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Fiber Optics Expand Range of Options for Broadcasters

This year’s NAB Show will dish up a healthy, heaping serving of fiber, with cable and connectors on the side.

This year’s NAB Show will dish up a healthy, heaping serving of fiber, with cable and connectors on the side.

“Broadcasters today have a greater need for reliable signal transmission at the distribution level, such as higher bandwidth applications for HDTV,” said Mark Boyadjian, marketing facilitator, Neutrik USA.

Fiber-optic products are anticipated to be hot items.

“We expect to see new products announced, especially in the area of 3G HD [1080p, 3 Gbps] video transport and video over IP,” said Cameron Francis, vice president, sales, Network Electronics, U.S. “Attendees will be looking for ways to leverage and optimize their existing fiber-optic infrastructures for new higher resolution, higher bandwidth content. [In the process], fiber will need to replace coax in many places. This expands the market for fiber.”

The capabilities of fiber-optic gear are also being expanded to deliver an even greater range of signals.

“Now we are introducing more important features, like high-speed Ethernet connectivity and optical redundancy, while reducing the cost and complexity of cabling,” said Joe Commare, vice president of marketing and international sales, Telecast Fiber Systems.

Fiber solutions will be found for transporting broadband CATV RF fiber optic, as well as for DVI, HDMI, RGB video plus audio, keyboard and mouse control. Look for more equipment with fiber-optic inputs, like frame synchronizers and up and downcoverters.

“We also expect to see solutions being demonstrated for transporting and multiplexing signals over SONET/SDH,” Francis said. “Attendees will also be looking for ways to optimize their infrastructure’s bandwidth through signal multiplexing or new compression technologies such as JPEG 2000. The latest advances in fiber-optic DWDM technology allow more uncompressed services, better flexibility, longer distances and a clear upgrade path to the future. All at a price point that give a much better return on investment than before. People who have been looking into CWDM earlier should now take a closer look at the next generation DWDM equipment.”

Products designed to make interconnections simpler and quicker for the end user will also be on hand at the show.

On the fiber side, look for fiber-optic products to be bundled together as systems for specific applications like sports and other remote broadcasts.

“Telecast Fiber Systems will be showing the latest versions of fiber-optic applications solutions designed to simplify field production,” Commare said. One such system, will “provide all the video, audio, intercom and data connectivity for a typical announce booth, using XLR and BNC interfaces that broadcast engineers are familiar with, all transported on a 2-strand fiber cable.”

There’s an increased requirement for copper-wired cable assemblies as well.

“Broadcasters demand simple, rugged and dependable cabling solutions for complex equipment configurations,” said Gerald Krulewicz, president of Wireworks Corp. A Wireworks system for high-performance, high-density interconnect of HD/SDI coaxial cables “can greatly reduce set up time by up to 95 percent while eliminating misplugging and improving system reliability, [and is] also particularly applicable to large fixed studio applications where a large number of individual BNC connections can be eliminated.”

For connectors of all sorts, performance counts, as does ruggedness.

“Attendees will be looking for products that reject RFI EMI noise, as well as products that offer greater damage resistance due to weather and environmental conditions,” Boyadjian said.

Other companies will offer connector products that make terminations easy, especially for those pesky sub-Ds. Also look for higher density patchbays, built for easy access to the rear connectors.