IP based field IFB

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eng r us
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IP based field IFB

Post by eng r us » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:37 am

I'm curious as to whether such a concept exists.

I was talking with one of out photogs/truck ops, and he brought up the topic on how much better quality the IFB audio is on our bonded cellular units (TVU, LiveU, Dejero), and how poor (comparatively speaking) the IFB audio is when using cell phones when using microwave.

I mentioned the fact that it's primarily the difference in bandwidth between those units and what a cell phone can deliver. But what would be a way to somehow improve IFB quality in the field?

So we got to thinking...is there some sort of IP based system where one could activate a cellular hot spot, and access IFB via an IP address?

I open the floor for discussion. Thanks.

Bill

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PID_Stop
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by PID_Stop » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:02 am

I haven't tried it, but it doesn't seem like it would be particularly hard to use Skype on a mobile device to make the call, instead of using the normal cellular CODEC. In our experience, the biggest problems with intelligibility are not with the studio POTS gear, but with the cellular portion. If I remember correctly, Skype can do audio-only calls to ordinary phone numbers.

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eng r us
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by eng r us » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:21 am

How would that work from a standpoint of practicality? And wouldn't this be a complicated way of gaining a minimal amount of fidelity (and call stability) above the simplicity of just dialing a phone?

(Sorry...this is the devil's advocate in me talking now...)

I'll admit there's a marked difference between the TVU and the cell phone, but when I'm listening on the cell phone circuit, I can hear the program and producer interrupts just fine (in my humble opinion). And the truth be told, I've heard very few complaints from talent about audio quality - their complaints run more along the lines of someone talked over someone else, or the volume is too low...stuff like that.

I suppose it all depends on who's steak is being grilled, so to speak... :-)

Thanks for your input, Jeff.

Bill

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Shane
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by Shane » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:14 pm

Have done radio remotes here using Skype on a cell device (iPhone) at remote end and the internal mic in a pinch. I'm told it sounds quite good; haven't heard it myself. The studio end was using, not a POTS line but, a desktop running Skype for its half of the path.

In your application the feed is one way, correct? That's ideal for Skype which doesn't do two - way audio that well if there's chatter in both directions simultaneously.
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davek
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by davek » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:28 pm

Hmm, do you really want to add more

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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by PID_Stop » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:29 pm

eng r us wrote:How would that work from a standpoint of practicality?
Skype is about as easy as making an ordinary phone call. The only difference is that you're effectively using a voice-over-IP link instead of the crappy cellular CODEC.
And wouldn't this be a complicated way of gaining a minimal amount of fidelity (and call stability) above the simplicity of just dialing a phone?
Depending on your carrier and where you are, the difference can be pretty substantial. My daughter and I call each other regularly; if it's a cellular call, sometimes the audio is rather badly garbled; if it's Facetime or Skype, it's remarkably high quality.

I'm grimly chuckling at the moment... we just did a TVU shot from a convention center where Bernie Sanders is making an appearance. The program video and audio quality were absolutely terrible. I guess it didn't occur to any of our news people that they were going to be in a room in a metal building full of people playing with their cell phones, plus at least two other outfits also trying to use their TVU backpacks. Sigh...

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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by NECRAT » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:44 pm

The biggest issue I'd be concerned about is delay.

Typically with the bonded cellular items, there is already a delay. So if you use some IP based audio source with a delay inherent to it via IFB, you run the risk of having even more delay when the field reporter responds. Especially if there is Q&A. I would really be concerned about the latency more than anything.

In the old days, and some still do, it was common for the IFB to be transmitted via a Marti type system.
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by davek » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:16 am

davek wrote:Hmm, do you really want to add more
....delay?

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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by PID_Stop » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:16 am

NECRAT wrote:The biggest issue I'd be concerned about is delay.

Typically with the bonded cellular items, there is already a delay. So if you use some IP based audio source with a delay inherent to it via IFB, you run the risk of having even more delay when the field reporter responds. Especially if there is Q&A. I would really be concerned about the latency more than anything.

In the old days, and some still do, it was common for the IFB to be transmitted via a Marti type system.
In the old days, our trucks had a Comrex that combined the off-air feed from the TV set with the 2-way audio! :shock:

I agree about the delay... sometimes it's an unhappy choice between the field reporter standing there a bit longer before answering the anchor, versus having them come back with "I couldn't understand you, but..." and blathering for a minute about something totally different.

There's really no excuse for digital cellular calls to sound as bad as they do. When the carriers started to migrate away from analog, we supposed that this would improve call quality... what a disappointment that was.

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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by Shane » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:17 am

Unrelated to the topic perhaps but related to the last sentence of the last post: To us it seems that when we are forced (and I do mean forced - we try just about everything before settling for this) to broadcast a sports event using the cell interface of a JK Remote Sport, the sound quality was quite a bit better this year. Could have been the phone and carrier being used that made the difference (iPhone on AT&T) but was perceptively better than years previous even when analog cell was still available.
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Re: IP based field IFB

Post by Kelly » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:24 pm

We use a lot of Comrex Bric Link's for our IP-IFB's. They work great and the quality is very good, even doing IFB with an SNG out of Baghdad Iraq.
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