Regional TV Station THESSALIA TV upgraded its DSNG Vehicle in Full HD!

Nowadays due to the current economic conditions in Greece, and the forthcoming licensing of TV Broadcasting organizations, investments in the Greek TV Industry are great news for both the economy of the Industry, and the economy of the country. So THESSALIA TV ‘mixes the waters’ of Outside Broadcasting and Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) Services by upgrading its DSNG Vehicle equipment technology to Full HD.

Text: Andreas Tzanakos
Images: THESSALIA TV Archive

Technological Portal is pleased to present you a considerable project, which offers a completely new breath to this Hellenic (Greek) Regional TV Station, giving the ability to provide high-definition content from any point of Greece and beyond, both for the needs of its own program (in the future THESSALIA TV will be able to broadcast program in Full HD) and for the needs of other domestic and foreign Broadcasters (via rental DSNG services), which will give the possibility to generate new revenues for better and quicker ROI, but also for its economic survival.

DSNG Vehicle of THESSALIA TV reliably covered and covers a lot of breaking news

The presentation of such significant projects, with proven and cutting-edge technology to ensure excellent operational level coupled with superior performance, is for all of us in the Technological Portal for TV, Radio and Film Industry highest duty, always with respect for our readers.
Let’s see what people who decided, studied, designed and implemented this important upgrade say, referring to Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis, Technical Director of THESSALIA TV and Panos Pierides, Founder and Managing Director of PTS (Pierides TechnoSystems LTD), an equipment distribution and system integration company based in Athens Greece, with great experience in TV and Radio Technological Projects in Greece and Cyprus.

Mr. Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis, Technical Director of THESALIA TV and experienced operator of station’s DSNG Vehicle Mr. Aristovoulidis, what is the technological level of THESSALIA TV, both in the Studio and OB facilities? When was the initial investment in a standard definition DSNG Vehicle and why? Tell us more about this vehicle.

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: Today, the technological level is at a high degree, as from May 2007 Panasonic P2 HD/SD cameras, 6ch video/SD and HD server entered the news production system and recently we upgraded the MCR with 3G HD multiviewer. The initial investment of the DSNG vehicle was in September 2010 for covering news from several parts of Thessaly, in which terrestrial link was impossible to be achieved, but also to cover the station's productions with 3-cameras or 4-cameras OB Vehicle. From the beginning in 2010, all the wiring and equipment of the vehicle was in HD technology, with the exception of the transmission. We ended up in a Nissan Navara 4 x 4 vehicle, which is flexible, particularly in the cities, but at the same time off road, as our region has many mountainous areas that need this type of vehicles. PTS Company delivered our investment. Up to the final design of the vehicle, we have spent many hours with people from PTS in order to achieve a very good result, technically and ergonomically. Eventually we manage for the first time to place in a small vehicle equipment that doesn't feature big SNG trucks in Greece. The investment included the vehicle’s coach building, an Advent's (now Vislink) 1,5m antenna, Xicom HPA 200W, 2DVE 5000 and 5000 IRDs from Advent (now Vislink), 3KVA online UPS, 2 generators 3KVA HONDA, HD/SD A/V monitoring system from TSL, 4ch. intercom system from Riedel, P2 HD/SD video, HD/SD 4ch. Vision mixer and various DA's.

Screen from Vislink’s Video Exciter DVE 5000 What were the reasons that led to the station’s decision to upgrade the equipment technology of its DSNG Vehicle to Full HD? What were the specifications you gave PTS Company? Why have you decided to collaborate once more with PTS?

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: Some partners from abroad demanded from us program in HD. The Greek market began to move slowly to HD transmissions. So we decided to do one more step in difficult times. We asked PTS to upgrade existing equipment for full HD news production, but also sports programs, so we can serve high-definition broadcasts with full redundancy across the transmission line. The decision to collaborate again with PTS was natural because of the exceptional work they gave us, the technical support provided to us, the know-how it has and above all its people won our trust.

Quality satellite antenna from Advent (Vislink)
Effective remote control of the antenna via tablet Mr. Pierides, when did you start to study and design the project and when was the implementation completed? What were THESSALIA TV’s requirements regarding the upgrade project to Full HD of the equipment for its DSNG Vehicle? What is your opinion concerning the cooperation with THESSALIA TV?

Panos Pierides: The client purchase order was received in early May 2015, when we started the design of this DSNG Vehicle. Installation was completed at late August 2015 achieving the high safety and reliability of the system for high standards broadcasts. THESSALIA TV assigned the project implementation to PTS in accordance with the highest market specifications. Our collaboration with THESSALIA TV is excellent.

Saving space, with ergonomics and efficiency co-existing in the DSNG Vehicle of THESSALIA TV
Quality monitoring with high definition monitors from TVLogic and TSL
And yet in such a small space, occupying one of the rear seats, there may be maximum functionality!
This vehicle fits everywhere Given the great experience of PTS (Pierides TechnoSystems LTD) in innovative systems integration for TV, Radio and Telecommunication projects, what were the difficulties and challenges regarding this upgrade? What are the solutions that you installed in this DSNG Vehicle and why did you suggest them. What are their key advantages over other proposals from the competition?

Panos Pierides: PTS is a well established company in distributing broadcast equipment and turnkey systems in Greece and Cyprus. We integrate complex systems for HD television program production and offer specialized services to major projects in the industry. A major difficulty of this project was the limited space provided in the vehicle for equipment istallation, in respect to the great capabilities that are implemented by the provided features. For PTS, this project has been a challenge, as we have achieved istalling extended features of large vehicles into a small sized vehicle. In this DSNG vehicle, hardware and software upgrades were performed by Vislink DVE5000 encoder adding full redundancy on Xicom High Power Amplifier, while replacing the older monitor with a new TVLogic RKM356A HD series. We proposed Vislink solutions due to the fact that they are ideal for applications with limitations as far as spacing is concerned, occupying 1RU half rack, as well as for their exceptional performance.

Web interface view from Video Exciter DVE 5100 in extended KU Band
Web interface view from Vislink's LYNX Receiver IRD5200
Web interface view from Vislink’s System Controller ASC5000
Web interface view from Vislink’s HD-SD Exciter DVE5200 Mr. Aristovoulidis, knowing that you have significant experience in satellite news gathering and not only, please tell us about the exploitation of the new HD system. In which applications has it been used to date? After some months using such an upgrade, are you satisfied of the services and solutions you received from PTS, and also from the overall performance and functioning of the new HD system? What’s THESSALIA TV’s opinion regarding this upgrade and what’s all the other Broadcasters opinion for the services this Full HD DSNG Vehicle provides?

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: From the first day this upgrade to HD became known there was interest from the domestic market, but also from abroad. Already, today as we speak, we are in the EBU’s list of approved SNG Vehicles. Our SNG vehicle currently offers mainly services for sports broadcasts in high definition, but also for news, for partners abroad. I am satisfied because this is exactly what we wanted to do, simple and effective. I think it is very gratifying to see an investment like this to work in hard times. The Broadcasters and our partners are fully satisfied with the services we provide and our reward is the renewing of our partnership. Many people of the Industry gave us their congratulations for the quality of our HD DSNG Vehicle.

Intercom ENG cameras with the SNG vehicle via Riedel’s intercom system
Compact HD Live Switcher and HD P2 video from Panasonic Besides satellite transmission system were there any new additions to the rest of the equipment in the Vehicle? Can you provide us a list of the basic equipment the Vehicle has for video, audio, power supply and uninterrupted operation?

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: Beyond the addition of hardware and software for HD MPEG2/H264, 4:2:2/4:2:0 from Vislink, we obtained new amplifier from Xicom, redundancy controller of Vislink, 3G series monitor from TV Logic, HD embedder, cables with the corresponding cable drums for HD signal, while we added a wifi network in the car, so the operator can handle all the equipment even away from the vehicle. The autonomous power supply is provided by 2 Honda power generators 3KVA, each in redundant or external network (PPC) configuration. Alongside, online UPS from Emerson that provides uninterrupted power for 10 minutes.

Rack with almost all the equipment inside the DSNG Vehicle
Web interface view from Vislink’s Video Exciter LYNX 5100
Signal convertors and audio and video distribution equipment inside the DSNG Vehicle
Attention to detail that characterizes the patching cables
Wireless remote controllers for the electrical feet to stabilize the vehicle

Basic Equipment of the SNG Vehicle includes:
Vislink Antenna Newswift 1.5m
2x Xicom 200W TWTA
2x Vislink ACU 3814 BUC
Vislink ACU 5012 Antenna controller + auto acquire package
2x Vislink DVE 5000 encoders HD/SD,MPEG2/MPEG4, 4:2:0/4:2:2, BISS-1 / E Encryption, ASI RE-MUX , DVBS/S2 extended KU Band
Vislink IRD 5200 series HD/SD, MPEG2/MPEG4, 4:2:0/4:2:2, BISS-1 / E Encryption, ASI, DVBS/S2
Vislink ASC 5000 system controller
2 power generators Honda EU 30 3KVA in redundant configuration
Liebert 3 KVA on line UPS
Camera Panasonic P2 HPX171 HD/SD (for live stand up)
Geonav UHF/VHF/antenna
DVB-T TV receiver (Terrestrial Receiver)
Promax Satellite level meter
TVLogic 3x5.6 HD/SD monitor
TSL AVMU2-BHD+ HD/SD video- audio monitoring unit
TSL MDU unit (MDU12-PMi)
Sound mixer Sony SRP-X100 6 channel mic/line input
Video router Network SL-HD 0808-R-CP 8x8 HDSDI -ASI
Vision mixer Panasonic AW-HS50 4channel HD/SD with embedded audio and multiviewer
Video Panasonic AG-HPG20 P2 HD/SD player/recorder
Talkback system Riedel CR4 - 4 channel intercom with 2 headsets for cameramen & IFB kit with 2 telex earphones
Base phone device GSM with line coupler
Internal WIFI network for system’s remote control via tablet
Network-DTL-BMD Video converters-das – embedders (with equalization)
Stabilizing electrical feet with remote control
Power board with protection
I/O Panel for audio-video-power supply-ethernet
2x100m. HD video cable Belden
2x100m. multi cable canare 2video 2 audio

Live satellite transmission reports on the refugee issue in northern borders of Greece for foreign TV Station
Satellite Transmission system from Advent (Vislink) and P2 camera from Panasonic in hand for reports in minutes! Why should other Broadcasters and production companies collaborate with you and use this SNG Vehicle. What are the characteristics that distinguish its services? What are your contact details for people who might be interested to cooperate with you?

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: Our long experience in the field of television and broadcasting enables us to know what exactly a TV transmission needs. All the Greek TV Channels trust our services, but also production companies for outside broadcasting applications. We have excellent equipment fully compliant with EBU standards (H264 HD 4:2: 2), excellent know-how, love for the job and we can serve even the most demanding transmissions. Our SNG Vehicle has the ability to transmit HD signal at the Extended KU band, something that makes it stand out. From Larissa, our headquarters, and because of our flexible vehicle, quite quickly we can be anywhere in Greece, notably for breaking news. Our DSNG Vehicle has the ability to transmit simultaneously with redundant, Multiplexer (MUX) and 2 path configuration. Its technical staff consists of quite experienced engineers, with many years in the field. That’s another important advantage. Those interested to know us and perhaps to cooperate with us can contact us via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us (+302410556000) in order to offer them the solution they seek. Mr. Pierides, would you suggest to other Greek Broadcasters to upgrade the equipment of their SNG Vehicles to Full HD, or 4K and why? If your answer is positive, what are the main reasons they should prefer PTS for the realization of such a project? What are the products and services that your company provides for the DSNG sector?

Panos Pierides: Definitely yes. HD quality transmission is necessary for today’s broadcasting. Vislink unveiled at IBC 2015 the new UltraCoder and UltraDecoder for HEVC encoded transmissions (H265, or otherwise MPEG5) for up to 4K resolution, reducing the bandwidth by 50%. With this technology, the transmited image has 4 times greater definition than that of HD technology. Following 20 years of development and continuous training in new technologies, PTS  has broadened its activities by creating strong partnerships with many major international broadcast equipment brands. So we ensure that the customer will have the best solution according to his requirements and specifications both at present and in the future. Gentlemen, we thank you very much for the conversation we had. We wish THESSALIA TV to continue its investments in high technology for its viewers benefit and to continue to be a superb example Regional TV Station.
For PTS we wish to continue its constructive work for the benefit of Broadcast Industry in Greece and Cyprus.

Aristovoulos Aristovoulidis: I thank you and I wish for your Technical Portal to continue inform our Industry as successfully as it does today.