AES 2018: Alteros Discusses Direct To Fiber Enhancements at the US Open Tennis Championships
Alteros, an Audio-Technica company, (booth 2D02) has made several announcements at AES 2018:
Direct-to-Fiber Range and Flexibility Enhancement
Since its introduction, the Alteros GTX 6.5 GHz Ultra Wide Band digital wireless microphone system has been successfully deployed and proven in high-profile broadcast event and live production environments. Alteros now introduces the Direct-to-Fiber extension to the system, providing radically enhanced range and flexibility to an already versatile system.
The standard GTX system allows up to 32 GTX32 transceivers to each be connected to a 3U GTX3224 control unit with up to 1000 feet of Cat 5 cable, creating a L.A.W.N. (local area wireless microphone network) system to communicate bidirectionally with up to 24 GTX24 wireless microphone transmitters – 24 microphone channels and 24 talkback channels with an additional eight group channels. With the introduction of the GTX3224F control unit version, 16 rear-panel Cat 5 transceiver ports are replaced with six fiber ports. Fiber connections measured in miles instead of feet can connect the control unit to up to six GTX-FX8 8-port fiber breakout nodes for remote Cat 5 connection to the network and power for to up to 48 GTX32 transceivers (up to 16 GTX32s can be connected directly to the GTX3224F by Cat 5 for a total capability of 64). The result is a system that can cover extremely large venues, and multiple locations within a venue, as was proven with ESPN’s successful deployment of the Alteros Direct-to-Fiber GTX system for coverage of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships.
“To take advantage of IP-based workflow efficiency, fiber infrastructure is being adopted in new and retrofitted production facility and event venue construction,” notes Jackie Green, Alteros president and chief technology officer. The Alteros Direct-to-Fiber system communicates directly on such networks without conversion. While other manufacturers of wireless systems are beginning to deploy RF over fiber, those systems require an RF to fiber conversion. “Any time there is a conversion,” says Green, “the system suffers from possible jitter, resolution degradation, signal loss, increased latency, and generally negative effects on the sound quality. Our system is already natively digital, and we communicate directly without the need for conversion and the potential for negative conversion artifacts. Using our wireless microphone system over fiber will result in sound quality at the system output that is superior to RF over fiber and even over direct-wire analog.”
Given the sweeping changes in RF allocations in the television spectrum, where traditional wireless microphone technologies are facing a spectrum squeeze, the Alteros GTX system provides fresh innovation and solutions. Operating in interference-free spectrum using true-digital, UWB pulse signals and state-of-the-art MESH and network technology, solid and reliable performance is achieved with no continuous carrier and no intermodulation distortion. A 500 MHz signal bandwidth allows uncompromised and unprecedented sound quality. With the addition of the Alteros Direct-to-Fiber system, GTX technology can now be applied to an enormously extended range of applications.
The GTX3224F and GTX-8 hardware will be available November 2018.
Direct-to-Fiber Implementation and the Broadcast of the US Open Tennis Championships
After a successful trial run of its GTX 6.5GHz UWB wireless microphone system last year at the US Open Tennis Championships in New York, Alteros upped its game for 2018. Utilizing the enhanced range and flexibility provided by the new Alteros Direct-to-Fiber system, host broadcaster ESPN was able to quickly set up and cover multiple locations with Alteros’ great sounding interference-free wireless microphone coverage.
The standard GTX system allows up to 32 GTX32 transceivers to each be connected to the GTX3224 control unit with up to 1000 feet of Cat 5 cable, creating a L.A.W.N. (local area wireless microphone network) system to communicate bidirectionally with up to 24 GTX24 wireless microphone transmitters – 24 microphone channels and 24 talkback channels with an additional eight group channels. With the introduction of the GTX3224F, fiber connections measured in miles instead of feet can connect the control unit to GTX-FX8 8-port nodes for remote Cat 5 connection to up to 48 GTX32 transceivers (up to 16 GTX32s can be connected directly to the GTX3224F by Cat 5 for a total capability of 64), resulting in the ability to cover larger spaces and multiple locations.
While the Direct-to-Fiber system would allow coverage anywhere within the Arthur Ashe Stadium (the largest tennis stadium in the world), three areas were covered with the Alteros GTX3224F system for the 2018 U.S. Open: practice court #1 and the broadcast sets at both the Stadium courtyard and practice courts. The Alteros GTX3224F main fiber control unit was housed in the safe convenience of the ESPN Technical Operations Center. Fiber then connected to the remote locations where GTX-FX8 8-port fiber nodes supplied control and power. The high-resolution audio remained uncompromised and fully digital – 48 kHz/24-bit – throughout the system.
The GTX Direct-to-Fiber system fits perfectly into the IP-based and networked structures increasingly adopted by broadcasters for high-quality efficient production.