TV News May 2017


MAY 2017
Volume 4, Number 5

Got feedback or questions? Click my name below to send us an e-mail. You can also use the links at the top or bottom of the page to follow us on popular social networking sites and the tabs will take you to our most often visited pages.

-- Scott Johnson, Editor

Live Production Over the Long Haul


If you are planning to go the “At-Home” or REMI route for live production, your long-haul connectivity options between the remote venue and the home studio include six basic technologies ranging from legacy ATM to the more popular MPLS and WAN IP options.   

Here’s what you’ll need to know about each, according to Lon Neumann, Wheatstone Sales Engineer, who presented “Extending the IP Audio Network Across a WAN” at the recent NAB Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference. 

LonAtNabSONET, or SDH as it’s known in European countries, stands for Synchronous Optical Network and this technology uses dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) for transferring data on an optical network. SONET speeds start at 51.8 Mbps and can go up to and beyond OC-192 (9.953 Gbps). This is an effective, but often cost-prohibitive option for many broadcast applications.  

ATM, or Asynchronous Transfer Mode, was developed in the 1980s and was designed to be easily implemented on hardware in order to carry data on top of a SONET backbone. “Implementation on hardware rather than software seems rather quaint now, but at the time it allowed for a much faster transmission,” says Neumann.  ATM is connection-oriented, which requires the establishment of solid circuits that have to be verified prior to data flow. For this and other reasons, ATM usage has fallen off in favor of all-IP solutions. 

WAN IP is regarded as the de facto communications standard. It allows for the convergence of various services across a backbone. Its key distinguishing features include no bandwidth overhead needed for establishing connections in advance of transmitting data payload, easy provisioning, and excellent resiliency because the WAN IP has no fixed path and can easily route around failed links and nodes. WAN IP networks are extremely adaptable, offering traffic provisioning, QoS assurance and bandwidth management, and can be used for point-to-point, multipoint or secondary distribution.  

One popular option is MPLS, or Multi-Protocol Label Switching. Widely available, MPLS can greatly improve the exchange of IP packets over a raw circuit. It has a 32-bit header between OSI Layers 2 and 3, which contains labeling for directing data from one network node to the next without the need for long network addresses and routing tables. As such, MPLS is somewhat connection oriented and offers optional QoS features like traffic management. It is capable of high bandwidths and can be set up to act like an Ethernet link on a LAN. MPLS has largely replaced earlier Frame Relay technologies. 

WAN Ethernet is a dedicated point-to-point Ethernet link that is typically rated at 1Gbps. WAN Ethernet links are widely used as a cost-effective way to interconnect IP routers in a backbone. Ethernet gateways to IP routers help keep costs down. No special provisioning is required – IP protocol automatically discovers Ethernet addresses.  

Dark fiber is the gold standard of long-haul connectivity. These privately owned, unused fiber networks tend to allow the greatest amount of flexibility and control. However, a distinguishing feature of dark fiber is that it’s location-sensitive and not readily available. There are websites available for locating long-haul fiber routes, a popular one being

Once you establish a long-haul link between the home studio and a remote venue, you can then mix audio feeds from remote venues live at the home studio. You’ll need little more than a microphone and camera to capture the event at the sports arena or remote venue, and a small carrying case of network gear. For example, at the NAB, we set up a demo where audio routing, control, mixing and processing were all done over the WAN through Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP network of virtual audio services. Here is how we did it:

Behind The IP Revolution

TonyOrme photo

Tony Orme once stated that “IP is the enabling technology for this revolution, not the reason for it.” He was, of course, talking about the industry’s transition from SDI to IP. His comment, which appeared some months ago in "The Broadcast Bridge", stopped us in our tracks. So often we forget that it’s not all about the technology. It’s about what technology can do.  

Last month, we learned that Tony would be in the U.S. for the NAB convention. We spent some time with him talking about his views on the industry’s transition to IP.  Tony has a background in news production with the BBC and has worked for several major software companies, giving him a unique perspective on the subject. Here are some highlights of our discussion with Tony, who is now a broadcast consultant for Orme Solutions in Reading, U.K.

WS: First, explain what you mean when you say that IP is the enabling technology for a revolution, not the reason for it.

TO: The crux of this is that broadcasting is moving from an artisanal industry to a full blown production line. The analogy I use is of Henry Ford. He built a production line so that you could have any car you wanted as long as it was black. And that is where broadcasting is at now. You can have any broadcast infrastructure you like, as long as it fits this particular format. What’s happening with IP is that it’s making the production line easier to design and build, more flexible and adaptable, and that will ultimately lead to better programming and viewer experiences. But, it’s about people as well, because broadcast engineers will need to adapt to IP and understand it and make all this work. 

WS: What should broadcast engineers know today? 

TO: Broadcast engineers for the past 50-odd years have been telling the CEO what they need because the technology was what it was. That’s now completely flipped on its head due to IP, and the CEO is now saying to the engineer “I want this and make it happen.” 

WS: So, are you saying that they need to run out and get IP?

TO: Not at all. I still see traction towards MADI or SDI, unless they’re going UHD, and then we have to start talking about IP. The big driver for IP, for me, is UHD and 4K because you can’t easily run four or eight or 12 SDI cables all over the place, and the matrices are 12 times more complex. But even then, there’s some education that has to take place because as soon as we start talking 4K, people start saying you have to use some form of compression. They say that it’s a compressed system and pictures will not be broadcast quality, but then I have to remind them that television is a compressed system by definition – you got a microphone that is sampled at 48,000 times a second. I think there’s a lot of confusion out there as to what problem we’re trying to solve.

WS: A lot of this we’ve already dealt with in the audio world, as you know. Is that experience transferable to TV?

TO: Absolutely. This is really nothing new. MADI was one of the first versions of a multiplex network system, and that’s the next step to IP. It’s also the one thing that can benefit from IP because audio can be very difficult to get right in SDI. When it goes wrong it’s very noticeable.

WS: IP audio systems have stood the test of time in the studio, but now as we get outside the studio, and distribute it to OB units and other facilities, we are dealing with synchronization and timing issues. Does AES67 solve that problem?

TO: I think it will solve the timing problem. Especially with all these self-discovery networks, you can just plug it in and it works. Truthfully, the technology isn’t the problem. The IT engineers who may be installing these systems don’t understand broadcast timing issues. Their idea of timing is when you click a button on a web browser, you get a response in a quarter of a second, and everything’s fine. I’ve worked with a lot of IT professionals who think they can just resend a packet again and it’s all fine.  It’s a different mindset.

WS: In your articles, you talk about mixing remote productions live at the home studio – like we demonstrated at NAB. (For an At-Home Production Overview, click here.) Are the benefits really as significant as everyone says?

TO: This has tremendous savings and benefits. Instead of having three OB trucks and 50 people running around with all that expense for hotels and travel, you just have your cameras and mics all going into a box and through the network. The person operating the sound mixer or visual mixer has an Ethernet connection on the back, and they mix the signal live. Wheatstone is beautifully positioned to do this.

WS: Thanks for talking with us. 

For our friends on the other side of the world, we'll be at the Broadcast Asia show in stand 4P1-05, 23-25 May 2017! We've got lots of new stuff to show you!! Hope to see you...


Your IP Question Answered


Q: What is the difference between a traditional mixing console and an IP mixing console?

A: A traditional console has all sources wired directly to the board, whereas an IP console like those designed by Wheatstone puts audio, mixing, I/O and processing on the network as a service. With all I/O managed on the network, there are no limitations with fixed connection points on the console chassis itself. Any channel can connect to any audio source, using any preferred audio format at any time, whether it’s HD/SDI, AES, MADI, AoIP, Analog, or TDM. And AES67 compatibility allows audio transport to different platforms. What’s more, having audio services like mixing and EQ available on the network means those services can be deployed wherever they’re needed. You can set and store mix-minus and IFB remotely from the home studio, automate repetitive audio functions as desired, open and close mics though a variety of control and logic functions and, using salvo presets stored and triggered from anywhere in the network, instantly configure a multi-function TV studio and remote mics for the next needed program production.

In short, with an IP networked audio mixing console, it is a tremendous advantage to have all audio services and control functions built into the network instead of fixed at one location in a single studio.




  • Dickey Broadcasting’s Atlanta Braves Network (Atlanta, GA) purchased five LX-24 control surfaces with WheatNet-IP audio networking.

  • WINK-FM (Fort Myers, FL) purchased an LX-24 and thirteen L-12 control surfaces and WheatNet-IP audio networking.

  • Digital Radio Engineering (Port Jervis, NY) purchased an LX-24 control surface with WheatNet-IP audio networking. 

  • WestStar (Scottsdale, AZ) purchased a WDM audio driver for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • ARC Radio (Ottawa, ON) purchased an IP-12 digital console and I/O BLADE and NAVIGATOR software through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • iHeartMedia (San Diego, CA) purchased a TS-4 talent station for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • IP Broadcast Tech (Toronto, ON) purchased an I/O BLADE and NAVIGATOR 3 software for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Sinclair’s WCIV-TV (Mount Pleasant, SC) purchased an E-6 control surface with WheatNet-IP audio networking.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (Cleveland, OH) added a panel onto an existing E-6 control surface.

  • KERA-FM (Dallas, TX) purchased Logic Viewer software for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Leighton Broadcasting (Saint Cloud, MN) purchased WDM audio drivers for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Rogers Media (Winnipeg, MB) purchased additional I/O BLADEs for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Sinclair’s WJLA-TV (Washington, DC) purchased two Dimension Three consoles with WheatNet-IP audio networking. 

  • GED Broadcast Equipment (Beirut, Lebanon) purchased two IP-16 digital audio consoles, two AirAura X3 audio processors and six FM-25 audio processors for a project in Oman.

  • Pacific Broadcast Network (Guam) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.

  • Family Life Communications (Tucson, AZ) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console and WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Entercom (Portland, OR) purchased two LX -24 and L-8 control surfaces.

  • Saga’s WZID-FM (Manchester, NH) purchased an LX-24 control surface.

  • Mel Wheeler Radio (Roanoke, VA) purchased a Glass E virtual mixer app.

  • Charlotte Panthers (North Carolina) purchased an LXE control surface and WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs.

  • Bauder Media (Norway) purchased four SideBoard control surfaces and M4IP-USB four-channel mic processors.

  • CJBQ-FM (Belleville, ON) purchased a ScreenBuilder app, WDM audio driver, and Logic Viewer software as well as an additional I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Bell Media (Gatineau, QC) purchased a guest panel for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Entravision (McAllen, TX) purchased four LX-24 control surfaces.

  • Soundfusion (Johannesburg, South Africa) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles. 

Click for more Who's Buying Wheat...

Audioarts Engineering

  • WNUC-LP (Detroit, MI) purchased an Air-4 console.

  • Oakwood Broadcast (Mississauga, ON) purchased an Air-5 console.

  • Reid Sound (Windsor, NJ) purchased four Air-4 consoles.

  • SCA Sound Solutions (Tokyo, Japan) purchased an R-55e console.

  • RVA Canada (Toronto, ON) purchased an Air-4 console through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (Burnaby, BC) purchased an Air-1 console through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Springfield College (Massachusetts) purchased an R-55e console.

  • KSAL-AM (Salina, KS) purchased a D-76 console.

Wheatstone Audio Processing

  • UMFM Radio (Winnipeg, MB) purchased an AirAura X1 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Rogers Media (Calgary, AB) purchased an AM-55 processor and AirAura X3 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Corus (Edmonton, AB) purchased an AM-55 processor and AirAura X3 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Fanshawe College (London, ON) purchased an M4IP-USB four-channel mic processing BLADE through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • KKDQ-FM (Thief River Falls, MN) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • iHeartMedia (Tucson, AZ) purchased an M1 mic processor.

  • Ben Campbell Voice Over (Tempe, AZ) purchased an M1 mic processor.

  • Townsquare Media (Shreveport, LA) purchased three AirAura X3 audio processors.

  • Rogers Media (Vancouver, BC) purchased an AM-55 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • KTBI-AM (Wenatchee, WA) purchased an AM-55 audio processor.

  • Beasley (Augusta, GA) purchased an FM-55e audio processor.

  • Horizon Avionics & Electronics (New Delhi, India) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • KTWN-FM (Minneapolis, MN) purchased an Aura8-IP multi-mode audio processor.


  • Townsquare Media (Dover, NH) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Townsquare Media (Albany, NY) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WNDV-FM (South Bend, IN) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WNUE-FM (Deltona, FL) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • KKLA-FM (Los Angeles, CA) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • KINC-TV (Las Vegas, NV) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.

  • iHeartMedia (Detroit, MI) purchased five VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editors.

  • Nova Scotia Community College (Halifax, NS) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • MMV (Saint-Sauveur, QC) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor through Marketing Marc Vallee.


A Comparison of Wheatstone Television Audio Consoles 

In this video series, Phil Owens takes Scott Fybush through each of the Wheatstone TV Audio consoles, explaining functionality and outlining similarities and differences. Scroll through the thumbnails below the video to see the relaed videos.

Stay up to date on the world of broadcast radio / television.
Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Site Navigations