Launched in January 1995 by pro golf icon Arnold Palmer and cable entrepreneur Joe Gibbs, Golf Channel was the first single-sport cable network in the United States. Now available in 84 countries and 11 languages, the network has expanded its reach globally into more than 200 million homes. Golf Channel recently increased its inventory of Pliant Technologies' Tempest wireless intercom systems for use in its newest production suite, the Newsroom.
"Golf Channel has four studio areas," says Patrick Jones, Senior Broadcast Engineer, Golf Channel. "We have three main studios and just added the Newsroom set, which utilizes our latest Tempest system. We've had Tempest in place since 2007 when we replaced our old intercom system. At the time, we needed an upgrade that would give us better overall coverage for our facility and Tempest provided the solution."
The new Tempest equipment in the Newsroom increases the total number of BaseStations in use at Golf Channel to five. "Studio-A has two bases and Studio-AP, Studio-C and the Newsroom each have one," says Jones. "All of our studios and surrounding areas are covered and the Tempest system interfaces with our existing matrix frame as well as an Ethernet connection for the GUI (Tempest T-Desk Software)."
Tempest wireless intercoms are available for license-free operation in the 2.4GHz band worldwide and the 900MHz band in North America. Tempest systems do not require frequency coordination, nor are they subject to the typical interference issues with analog RF signals.
An exclusive benefit of Tempest2400 is its unique Seamless Roaming feature. Similar in concept to cell phone operation, a user with a Tempest BeltStation can move from one BaseStation's coverage area to another without any user intervention. The BeltStation's intelligent design constantly monitors the signal data quality between BaseStation and BeltStation; if it drops below a certain level, the BeltStation searches for a better RF connection. A single BeltStation can roam between as many as 16 different 'zones' or RF coverage areas, resulting in coverage across greater distances than any other wireless intercom product.
Seamless Roaming is made possible through use of Pliant's ZSync technology, which provides a sophisticated synchronization signal that coordinates the frequency hopping patterns of all connected BaseStations. There are two different ZSync devices available depending on the application. The ZSync Dongle provides the synchronization signal to multiple Tempest2400 BaseStations using a DB9 connector in a loop-through configuration. The 1U rackmount ZSync Parallel Signal Generator connects directly to as many as 12 BaseStations, enabling any BaseStation to be removed or powered off without interruption of the sync source. Multiple Parallel Sync Generators may be linked to support larger installations.
"We sometimes use multiple studios for the same production," explains Jones, "and having to go back and forth between each studio takes time. Seamless Roaming is huge for us. Prior to using Tempest, the crew would have to manually switch bases as they moved from studio to studio. With Seamless Roaming they can move freely between studios and seamlessly change BaseStations. It fits perfectly into our workflow and doesn't conflict with the Shure Axient wireless microphones or the Lectrosonics wireless IFBs that we use across the four studios.
"When we originally purchased our first Tempest system," concludes Jones, "it was state-of-the-art and no other system could compete. That's still true today and is why we continue to use Tempest, because it doesn't conflict with any of our other equipment, it's easy to use and provides the coverage we need."
More information about Pliant Technologies is available at www.plianttechnologies.com.