May 25, 2014
Cogent Technologies, a leader in live video contribution technologies, has announced that the major US communications provider CP Communications has deployed Cogent’s all-new CamCaster bonded-cellular mobile transmitter for US national broadcaster NBC’s coverage of the recent cycle race.
Held this year from May 11th to 18th, the Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines. Competitors chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions.
From iconic ocean vistas to mountaintop finishes to desert landscapes, the cyclists cover more than 720 miles of beautiful and varying California terrain as they ride from the north to the south of the state in the annual competition.
The race – which this year attracted over 250 professional riders and approximately 10,000 spectators for each stage – was covered by a combination of technologies. CP Communications transmitted the event live using microwave from motos riding alongside the riders, via a fixed wing aircraft ‘repeater’ at high altitude. Supplementing this was a Cogent CamCaster bonded cellular transmitter installed on a ‘chase’ helicopter, flying at a lower altitude and providing HD video whilst operating over up to 6x 4G connections.
Jeff Winemiller from the communications company CP Communications says, “When we were preparing for this production we turned to Cogent as we had witnessed a very impressive live demonstration of their CamCaster at the recent NAB broadcast exhibition in Las Vegas. Having worked with Cogent on studying 4G network coverage over the route, we believed that the CamCaster would be able to stream reliably in High Definition for much of the course, even from a helicopter.
This did indeed prove to be the case. In fact, the HD quality and availability of the stream from the CamCaster proved to be so good that we actually used it to provide virtually all of the content from the chase helicopter, in preference to our usual microwave downlink system.”
Simon Clifford, Director of Sales & Marketing says, “A combination of factors, such as the stunning HD performance, compact size and ease of installation of our product, coupled with excellent 4G network coverage, made the deployment of a CamCaster irresistible on this occasion.
Installation of the unit into the helicopter was extremely straightforward, with the additional benefit that we could operate from a single docking battery rather than connect to the helicopter’s power supply. Once deployed, it became clear that the use of a bonded cellular solution on the 4G network offered terrific advantages over a traditional microwave solution in terms of range and operation without line of sight. Prestigious sporting events such as the Tour of California are obvious candidates to benefit from the CamCaster and we’re delighted that a major US broadcast communications Company chose to adopt our technology.”