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Mega Tries Out Long-Distance IP Comms Ahead of 2018 World Cup

The FIFA Confederations Cup is regarded as a precursor to the World Cup and this year’s tournament, which took place from the end of June into this month, gave some pointers as what to expect from the higher-profile competition next year. Off the pitch this included the use of IP-based intercom technology for television coverage, with Chilean national broadcaster using Clear-Com’s V-Series system for communications between Russia and its headquarters in Santiago.

Red Televisiva Megavision - usually known as just Mega - was on location at stadia in Moscow, Sochi and Kazan, using outside broadcast trucks to customise the host feed for its own presentation. These linked back to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in St Petersburg, which in turn was connected to the Mega broadcast complex back in Chile.

Mega's Santiago centre is based on a Clear-Com Eclipse digital matrix intercom. With continuing changes in communications technology and the decline in availability of older formats such as analogue circuits and ISDN, the broadcaster has been investigating new ways to connect its communications systems remotely.

To do this Mega has added Clear-Com V-Series panels to installations, including the one for the Confederations Cup. The V-Series is IP capable and is able to connect to the Eclipse to create a larger comms network. "We are upgrading and upscaling our intercom system to support new applications and technological solutions as needed," explains Antonio Ormazabal, operations manager at Mega. "This includes being able to connect to our remote production crews anywhere in the world efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively."

Ormazabal continues that IP is helping Mega solve the communication connectivity problems it was facing: "It is becoming increasingly difficult to find ISDN or analogue telephone lines for international events. Adding a number of Clear-Com V-Series user panels allow us to connect instead via IP, since internet is pretty much everywhere these days."

The V-Series panels were able to operate over low bandwidth circuits with low latency times. Ormazabal concludes that IP and the V-Series equipment worked well for the Confederations Cup but face "their biggest test" when Mega covers the FIFA 2018 World Cup itself, again in Russia.

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