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Teradek Cube offers a new alternative for news backhaul

An important update to Teradek’s Cube series of HD-SDI encoders means news organizations now have a cost-effective and flexible alternative for delivering HD video to the broadcaster over the internet, with the backup of mobile connectivity if required.

There is currently no single answer to the question of the backhaul of news feeds from the field. Satellite uplinks are expensive; microwave-equipped ENG vans are inconvenient. The portable units that stream over multiple cellular links tend to be heavy, costly to operate and rely on mobile network availability. With its new software, TDK5.0, Teradek's Cube offers a new, elegant solution.

Teradek's diminutive Cube attaches quickly to a camera and encodes the signal as H.264. The device transmits the file over any IP network, either wired or wireless. The new addition of adaptive streaming technology means that Cube's optional MPEG-TS streaming mode will constantly and automatically adjust bitrate, frame rate and buffer controls in real-time to match the quality of the network connection. This overcomes one of the concerns of using public networks – that of varying bandwidth – and reduces the need for the production team continually to monitor and re-set the data rates to maintain signal integrity.

Cube features RTP push to broadcast either to a particular IP address (a decoder located at the station) or to a content delivery network (CDN), such as Livestream which is a pre-configured option in the device settings. The recent introduction of RTMP support gives increased flexibility and simplicity of ownership by enabling Cube very easily to connect to most popular CDNs in any territory in the world.

Richard Payne of Holdan, the UK, Ireland & Benelux distributor of Teradek noted: “For fast set up and simple operation, the Cube has few competitors. The quality it can deliver over public networks is good but it is the portability and intelligent encoding engine that will really appeal to broadcasters.

The imminent arrival of 4G mobile networks in Europe 2011 means that journalists will be able to use a tethered device or dongle to transmit a compressed HD signal from virtually anywhere with a Cube. Until 3G is upgraded, Cube can be used by news organisations to transmit a low resolution SD signal over the existing mobile network.

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Published: 12th October 2011