More than just selling cable


Chris Smeeton - new TV-Bay Magazine
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Choices facing technology decision-makers are becoming increasingly complex due to rapid changes in the industry like broadcast and IP technology convergence, multiplatform demands, and the rise of 4K and 8K. It is now a constant challenge to balance the need to maintain already-installed equipment and fulfil the desire to provide the highest resolution picture and sound.

This challenge is no more evident than in the Outside Broadcast (OB) market. OB firms have been operating in an increasingly competitive environment and are now hampered by ambiguity around which technology should be adopted, and when it should be rolled out. Engineers constantly have to breathe new life into legacy equipment that was originally designed to handle HD-SDI but must now become 4K- or 8K-capable. Fortunately, the industry's supply chain is also evolving by becoming more service-oriented. For a distributor like Argosy, that has meant undergoing a variety of organizational shifts that have enabled us to accommodate the increasingly unique nature of each project.

The most modest of these shifts was a renewed focus on consultative selling. There are plenty of options that many broadcasters just aren't aware of when it comes to balancing quality and cost. For example, fibre is usually the go-to cable type when upgrading to 4K. In the OB realm this applies to critical signals running to and from mobile production vehicles at live sporting events. However, standard coax is actually adequate for 4K signals over shorter cable runs -- across rack-rooms, for example.

In the case of an OB truck with coaxial cable inside, the run lengths will be relatively short, meaning legacy equipment can be used and complemented with 4K hardware. So, instead of throwing out the existing equipment and starting again at great cost, suppliers are focused on providing engineers some insight and guidance on what the existing coaxial solution is capable of: Does it need replacing? Do certain lengths need to be re-run? What cable options are available?

 

A recent solution we employed for OB vehicles was advocating for installation of the Image 360 cable, a lighter and thinner product than the traditionally used Image 2000. This alternative solution will handle 4K within a truck, while taking up less room in the cable tray and inside the racks, and at a much lower cost. A simple cable replacement improved the ease of install and decreased the customer's procurement and operating costs.

 
 

Many suppliers have also sought to improve their ability to react to unique operational needs. For example, OB companies are constantly seeking new ways to reduce rigging and de-rigging times at events. Collaborating with a client led to the development of a deployable case assembly. This pre-terminated cable maintains high signal quality but brings additional value by reducing labour time onsite, one of the largest costs of an install project.

Perhaps these changes are representative of those in the middle of the chain shifting their focus from simply delivering products to delivering business solutions. One pain point for OB operators is the propensity to return from an event with damaged cables. In theory, this is a great problem for a supplier. But, it impacts the customer's profitability, and therefore the supplier's long-term outlook as well. In response, we launched cleaning and repair services for damaged cables, seeking to maximise their life-cycle. While not as immediately gainful as the sale of a new cable, it prevents clients from having to renew their stock at greater cost and demonstrates supplier commitment to providing commercially sound support. Again, a solution for the outside broadcaster's ROI, not just product delivery.

To support this shift in focus, it's important that a cable supplier invests in additional infrastructure to meet these ongoing demands. We invested in a fibre termination facility with a clean room, fibre connectivity, and a splicing and polishing machine to enable the termination of multi-way fibres. An assembly department also develops, builds, and tests products to ensure they reach certain distances, with test and measurement equipment to validate signals on various type of equipment, fostering our ability to consult with our broadcast customers.

Cabling is now an area where OBs are actively approaching suppliers for help in maximising existing investments. This has presented an opportunity to reinforce the value experts bring in a particular field (like cabling), transforming companies like Argosy from pure product shifters into service providers.

 
 
 

Tags: iss123 | argosy | cable | infrastructure | hd-sdi | 4k | coaxial | Chris Smeeton - new
Submitted by Chris Smeeton - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
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Submitted by Paul Hooper Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
MAM needs to adapt or die
Tim Child The media landscape has shifted dramatically over recent years. Content providers are under increasing pressure to deliver compelling content to multiple platforms. Also, the production and distribution of video is no longer limited to traditional broadcasters, which face rising competition from a range of media providers. We are also seeing a massive increase in video being produced to broadcast quality by companies using it for other purposes, such as marketing, site surveys, internal communications, and a whole host of other applications.
Tags: iss121 | mam | cantemo | hybrid cloud | virtual reality | Tim Child
Submitted by Tim Child Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
6 Misapprehensions of MAM
Julian Wright Implementing a media management system is considered to be a risky business. The perceived complexity, upheaval and perception of failure can be so daunting that the risk may seem to outweigh the reward. But, like so many business technologies, MAM have been transformed in recent years and it's time to debunk some common MAM myths.
Tags: iss121 | mam | blue lucy | capex | Julian Wright
Submitted by Julian Wright Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mr MXF thinks the future is made of components
Bruce Devlin The recent SMPTE IMF plugfest that was kindly hosted by Fox in Burbank gave the vendors, users and content owners a chance to discuss the fine details of the IMF standard and to get excited about where it will take the Post Production community.
Tags: iss121 | imf | smpte | plugfest | st 2067 | class | Bruce Devlin
Submitted by Bruce Devlin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Outside the fixed curriculum
Emma Benson If you're wondering whether or not to do some extracurricular work outside of your timetabled course, the answer should always be yes. The more you further your experience and skills the brighter your future will look
Tags: iss121 | citv | portsmouth university | student | Emma Benson
Submitted by Emma Benson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Dick finds the truth out there
Dick Hobbs. The Oxford English Dictionary has determined that its word of the year for 2016 was "post-truth". We'll skip over the fact that it is, clearly, two words.
Tags: iss121 | dick hobbs | michael gove | smpte | fake news | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Sully - Grading a miracle
Maxine Gervais We all know the story. On 15 January 2009 an Airbus A320 took off from LaGuardia airport in New York, heading for Charlotte. Just a couple of minutes later the plane flew through a flock of Canada geese and blew out both engines. Knowing the risk of crashing into heavily populated areas, Captain Chesley Sullenberger - Sully - aimed for the only long flat surface he could see: the Hudson River.
Tags: iss121 | sully | grading | filmlight | Maxine Gervais
Submitted by Maxine Gervais Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
You need more damn pixels
Jan Weigner There has obviously been a lot of chatter in recent years about 4K, but is it enough? 8K and beyond is where the excitement lies, but not in the way you might think. 8K and beyond for broadcast, both of which are easily achievable in a software-only, IP environment, may seem a bridge too far for most at the moment, and they're probably right¦for now.
Tags: iss120 | cinegy | 8k | more pixels | vr | Jan Weigner
Submitted by Jan Weigner Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Trends in IP based broadcast
Glodina Lostanlen The momentum behind moving media operations to IP-based environments is unstoppable and to stay ahead of the competition these days, companies need to be migrating operations away from rigid, single-purpose components and towards software-based common computing resources.
Tags: iss120 | ip broadcast | imagine | cots | SMPTE | AMWA | VSF | EBU | Glodina Lostanlen
Submitted by Glodina Lostanlen Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The world is not flat
David Schleifer The world is all around us. We have a lot of cues that make us aware of how we fit into a 3D space. Many of these cues, senses and reactions are survival instincts. For example, the ability to hear someone walk up behind us, to see movement in our peripheral vision, a sense of how we are oriented when we move our bodies or swivel our head. All of this creates an overwhelming amount of data that we seamlessly interpret as we go around our day getting our morning coffee, driving, walking through crowds, diving into pools, and everything that we as people do in our lives.
Tags: iss120 | vr | 3d | primestream | David Schleifer
Submitted by David Schleifer Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
80 years of broadcast and how far we have come
Neil Maycock The BBC delivered its first continual public broadcast 80 years ago, that included coverage of the BBC Television Orchestra and famous musical comedy star Adle Dixon. This was a world first heralding the beginning of continuous broadcasting in the UK and kicking off the broadcast industry's constant search for new ways to improve the accessibility and quality of television content.
Tags: iss120 | sam | snell | bbc | Neil Maycock
Submitted by Neil Maycock Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine