MTV and Wave Central

Project overview

MTV Studios located between 45th and 46th street in Times Square, New York City has long attracted huge crowds on the street, outside their studio. They have used an RF camera for getting images from the street and back into their control room, to be cut in with the other hard cameras within the studio during their live productions. Their ability to gather live images from the fans on the street has given them a signature look. While MTV owned an earlier 5.8GHz version of Wave Central’s older MPEG2, CMT Series product, their desire was to improve both their image quality, as well as increase their coverage range. During their 2014 New Year’s Eve show, they rented a newer version of MPEG4 CMT series product from CP Communications, in 2GHz. The show was successful and by using the 2GHz MPEG4 rental system, it gave them the quality boost they were looking for, as well as much more coverage and range. Although that both systems were only two antenna input diversity systems, the 2GHz yielded much better results.

Their needs

For MTV, it was clear they needed to purchase an MPEG4 system and to be able to legally operate in the 2GHz band, to get more range. (They used CP Communication’s 2GHz license during the rental) When they contacted Wave Central, we were asked to demonstrate a 6.4GHz licensed band CMT two antenna input system, since they could not obtain a 2GHz usage license.

demo day

On the day of the demo we got to see why they couldn’t get the range they were looking to get with the 5.8GHz system they owned. They had their receiver and antennas mounted behind the thick plate glass that also had a Mylar tint applied. That combination attenuates the RF signal more than -20dB, as opposed to mounting the antennas outside the glass. Unfortunately, mounting the antennas outside was cost prohibitive and wasn’t an option. Even though we knew the 6.4GHz CMT system was going to fail, we tried it anyway, with dismal results. Fortunately for everyone involved, I had just picked up our very first 5.8GHz Axis system from the factory the day before and after MTV reluctantly agreed to look at another 5.8GHz system, we were all set to perform our very first live demonstration with an Axis system. We quickly set up the new Axis AXRX6 receiver on a cocktail table and clamped six antennas in a circle around it. We also set up our remote paint system on top of the AXRX6 and we were ready to roll.

Results

The cameraman took the camera outside and turned it on. We were receiving a very strong signal, but since he was right below us on the street, that was not very impressive. What happened next could only be described as “magic”. As the cameraman proceeded to walk away uptown from the studio, when he reached 51st street, we lost walkie-talkie communication with him, but we still had a solid signal back in the studio and we continued the “walk-about” test on cell phone. All in all, he walked to 51st street and Broadway, across 51st to 7th Avenue, down 7th Avenue through Times Square to 38th street and then walked across 38th street back to Broadway. We saw the only glitch during the entire test when he stepped between a parked tractor trailer and the building, the system quickly recovered and he continued back to MTV’s building. He left the transmitter on and we even had his signal walking through the building and back to the studio. Even though there wasn’t any line of sight to the antennas, they were still able to get a strong signal back into the control room. A total of 1.43 miles of coverage, through the Mylar covered thick plate glass. Needless to say, we were all shocked at how well the Axis system performed. MTV was looking for superior RF coverage, as well as outstanding image quality and found it, as well as being a license free solution. Wave Central’s Axis system exceeded everyone’s expectations..... Including mine.

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