Teradek Beam and Cube 155 on test
In this issue of TM Broadcast, we shall be analysing several Teradek devices. Teradek is a Research & Development company founded in the US back in 2009 that boasts a variety of products for video transmission, encoded over Wi-Fi, Ethernet and 3G/4G networks in their catalogue. These products can be found on the market, endorsed by a constant innovation system and with full support from the manufacturer; something that leads to them being widely used and accepted by broadcasting professionals.
Moncada y Lorenzo lent us two devices to conduct this lab testing. The first was the Teradek Beam, which basically offers us a point-to-point link between the camera and the receiver over Wi-Fi. The Beam provides us with a feasible and efficient alternative to the costly COFDM link systems we are so used to (commonly used thanks to the robust signal and for making the most of reflections to broadcast). The Beam is also extremely good value for money compared to other products we find on the market with the same working philosophy. The second device we analysed was the Teradek Cube (in our case the 155 model), an H.264 encoder that permits high-speed video transmission over Wi-Fi or Ethernet LAN (without any added external elements). All in all, I think it is a great device in a truly small package.
Teradeck Beam: The first thing that catches my attention is the finish of the entire set. Both the Rx and the Tx have the same overall robust design, so I am eager to test it (above all for the 800 m of transmission distance promised by the manufacturer with its features and its low latency, 2 frames).
We assembled the transmitter on an ENG camera. We had absolutely no problem in working with it since the Beam Tx is so lightweight (695 g). We placed the Rx on the sunroof of our building (we have a horizon line with direct view at 900 m). We powered the two systems up (this took approximately 50 seconds). The communication between the Tx and Rx was established almost immediately. We configured the transmission speed at 12 Mbps (an average that I consider appropriate compared to commonly used ones at 6 MBps) and a video entry in HD-SDI format. We begin walking in a straight line and with direct view between the Tx and Rx, constantly monitoring reception and taking samples of the quality of the signal every 100 metres. The results revealed that there were no signal problems up to just over 600 metres. From then on, the signal became unstable (the loss of signal in the receiver showed up as an image freeze, something we need to thank the manufacturer for because we do not get the typical black screen or receiver bars). At this point, we changed the video entry to SD-SDI to assess whether the lesser need of compression translated into a higher distance and hey presto, we managed to reach approximately 100 metres further than with the HD-SDI format with no signal degradation whatsoever. In short, the ideal maximum distance offered by the manufacturer was very close to the tests carried out in real environments. We also have to bear in mind that the conditions in which we conducted this section of tests was by no means free from magnetic or electric interferences, and I must admit, we were pleasantly surprised with this result.
Lab testing performed by Pablo Martínez
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