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ITV Studios Deploys Hybrid OB Vehicles for Increased Efficiency Complete with Combined LiveU Ka-band/Cellular Bonding Technology


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ITV Studios’ Daytime team – with programmes such as Good Morning Britain and This Morning – decided in 2017 that they wanted to reduce their environmental impact and after much research, opted to deploy a combination of hybrid fuel vehicles and LiveU technology to achieve their aim. LiveU UK partner Garland Partners worked closely with systems integrator Broadcast Wireless Systems to allow ITV Studios to achieve this.

ITV Studios’ Daytime team regularly rely on outside broadcasts from across the UK and Europe and had been using traditional satellite vehicles to broadcast live on location, covering tens of thousands of miles a year. Having completed their research, they opted for four Mitsubishi Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

However, they also wanted to increase the efficiency of their broadcast transmission technology, both in terms of less energy and also operational cost savings. Working with Garland, they deployed LiveU technology as the answer. LiveU’s solutions allow ITV to use both cellular and Ka-band satellite for added resilience and quality.

Each hybrid vehicle is IP-based and equipped with an auto-pointing Explorer 8100 satellite dish from Cobham that works to open up an internet data path to the on-board LiveU transmission equipment for areas where there is insufficient cellular coverage. Instead of beaming pictures out via satellite alone, the LiveU unit aggregates all available bandwidth and sends pictures back to ITV’s studio via multiple internet paths, where the signals are then reconstructed to present the programme content live and in low delay. Each vehicle is fitted with LiveU’s flagship LU600 model, with each unit also able to also be attached to a camera or carried in a backpack.

The LU600 is field upgradable to H.265 HEVC, continuing LiveU’s adoption of the latest encoding standards and providing support for Store and Forward using the same video card. This has allowed ITV to adopt the latest compression technology without having to reinvest in new hardware.

“With the total package, we’ve not only increased our efficiency, we’ve also gained agility — a key factor in keeping our viewers up to date with the latest news and events,” says Tim Guilder, Technology Manager, ITV Studios Daytime. “Because the LiveU solutions work outside the vehicle, we can remove them quickly when we need to follow a story on foot. If we can’t get parked or need to make our way through a crowd, we can take any of these LiveU solutions with us. This is how we could transmit an extended Good Morning Britain story from the scene of the Westminster attacks in London last year.”

Ronen Artman, VP or Marketing with LiveU, said, “This is an impressive development from ITV Studios and we’re very proud our technology is involved and with the work that Broadcast Wireless Systems and Garland have carried out. It’s good to see such a forward-thinking broadcaster in the market.”


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