Broadcasters rank technology vendors for value

Broadcasters rank technology vendors

What do you consider value?

Are you getting enough value from your technology providers?

In today’s economic climate, broadcast professionals are now more than ever looking for value when they purchase technology products.

But “value” is a highly subjective metric, which is related to, but not necessarily equal to, cost. Sure, for some respondents, value might mean low price, but for others, it might mean superior price/performance or peace of mind in mission-critical environments, regardless of the price.

What do you consider value in satellite news gathering or satellite uplink systems?  Do you look for reliability? Reputation? Versatility? Customer Support?  Low Price?

Find out which vendors ranked highest in the broadcast industry. See Broadcast Engineering’s report:

Broadcasters rank technology vendors for value.

Posted in TV Industry News | Leave a comment

Hurricane Earl Heads Toward East Coast – Time to Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Hurricane Earl is heading toward a potential East Coast impact.  The Virgin Islands and parts of Puerto Rico are under hurricane advisories as the storm moves closer.   Is your business prepared for potential impacts with a disaster recovery plan?

Hurricane Earl Heads Toward East Coast

Don’t wait for an imminent disaster to test your disaster recovery plan.  Disasters can happen without warning and even when you do have time, the days and hours before will be spent in last minute preparations, safety concerns and maybe even evacuations.

Frequent testing and training on your disaster recovery plan ensures that employees know what to do and feel more comfortable in an emergency situation and can improve business continuity.

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Secure Corporate Communications | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Does Your Insurance Cover Satellite Communciations Services?

Its been there in the back of your mind, the disaster recovery plan.  Nagging at you, you know you need one, but there’s always something more urgent vying for your attention… Until you notice a news reports of a tropical storm gaining force.    Fortunately, Hurricane Danielle is taking a turn out to sea in the Atlantic, far from the East Coast of the USA.  Yet Tropical Storm Earl is sneaking up behind, a possible threat.  And another tropical weather system leaves us wondering…will Tropical Storm Fiona be close behind?

Now that you’re thinking about your disaster recovery plan, how will you pay for it?  One suggestion is to check into your insurance coverage.  Can you get a business interruption policy which will cover the cost of an emergency backup communications system?

Satellite uplinks are a lifeline when terrestrial communications are destroyed, yet dedicated satellite space for your critical communications doesn’t come at the cost of an extra cell phone line.  Since in a crisis situation users flock to satellite communications services, dedicated bandwidth is especially important to ensure that your data, video and voice traffic pass without being impacted by network congestion.

One possibility you can explore to defray the cost of emergency communications is insurance coverage.  Does your carrier offer a business interruption policy which would cover the operating expenses?  Can it be included as a part of your business’s wind or flood policy? By exploring some of these creative options, you may find that implementing a disaster recovery plan is more affordable than you thought.

How much is it worth to your business to continue operations, continue customer service or access critical information during a crisis situation?   Before you think it’s too expensive, ask about services with low recurring fees, usage based billing and explore insurance coverages.

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Secure Corporate Communications | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Broadcast Quality Video Over IP? Yes, its here!

Doubters and cynics beware, video over the internet is becoming a reality.  Not just webstreaming amateur videos and TV shows, but real, honest broadcast quality video can be transmitted via public internet.

How you ask?  An excellent question.  And certainly there are limitations but imagine scenarios where perhaps you show brief video clips from on a regular basis, where you can get a high quality, but not private internet connection and where there is no on air talk back from the studio.  Maybe your morning shot of the freeway traffic or weather report backdrops or times when you want to send video content to another location for rebroadcast.   Internet is a viable possibility using Fujitsu’s ARQ technology.

Sending video over public internet presents unique challenges over sending video in the private internet environment.  Public internet is subject to variations in traffic volume, latency and changes in the routing of traffic, all of which can cause loss of video data and the dreaded frozen video, dropped frames or other intolerable quality problems.   Overcoming those variations in public internet paths, Fujitsu developed Automatic RereQuest (ARQ), a proprietary function which can resend lost data packets and keep video running smoothly, even over public internet connections.

ARQ works in tandem with the commonly used Forward Error Correction (FEC) to keep data flowing accurately.  What is the difference?  FEC sends along a pattern with the data allowing the receiving side to reconstruct lost data packets.  ARQ asks the sending side to resend packets not received.  For maximum efficiency, use both technologies to ensure video quality.

You may still be shaking your head about using non-private IP links for data.   To be sure, testing at various times of the day, peak and off-peak traffic times, and over a period of time is required to be certain that enough bandwidth will be consistently available and that your encoder/decoder settings are optimized for the link you have.  If you are willing to have a little patience for the testing process though, you can have the benefits of an affordable and convenient video transmission link.

Posted in TV Industry News, Video Over Internet | Leave a comment

Have No Fear, Supergirl is Here! Supergirl Pro Junior Live Satellite Webcast

If you can’t be there on the sand Saturday, August 14 to watch the exciting Supergirl Pro Junior surfing competition at the Oceanside Pier, grab your sunglasses and flipflops anyway.  You won’t miss a minute of the action watching the live webcast stream at Supergirljam.com.

Auxiliary Productions and ASA Entertainment contracted with On Call Communications to provide an IP satellite uplink from the sand.   On Call provided an automated QuickSPOT portable ku band antenna to contribute the live webcast content from the beach to the content distributor.

A variety of action sports websites will carry the live webcast including: ASP.com, BNQT.com, ESPN.com, Foxsports.com, Freecaster.tv, GrindTV.com, Surfline.com, Supergirl.com and SupergirlJam.com.

The Supergirl Pro Junior features the top female surfers under the age of 20 in an exciting contest in conjunction with the Annual Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest.  The Supergirl Pro Junior is part of the Supergirl Jam series of surf, skate and snowboard events.  Admission is free.  The contest will air on Fox Sports Net and Fuel TV in the fall.  For more event details visit the Supergirl Jam website.

Posted in Case Studies, On Call on Site, Webcasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Downsizing TV News Broadcasters Find Upside With Automated Satellite News Gathering

Continued pressure on broadcasters budgets spurs creativity.   A July 30 article by Broadcast Engineering, highlights industry layoffs and the ideas both broadcasters and reporters are employing in a changing news market, even creating competition for one another.

Ironically, automated satellite news gathering systems could be game changers for both the broadcast stations and independent reporters who want to broadcast live news.

Automation has simplified satellite uplinks in the field so that now a cameraman or reporter can operate the uplink while taking virtually no time away from his or her other responsibilities.    Two or even one person teams can cover a live news story for broadcast or webcast easily.

For stations that can mean cost savings by allowing smaller staffs to produce live news shots.  Remotely controlling news van operations from the studio helps control costs and relieves reporters and other field personnel.

For independent stringers, cameramen and reporters, automated satellite news gathering can be an opportunity to compete with larger news groups.  The triple combination of automated operation, low monthly equipment lease rates and pay only for what you use satellite access gives them a very low cost live news gathering solution.   Per feed teleport rental lets the independents deliver live or recorded news content to major video switching points where most major media outlets are connected.

Webcasting potentially offers the most immediate delivery of any news format since webcasts don’t need to wait for the 6 o’clock news show.  Live, streaming web news can be instantly delivered to multiple websites for real time viewing to virtually unlimited audiences.

Budget cuts don’t need to spell the end of live news coverage or quality live coverage.  Watch closely to see how new, innovative news formats and independent coverage sweep the industry.

See the Broadcast Engineering article:

Broadcasters continue layoffs; former staffers become news competitors.

Posted in Satellite News Gathering Videos, TV Industry News, Webcasting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hurricane Season has arrived. Is your Disaster Recovery Plan Ready to Deploy?

hurricanes per 100 years per the weather channel

We're heading into peak hurricane season

Although the Atlantic Basin hurricane season officially began on June 1, peak season is just now picking up.  Warm tropical waters have already sent hot, humid air churning throughout the center of the United States, spawning thunderstorms, flooding and even tornadoes in Kentucky, Nebraska, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota already this month.   Do you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan and backup communications system ready to deploy in your company or community?

What are some steps you can take to prepare for a possible natural disaster?

  • Think through the potential impacts.  What can you do if employees can’t get to work?  How can they work from their homes or hotel rooms?
  • What will you do if your offices are inundated by flood waters?  Do you have a secondary site with servers which can back up and allow uninterrupted access to information?
  • Can you rely on cellular phones if landlines go down?  Do you have satellite phones in case of emergency?
  • Can you temporarily move your headquarters to a mobile facility?  How can you establish internet connectivity, phone and fax communications for this facility?
  • How much will it cost you every day your communications systems are down?
  • Does everyone know what to do in this event?  Have they practiced the scenario?
  • Are you responsible for coordinating rescue efforts? Damage assessments?
  • How will you coordinate logistics for this effort?
  • Do you have a backup communications system?
  • Have you included satellite communications in your disaster recovery plan?

When landlines, cellular towers and internet services fail due to natural disasters, satellite is your lifeline.  Safely orbiting 23,000 miles above the earth, satellites are immune to the disasters we feel on the ground and can restore cellular services, internet access, voice lines and private networks.

Portable satellite antennas can be safely stored indoors during severe weather and then rolled out after the storm.  Automated deployment means that anyone in a company, even the janitor, can be trained to establish vital communications links in minutes.    Pre-configured and tested electronics are already integrated into the network and can begin securely passing information to other data centers, the internet or corporate applications ensuring communications for logistics planning, damage assessments and business continuity.

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Secure Corporate Communications, Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secure Satellite Internet Lets You Connect an Entire Field Team to Your Corporate Intranet From Anywhere in the World

You’ve heard the warnings, don’t enter your PIN number over a hotel internet connection! Never send private information over an unsecured internet connectio! How do you secure that information when you have to connect over a link with unknown security?

In the corporate world most of us have been trained to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. A VPN establishes an encrypted link between your computer and the VPN server allowing you to securely access your email accounts, corporate applications and other private information. VPN’s work well for single users over terrestrial connections, but happens when you have a group of simultaneous users or need to use satellite?

VPN’s require additional bandwidth every time data is sent or received because they have to encrypt the data. When you have multiple users the additional bandwidth for each user can create a traffic jam and slow the flow of data, especially over smaller links.

When you run data networks over satellite though, VPN’s slow traffic flow to a crawl sometimes cause timeout errors in latency sensitive applications. We frequently hear from new clients that their software applications fail over satellite. Do you have to choose between security and network speed?

No! You can securely access your corporate intranet and successfully run software programs such as accounting, graphic design or monitoring applications in a fast AND secure environment, even for many simultaneous users. How?

Think of it as a macro approach to network security. Instead of giving each computer its own encrypted tunnel to operate in, create a single large tunnel for all the secure traffic to flow through. Why does this work better?

For starters, by using a single tunnel, much of the excess overhead is eliminated. This frees up bandwidth for data use.

Second, by running all traffic through a single tunnel, Quality of Service parameters, traffic shaping and other resource management techniques can be employed to optimize network usage.

Most importantly, this method allows internet traffic to be accelerated over the satellite link effectively eliminating the timeout delays in software applications.

You can securely access your corporate intranet from anywhere in the world with a secure data network connection over satellite. From small 256 Kb/s links to 10 M/bs+ networks you do not need to sacrifice speed for security. Most any application work effectively with the proper hardware and traffic management controls.

Posted in Secure Corporate Communications, Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ontario, CA Fourth of July Parade Shows Small Markets Don’t Need To Miss Out on Broadcasting Live Events

Satellite uplink system delivers the Ontario Fourth of July Parade

Community events like parades, festivals and sporting events should be shared with the broadest possible audience regardless of the size of the community.  Smaller cities may be under the perception that live TV broadcasts are too costly but for special events, On Call Communications satellite uplink services are designed to make broadcasting affordable for communities of all sizes.

Fourth of July weekend we assisted Magnolia Street Productions with the Ontario Fourth of July Parade by providing a live satellite uplink service using MPEG-4 Standard Definition video and Windows Media 9.  The parade was broadcast live on KSWZ in San Bernardino and  webcast live via Todocast.

On Call provided the IP satellite link and video encoding to deliver the content to both venues.

With our QuickSPOT automated satellite antenna systems which are available for daily rentals, it doesn’t require big city resources to deliver live content to your audience.

Posted in Case Studies, On Call on Site | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

RTDNA – Radio Television Digital News Association – Awards – 2010 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners

Who delivered truly excellent news coverage in 2010?  Find out!

RTDNA – Radio Television Digital News Association – Awards – 2010 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners.

Posted in TV Industry News | Leave a comment