Communications and call management systems developer Quicklink introduced a new multi-call transceiver at the 2016 NAB Show. The UK-based company was one of two manufacturers at the Las Vegas exhibition launching a product based on the recently released fourth version of Microsoft’s studio grade Skype app.
The Quicklink TX Multi was developed in conjunction with Microsoft and is a dedicated Skype video call device. Like the NewTek TalkShow VS 4000 also launched at the NAB Show, it is able to handle multiple calls in one unit, which reduces the amount of studio and/or rack space required.
The technology is available in three models: TX Multi, which accommodates multiple calls but with only one output, HDMI/SDI. analogue video with an audio I/O; TX Multi Quad, again multi-call but with multiple simultaneous inputs and outputs for SD and HD-SDI, this is a 2U unit with a 20-core Xeon processor and an upgrade path to redundant hardware, server monitoring and an alert system; and the TX Multi Xstream, a scalable unit for multiple calls that can handle multiple SD and HD-SDI feeds at the same time, which offers a 40-core Dual Xeon processor and the redundancy, monitoring and alert option as standard.
In addition to Skype TX 4 capability, the TX Multi Quad is able to support both Dante and LiveWire+ networking proctocols, plus the AES67 Audio over IP (AoIP) interoperability standard. Other features include call recording and colour correction of images and, a switchable interruptible foldback audio return. There is also a custom option of a tally notification feature.
Commenting on Microsoft's contribution to the Quicklink TX Multi, Eugene Ho, partner director of product management at Skype, said, "We're proud of our work with Quicklink to offer this flexible, scalable and cost-effective solution that minimises the control room footprint to broadcasters."
QuickLink also recently introduced a free app for monitoring its video encoders from remote locations. The iStats app can check the status and performance of an encoding device, noting parameters such as connection speed, signal strength, on and off air transmission information, talkback details and data about feed sources. It works by connecting an Apple device to the Quicklink encoder's WiFi and is available free from the Apple store.
Aljazeera’s Inside Story Connects to University of Missouri via Quicklink TX
Inside Story, the popular Al Jazeera program, provides analysis and commentary on recent news stories. The Donald W. Reynolds University of Missouri School of Journalism and Aljazeera collaborated using the Quicklink TX Skype transceiver in order to produce content for the series.
As both establishments had a Quicklink TX they were able to easily communicate two way high quality audio/video over the public internet. This simple solution meant the Skype call from Missouri was available live over SDI in the Aljazeera studio.
Because both Aljazeera and the University of Missouri TV studio had a Quicklink TX, high-quality live audio commentary was available to the international network's audience.
Travis McMillen, Video Producer at the Reynolds Journalism Institute explains: “We’ve done 2 way calling with a couple of different cable channels in the past but the setup was always clunky. On this occasion I needed to offer Aljazeera a professional two-way video/audio solution using Skype”
Aljazeera achieved successful, issue free live programming. Travis noted that “having Quicklink in-house certainly puts us back on the cable-news-network-map."
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