TVU Quadlock helps Mercedes do ‘Live Drive’ launch of Actros

“Having worked with other bonded cellular video links over the past decade, we were impressed at the maturity and feature set of the TVU packs and software. The quad-HD solution is very cost effective compared to competitive solutions, and TVU is the leader in this field”.

Paul Dengate
Managing Director
OnAir Solutions

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Background 

Usually when a truck vendor releases a new vehicle, they encourage large fleet owners to have a Drive Day, where they send their senior drivers along to spend time with the new vehicle design in order to get a feel for the new technology and how it might help their business. But with the COVID19 lockdown causing increased social distancing and restrictions on international travel, this kind of vehicle release is not possible.

Mercedes-Benz decided to introduce a new “LiveDrive” concept for a customer launch for the new range of Actros trucks in Australia and New Zealand. They wanted to do this by live streaming a drive in the new truck as it traveled from Melbourne to Daylesford in Victoria. Their advertising agency Publicis, hired Be Productions, a company based in Northern Sydney that specialises in immersive events and high-quality digital projection activations, and OnAir Solutions that has expertise in contribution and distribution of Radio and TV content. The technology support and live transmission was provided by TVU Networks.

Problem

The challenge was to transmit five live 1080p synchronized camera feeds from the truck that is driving along the highway at up to 100km/h outside Melbourne to a control room in Sydney where it would be switched and delivered live via IP to potential customers. Stability of the transmission, source synchronization, audio-video lip sync, high picture quality and low latency were all important aspects for the production. System encoding also had to be efficient as bandwidth was mainly limited to just available LTE/3G connectivity along the highway.  It was also important that the producers in the Sydney studio communicate with the crew on the truck.

Solution 

TVU Networks’ new QuadLock solution saved the day for the production team. QuadLock is an optional interface that can be paired with a TVU One 4K portable cellular uplink transmitter.  The DC powered interface allows connection of four 3G-SDI (1080p) inputs, which are then muxed together as a single 12G-SDI signal and connected to a TVU One 4K. It is then transmitted via TVU Networks’ renowned IS+ transmission protocol as a full resolution 4K50/60P signal using HEVC compression to a TVU 4K Transceiver.  

At the Transceiver, the 4K signal is demuxed back to four discreet 1080p sources maintaining full synchronization.  An additional TVU One was also running TVU Router which aggregated bandwidth to supply fast internet connectivity to the truck including providing bandwidth for the fifth HD camera source (IP camera) allowing for a very elegant and cost effective solution. OnAir Solutions also used talkback from the TVU One pack to the receiver in order to coordinate production in the moving vehicle. 

All five, live 1080p camera sources were then mixed at the OnAir Solutions studio in Sydney and output from the TVU Transceiver went directly to Facebook Live for potential customers to watch the stream live. Since the entire production was live, it was possible for customers to interact with crews on the truck as it drove along the highway at up to 100kmh.  TVU One 4K and QuadLock are the only solutions available on the market today that could have accomplished this project.  

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