SpaceX’s Starlink Integration Delivers 4K HD LIVE Anywhere in Any Condition
The obstacles of live broadcasting in extreme weather conditions
Hurricane Ian rampaging through south Florida was the latest of the regular reminders of how little control we have over Mother Nature. For Broadcasters, severe weather always means obstacles to overcome. In the case of Ian, before landfall, it was impossible to predict the exact location of landfall and where they would need to ultimately place all their massive production satellite trucks in order to completely cover the coming devastation.
As one Chief Photographer from Tampa explained it, “Everyone ended up having tons of trucks and teams too far to the north based on the initial track but you have to get hotels, gas reserves, and food supplies for everyone ahead of landfall so you are stuck with the best guess.”
Once a storm hits and the damage is done, getting TV teams and trucks relocated is almost always exacerbated by everything from debris-covered and flooded roads to destroyed bridges. Over the last decade-plus, the adoption of cell phone signal aggregation or cellular bonding for live reporting using lunchbox-sized live streaming backpacks like the TVU One, has made live from anywhere a more manageable proposition.
No longer were the massive trucks and hardware required to broadcast live. The content coming from the most monumental landfalls ever captured and carried live, like Hurricane Katrina, was made possible by this “new” technology. The proliferation of 5G has only made signals stronger and more reliable for live coverage but one big broadcast obstacle remained and while strictly situational, it was insanely serious.
If cell towers and power, phone, and cable lines are down your live shot is dead. This is why every broadcast group continues to invest millions in satellite trucks. Satellites are in no way impacted by the events on Earth.
“Those shots never fail. Across the industry, for us and our customers, and our competitors, the fear of weather, tower troubles, cellular saturation, or just plain bad luck taking out shots is omnipresent. Doing the same thing was getting the same results for everyone. The moment required a new way to think, so we ended up working with SpaceX and StarLink.”Paul Shen, CEO of TVU Networks
Adding Starlink capabilities to the TVU One’s existing aggregation of the strongest available 5G, 4G, WiFi, Ethernet, Ka-Band, Ku-band, microwave, and/or BGAN signals made a very reliable solution basically bulletproof. In the battle for bandwidth, by adding StarLink, TVU networks ensured their units connect and contribute live content in any condition anywhere.
Starlink integration with TVU One – Tested, Taken, and Totally Trusted.
When it comes to communications, crowds often mean the saturation of cellular networks. For consumers that can lead to unmakeable and dropped calls. For broadcasters, it means unusable live shots as every single cell phone battles for bandwidth.
This is exactly what France Télévisions faced heading into Queen Elizabeth’s funeral coverage. The English media coverage and the security associated with the event itself ruled out the use of live traditional vans and satellite trucks. The crowds expected made it clear cell service was going to be non-existent. Something had to be done.
Having heard of TVU’s unique ability to utilize StarLink through Magic Hour, France Télévisions thought it might be the right solution, but it had to be “battle tested” first. Into extreme transmission conditions in various parts of Ukraine, the TVU One went. It never faltered. Same in Corsica. The TVU One with StarLink was certified by the technical teams of France Télévisions.
TVU Networks provided transmission packs allowing the routing of signals via Starlink and reception servers to increase the bandwidth traffic needs of the France Télévisions news control room. When the time came for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, they knew they would be ready for anything.
“TVU Networks Starlink configuration has brought us to the crossroads of technology and history. The certainty of being able to serve our audience anywhere without fail and focus on the storytelling is priceless. It is impossible not to be very proud of what we accomplished.”Romuald Rat, News Production Director for France Télévisions
While others lost shots, France Télévisions was flawless. They are now clearly and fully able to have continuous live broadcasts from every location they want to be.
Making every live broadcast a success
The collaboration with Starlink is the latest step by TVU to make it faster and easier for broadcasters all over the world to get live footage to their newsrooms. TVU Network’s patented IS+ technology aggregates multiple separate signals into a single redundant stream.
“With so many different ‘flavors’ of signal being aggregated it is essentially like 12 fire hoses each connected to their own fire hydrant, all turned on full blast and going into one bigger hose. Turn one off and there is still way more water flowing than you could ever need. Same with bandwidth.”Matt McEwen – TVU’s VP of Product Management
Freeing its users from cellular saturation and putting an end to instability, which is the main cause of signal degradation in many live broadcasting situations.
The broadcast technology company isn’t stopping with SpaceX and Starlink’s integration. TVU leadership is clear that the company is open to integrating any technologies that advance storytelling. Covering the entire media supply chain and ensuring everyone’s success is the ultimate goal. For those looking to take advantage of cloud solutions and optimize live video productions with the leading tech in the industry, check out our broadcasting equipment to get you started.
“For 17 years, TVU Networks solutions motto has been make every live shot a success, but we must provide solutions at all levels. Success is about more than delivering content from point A to point B. It’s about saving time, money, resources, and stress so that our partners have better control over their content. That is the DNA of TVU Networks.”Paul Shen, CEO of TVU Networks