At NAB our Corporate Communications Director, Eric Ehlers, shot a little video of me discussing some of our latest cable innovations. We posted it on LinkedIn but I thought I’d like to share it with you all in my blog as well. Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for new products you’d like to see by dropping a note in the comment box below.
If you install audio cables, more than likely you use shielded cables. If it’s a balanced line (see previous blog Balanced Lines) then you will use shielded twisted pairs. In that case, the twisted pair is carrying the signal and the shield is ONLY shielding that pair. Shielding helps keep the signal on that pair inside the cable, and not interfere with other cables around it. It also prevents outside signals from getting in to the pair and interfering. At least that’s what you’ve been told. And, like many things, this is not entirely true. Read more
Boy, are things changing with Belden. And you won’t find a better example than at the upcoming NAB. Yes, it’s NAB time again; feels like last year’s was just a few days ago! (I think that’s the penalty of Old Age.)
The first big change is that Belden continues to grow at NAB! For the past several years Belden has been actively focused on transforming from a “Wire & Cable” company to a “Signal Transmission Solutions” company. Because of the trust you have given to Belden over the years (Belden is THE most trusted brand for Broadcast cables!), it became part of our strategy to invest and grow in this space; and have we ever delivered on this commitment! A few years ago Belden acquired Telecast Fiber Systems. After that it was several coax connectivity companies and product lines. And new since last NAB, we have acquired Miranda Technologies. We are excited to be showing the new, bigger Belden family at NAB this year.
The next big change is our booth space. The stand-alone Belden “Cable” booth is no more and Miranda’s booth N2513, will feature all the Belden broadcast brands; Belden, Miranda Technologies and Telecast Fiber Systems. It’s a big booth, the biggest we have ever had. All our broadcast and professional audio-video products (both active and passive) are all in one booth. The wire and cable portion, well, it’s pretty compact but we’re bringing all the essentials.
I want to say it again just so you don’t miss it on the floor; you will find us in the Miranda booth. Now you might think this is a classic case of the “tail wagging the dog” but hold on there. We need to explain. First, it didn’t make sense for us to all have separate booths, so we’re all in one booth. Second, with the wire and cable portfolio we have a very strong share of the broadcast marketplace. Besides, the wire and cable portion services many industries besides audio, video and broadcast. We’re big in Industrial Cable, we’re big in Networking data cable and fiber, we’re in just about every industry that sends a signal down copper or fiber. So what do we get out of NAB? We get to see all our old friends and loyal customers (which we LOVE to do) and we get to show our new cable products. Just compare that to Miranda and Telecast (which is now part of Miranda). This is their most important show of the entire year. So they really need the maximum booth space. And I’ll have an area to show our cable, connectors, Ethernet switches and a few other things.
As we get closer, I will talk more about what we will be showing. The one thing we will not have, I am sorry to tell you, is that after 47 years, we will not have Dick Stoner, our magician. Hey, he’s 81 and maybe he deserves a break.
So that leaves the free pass. Just hit the REGISTRATION button at http://www.nabshow.com/. When it prompts you for the secret code, put in LV4218. And we look forward to seeing you at the Belden/Miranda/Telecast booth N2513.
Editor’s Note: This is the last part of a three part series.
In previous articles, I have covered the cabling infrastructure of HD broadcast studio and portable cameras. Another very exciting camera design is POV (point-of-view). With its standardization on HD, usage of 3G, and its pioneering of 3D, there is nowadays serious competition in sports broadcasting between different kinds of sports. TV viewers like to see thrilling moments, and TV networks need high ratings to grow their advertising revenues. POV cameras are able to help sports events become an even more spectacular viewing experience than ever.
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a three part series.
As said in my previous blog broadcast cameras operate on either hybrid fiber (SMPTE311) or triax cables. The professional broadcast market has started to standardize on HD for studio production and on 3G for sports events. 3D is pioneered in some movies and international sports events (e.g. Olympics and Football Worldcup) and will create another era of broadcasting. Keep that in mind camera teams have the need to deliver all formats with no downtime – easy to handle and highest quality products are needed. On the other side the new fiber cabling infrastructure will add cost compared to the traditional use of triax cabling infrastructure. To solve this problem, Belden has especially designed products which help to lower total cost of ownership and reduce service and maintenance costs.
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a three part series.
There are basically two ways to transmit an HD signal from the camera head to the base station: triax or SMPTE311 hybrid fiber cable. A triax cable carries multiple signals over a solid or stranded conductor surrounded by an inner shield and an outer shield. It was first used publicly at the Dorado Open Golf Tournament in Miami in 1975, and was the de facto camera standard by the time ABC covered the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
I have my dream job: I travel around the world talking to customers and end-users.I am a perfect example of the maxim Be Careful What You Wish For (because the corollary is, You Just Might Get It!).Well, I did. Talk to my wife, if you’re ever in San Francisco, and she’ll tell you about her absentee husband.Sure she could probably travel with me, but she wants someone to go sightseeing with her, and I’m off working, giving a presentation.After seventeen years of marriage, I’m sure she’s tired of Mr. Ego telling her when I get home, “Hey, I just gave a presentation to 2,000 people!” “That’s nice,” she says. ”Now go take out the garbage.”
I remember talking to a broadcaster about 20 years ago. He was trying to repair a nice Japanese camera and the one thing he needed was some teeny tiny triax cable. Our regular stuff was way too big. I convinced my team at Belden that this was a huge opportunity and would lead to great things, so we made up a thousand feet of the stuff, called a “first article”, and sold it to him. He probably used five feet of it, repaired his camera, and I looked like the Hero of the Hour. But I didn’t do Belden any favors! We probably lost money on the deal and I learned a serious lesson: we can’t make a profit if we only ever sell 1,000 feet of a custom cable. So these days I would tell the customer, “We make 6,000 kinds of wire and cable. If one of those won’t fit your requirements, we’ll make you a ‘special’.” Read more
Being in this industry, you know what cable does in an electrical sense; it is a pathway between devices. Many people visualize electricity running up and down the conductors. Of course, we’re talking about electrons carrying this signal, and not just any electrons. We’re talking about valence electrons, the ones in the outer layers of certain atoms. And those certain atoms that have lots of valence electrons are called conductors. This is why a piece of wood or plastic is a poor conductor, because the atoms that make it up have very few valence electrons and so wood or plastic doesn’t conduct very well. Then there are substances that don’t conduct until you push a few electrons into them then they really conduct. These are called semiconductors and are the basis for all solid-state devices like transistors and integrated circuits. It works like a switch: you push some electrons in and the device conducts. You stop pushing and the device stops conducting. This is why, in its most basic sense, all our digital devices work with only two numbers, zero and one, because that’s the total number of states they can have; off and on. Of course, we can do some pretty amazing things with a few billion devices turning on and off, but that’s another story. For signals that vary, such as audio as an example, the charge will vary and the output of that transistor will be a copy of the original audio, only made larger or “amplified”. Read more
Our previous blog, Twisting the Night Away-Part 1, discussed the history of twisted-pair cable for data. (Click HERE if you missed it.) We had gotten up to Category 5 with the key takeaways being that the twist lay of each of the pairs is critical to the quality of performance that can be delivered by the cable, and that even if you get that right, installation issues can throw off the twist lays and degrade performance.
To address this issue Belden introduced a new approach: Bonded-Pairs. The pairs were extruded, twisted together, and the two insulated (and color coded) wires were fused together, without glue. This meant, when such a cable was bent or flexed, the pairs did not separate and the lay lengths did not change. (There are many other advantages to Bonded-Pairs which we will deal with in future blogs.) Bonded-Pairs are a Belden patent, so don’t expect to see them anywhere else. Competitors will tell you that it adds time to each install. Sure, but it also gives you the ultimate in performance-AFTER-installation. Read more