Eutelsat’s NewsSpotter service fuels a new generation of broadcasting

29th April 2020

Eutelsat’s NewsSpotter service is transforming the broadcast industry using its high throughput KA-SAT satellite over Europe. By offering a simple, fast and cost effective way to broadcast HD quality images the NewsSpotter service is fuelling a new generation of news, sports and event broadcasting and IP streaming.

At major news events across Europe, such as the centenary commemorations for the First World War and the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict hosted by Angelina Jolie, Auriga Networks is a specialist networking company implementing IP networks for broadcasters. The organisation bridges the divide between conventional broadcast video and IP video distribution systems and sees Eutelsat’s NewsSpotter as a vital service in its armoury.

“Eutelsat and NewsSpotter entered the market at just the right time as broadcasters started to make the transition to HD,” said Stephen Flood, Managing Director of Auriga Networks. “The challenge we were encountering was increased bandwidth demand from broadcasters and a demand for decreased costs. Initially we looked at NewsSpotter as a newsgathering tool but now it is actually making inroads into other areas of live contribution.”

Using a new generation of lightweight equipment, NewsSpotter broadens opportunities for newsgathering by offering broadcasters and service providers the ability to transmit High Definition and/or Standard Definition live video from the field in a fast and highly cost efficient manner. The service is also ideal for fast transmission of film rushes and proxy file transfer from the field.

“We and our clients operate with NewsSpotter in three different ways; a vehicle mounted system, fly away mobile systems that can be carried in a backpack and fixed sites for specific events,” said Stephen.

“With NewsSpotter currently offering speeds of up to 10Mbps it means we can make our contribution feeds at much higher data rates, making the transition to HD possible, which is all important within the broadcast industry.”

“In addition, the NewsSpotter service has always on bandwidth. This allows broadcasters to use it for Store and Forward File Transfer and integrate it with their entire digital workflow. So it’s not just live. It’s about integrating the whole package to meet the broadcaster’s need.”

Compact enough to be carried in a back-pack for Fly-Away use and small enough to be fitted onto a small car for rooftop mounting, NewsSpotter can instantly connect mobile news crews to studios for transmission of live recordings, images and data. Providing native IP connectivity, NewsSpotter is perfectly integrated for the workflows of modern newsgathering operations and is available across KA-SAT’s footprint that covers Europe, North Africa and large parts of the Middle East.

“Implementation of NewsSpotter in the field is an easy process.,” explained Stephen. “You can get a NewsSpotter truck system running within 2 minutes of arrival at a venue. You can get a manual system running within 15 minutes and that includes getting it from the car!”

NewsSpotter user terminals have been developed by multiple manufacturers in three versions: Fly-Away, Vehicular Compact and Vehicular Rugged. Flyaway terminals require manual pointing and come in the form of backpack or flight case configuration, weighing in the range of 5 to 10 kg, with dish sizes in the range of 60 to 75cm. The Vehicle Compact terminal has motorised and autopoint capability and is available with dish sizes from 75 to 90cm. Rugged Vehicle mounted terminals are available with dish sizes from 75 to 120 cm.

“Eutelsat have also been smart in the way that they have presented the platform,” said Stephen. “There are a set of internal tools available that integrate with the modem that allow you to point your dish automatically and monitor your performance.”

Offering a fast link from scene to screen, NewsSpotter bandwidth can be reserved online by news crews, using a self-booking application or pre-booked for planned use and guaranteed reservations. Users simply log-on to the OSS portal, enter their user terminal number, location, time slots and bit rate required on return and forward links.

For major events, such as the First World War Centenary commemorations in Mons, France, Auriga Networks deployed a back haul array of 10 dishes for the world’s media. “It was our job to deliver large amounts of bandwidth to get the story out, generally through store and forward file transfer,” explained Stephen. “Using NewsSpotter, we provided the connection to the world from a place that is still quite remote.”

Auriga Networks partners with Eutelsat distributor bigblu to offer the NewsSpotter service to the broadcast industry.

Explaining the benefits of the partnership, Selwyn Petterson, Director of B2B Services at bigblu, said: “When we started selling the Eutelsat services, we realised very quickly that we did not have the expertise in the broadcasting industry for the merging of terrestrial and satellite bandwidth and the routing and handoff to the network, so it was absolutely vital that we find a partner to work with.”

“When NewsSpotter came along it was a godsend. Here was a new product, at an affordable price, that we could manage technically and support and by teaming with Auriga Networks we were able to deliver services across broadcasting networks in a way that our competitors could not do.”

“The service has been designed to be as simple as possible,” explained Selwyn. “It needs just two hours to train someone in how to use the service. We train them on how to find the satellite and how to use the booking portal, so they can set up the system and get the best from it very quickly.”

“The benefits of NewsSpotter for bigblu and Auriga Networks is very clear,” concluded Selwyn. “The service has helped us to develop our companies faster with new products and new technologies for the broadcasting industry and we are leading the field in this area in the UK.”

NewsSpotter is delivered by Eutelsat’s KA-SAT High Throughput Satellite, which entered commercial service in May 2011. With its total capacity of more than 70 Gbps, KA-SAT ushers in a new era of competitively-priced, satellite-delivered services for broadcasters, businesses and consumers. The satellite forms the cornerstone of a new satellite infrastructure, which includes eight main satellite gateways across Europe connected to the Internet by a fibre backbone ring.