What is a Mobile Video Transmitter and What Does it Do?
With the acquisition of Aviwest earlier this year, an industry leader and pioneer in the transmission of live video over cellular networks, Haivision has expanded its solutions portfolio to include mobile IP-based video contribution systems. In this post, we’ll cover what a bonded cellular or mobile video transmitter is, how it works, how it differs from a fixed or “wired” video encoder, and explore their respective use cases.
What is a Mobile Video Transmitter?
Mobile video encoders with cellular capabilities are often referred to as mobile transmitters, field transmission or production units, video transmitters, or even bonded cellular encoders. It’s a device that enables broadcast video transmission over 4G and 5G cellular networks. Used in challenging or remote environments when IP network connectivity is either unknown or unpredictable or simply not practical, a mobile video transmitter leverages cellular modems to encode and deliver broadcast-quality video at low latency.
When is Mobile Video Transmitter Used?
In situations where there is access to a reliable private IP network, fixed cameras can be directly connected to broadcast equipment using SDI or Ethernet cables for SMPTE ST-2110 or NDI. When a private network is not an option, but the camera is fixed in one place, then using a real-time video encoder, such as the Makito X4, that supports SRT over the internet can also be a good option. However, if internet access is limited or unavailable, or if a camera needs to be portable, a mobile video transmitter is a perfect choice. Mobile video transmitters offer broadcasters greater flexibility, making it simple to expand their transmission capacities using cellular connectivity for:
- Live Sports – the larger the venue, the harder it is to get cabling everywhere whether it’s skiing, cycling, or car races, mobile video encoders allow broadcasters to deliver remote, multi-camera coverage for enhanced live broadcasts and expanded coverage of events.
- News Gathering – always be “news-ready” with portable, cost-effective, and reliable video solutions that can be easily used from any location around the world.
- Live Entertainment – for music and cultural festivals where no networking resources are available.
In these use cases, mobile video transmission over bonded cellular and 5G offers the benefit of broadcast-quality video at sub-second latency (as low as 200ms glass-to-glass), streamlined multi-camera production, increased flexibility and simplified logistics and can be delivered from anywhere.
How 5G Networks are Changing the Game for Broadcasters
It’s clear that there is a lot of excitement from broadcasters about unlocking the potential of 5G for enhancing live production. In fact, our 2022 Broadcast IP Transformation Survey revealed that 68% of broadcasters said that 5G tops the list of technologies that will most impact broadcasters within the next 5 years. Offering significantly more capacity, lower latency, and better coverage than 4G, 5G is poised to make broadband internet access ubiquitous and extend IP-based workflows for any type of live event.
A massive uptick in the adoption of 5G technology for broadcast video applications is expected in 2022. Using 5G instead of fixed network connections will streamline production setups and make possible exciting new ways to capture video from mobile cameras, especially for live sports.
The initial phase of the 5G rollout, which is happening now, also known as NSA (non-standalone architecture) adds 5G mobile transmission technology to existing 4G core networks to boost bandwidth capacity by up to 50%. The second SA (stand-alone architecture) phase will take place over the next few years relies on a new 5G core network based on agile cloud and virtualized technologies, that will bring even greater bandwidth, lower latency, and a host of other innovations that will benefit broadcasters.
Aviwest’s Pro Series of mobile video transmitters are camera-mountable and enable low latency contribution over any network, leveraging real-time video encoding and cellular bonding and 5G to transmit live video over mobile networks. Designed for news gathering and live event production (sports, concerts, ceremonies) Aviwest field units combine pristine 4K/UHD or multi-camera production in HD with mission-critical transmission from anywhere around the world.
Simple to use, with a built-in LCD screen, users can start broadcasting live with just two taps of the touch screen. Aviwest Pro Series from Haivision offers pristine live video quality, low latency, optimal power consumption, weight and size for portable, on-the-move, in-vehicle, or fixed location contribution applications. Live video over mobile networks is powered and protected by a patented, Emmy-award-winning intelligent IP bonding technology, Safe Streams Transport (SST). SST simultaneously aggregates multiple network connections, dynamically adapts the video bitrate according to the network bandwidth fluctuations, protects stream content, and supports retransmission of lost data.
When is a Fixed IP Video Encoder Used?
If mobile video encoders are so flexible, when and why should dedicated IP video encoders be used? The answer is that if you can go wired, go wired. When wired networks are available, they will almost always be faster, less expensive when internet is available, and more reliable. However, if you have to go with a mobile video encoder, having the best bonded cellular solutions, access to 5G technology, lowest latency, the highest quality, and the most user-friendly option is your best choice.
Haivision’s award-winning technology offers our customers the best of both worlds, with a comprehensive solution portfolio for low latency video contribution over fixed and mobile networks. Customers benefit from maximum live video flexibility with ultra-low latency, highly-reliable network connectivity, and pristine video quality.
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