with the guys on the set in the vehicle. So it’s kind of an interesting turnaround of how you think REMI works.

 

Tom Butts: All right.

 

George Klippel: I have six, but I’ll make it real quick. No. The one that just comes to mind, Los Angeles fire department uses about seven of our units, and what they use them for is to do public relations, but mostly it’s used for fire emergencies. So, they’ve got a ton of fires this year, and what they do is they take the units out in command vehicles, they take them out on motorcycles, on bicycles, they connect them to Go Pros and other types of cameras, and they send two feeds back to their command center, which is at the mayor’s office, where they have about 300 people watching on a massive, big screen TV, and they make command and control decisions, where people are supposed to be going, where do they deploy all the fire people to put out the fires.

 

George Klippel: And they also, at the same time, send the signal out to the mobile command vehicles so the actual fire chiefs, I think is the right term, on the scene at different locations of the fire actually can have tactical control and communication from the main head into where those people are on scene at the actual fire locations, similar to, again, another REMI situation, but the fire folks are out there with the packs doing all of the stuff at the fire, you know, location, where do we need to move troops or folks, firefighters, etc.

 

Tom Butts: All right, thank you. Let’s give our panelists a round of applause. A great discussion on a technology that’s only going to get more ubiquitous, I think. Thank you.

 

Jim Jachetta: Thank you very much.

 

Chris Crump: Thank you.

 

Fred Poole: Thank you.