04 April, 2014 by IF


SYDNEY, 4 April 2014 – Having purchased seven TVUPack 8100 mobile wireless 3G/4G/LTE uplink backpacks from Magna Systems for its news and current affairs teams, SBS has been putting them to use covering events including Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent trip to Indonesia, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the recent bush fires in southern NSW.


SBS’s TVUPacks are based in their Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra studios for use by SBS and NITV reporters, with one pack also in London.

SBS Director of Technology and Distribution Noel Leslie said: “The TVUPacks allow for greater mobility, access, and immediacy in our reporting. For instance, when SBS was covering Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Indonesia, the packs gave our reporters immediate access to cover each event and remain in contact with SBS back in Australia.”

SBS purchased local SIM cards for this trip, meaning the reporter could file from each location instantly without needing satellite licences or any satellite time, as they only had to rely on cellular availability. The Canberra TVUPack and receiver were used, augmenting the other fibre kit SBS had for the trip. The camera crew on the ground supplied the signal to SBS back in Australia, which was then distributed out to all the other Australian networks via Telstra’s DVN SWISH network.

SBS uses the TVUPack 8100, a 3G/4G/LTE uplink solution for cameras with industry standard SDI and composite connections. The TVUPack 8100 is often used by broadcasters such as SBS to solve the common challenge of covering live breaking news from locations that are difficult or costly to access using traditional ENG technologies.

Leslie added, “One of the great things about using the TVUPacks is that we can manage them remotely from Master Control. In this way we can check levels and optimise settings to get the best quality. If the broadcast isn’t live we can adjust the delay and latency to improve the signal. If it’s going out live we use the lowest latency and always the best bit rates. 4G is always preferable to 3G but we can also use a combination of 4G and 3G cards if necessary as this boosts the bonded system the TVUPack uses. SBS Master Control also allocates and monitors the TVU receivers and can confirm when all is OK to start the broadcast. Most of the time the TVUPack solution performs quite brilliantly.”

In addition to the Prime Minister’s trip to Indonesia, SBS also used the TVUPacks during the recent NSW bush fires – something that could have been potentially problematic due to the lack of cellular coverage.

Leslie explained, “There was very little cellular signal but SBS was able to remotely manipulate the signal to and from the TVUPacks to such a degree that we could get a more than acceptable feed. There is also the added advantage of Master Control being able to change settings rather than requiring the cameraman to do it, as this means they can concentrate solely on getting the footage SBS needs. The TVUPack has a status screen so the camera operators could see the changes we were making during the bush fires, without it affecting their operation of the pack.”

TVU has also developed TVUAnywhere, an app that enables broadcasters to transmit quality live footage when a TVUPack isn't available. SBS used the TVUAnywhere app innovatively to broadcast footage from one of the yachts in the last Sydney to Hobart race.

Leslie said, “TVUAnywhere is very simple to use. During the last Sydney to Hobart race we had a camera operator on a yacht with the TVUAnywhere app, their smartphone and a laptop, which is turned instantly into a transmitter by the app. The camera operator was able to start transmitting live video immediately when required, but also made use of the TVUAnywhere’s ‘Store and Forward’ function whenever he was able to pre-record. It was a very efficient and effective solution for us in that instance, and resulted in excellent footage for SBS throughout the entire race.”