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Product Spotlight: E6100

Dec 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

What it is: E6100 from Tandberg, a digital electronic-news-gathering encoder. Introduced a year ago, the product began shipping in April. The E6100 is intended for mobile applications, such as broadcasting from a helicopter or other aircraft.
How it works: The encoder digitizes and compresses analog signals so they can be sent back via radio to the station. When the signal is already digital, the encoder handles the compression needed to send it.
Features and benefits: The E6100 is not intended to be placed in a rack as a fixed unit. It is designed for airborne applications where size is of the essence and is about half the width of a standard 19-inch rack model. “You need something as small as possible in a helicopter,” said Lisa Hobbs, director of marketing for Tandberg in Orlando, Fla. The device operates on DC power, which is used in helicopters, rather than on AC power. The unit has a front panel that can be removed and used remotely, while the box-the guts of the machine-resides in the back of the helicopter. “You can take the front panel into the cockpit and still operate the unit,” she said.
Family ties: The E6100 operates exactly like its sister product, the E5100, a rack-mount encoder designed for mobile applications, such as trucks that use racks. The E5100 can also be used in helicopters, though it is much larger than the E6100.
Problem solved: The picture from a digital signal is far more robust and virtually eliminates the jagged stripes, snow and loss of feed that can happen with analog transmission from remote locations. WPIX-TV in New York has taken the E5100 encoder 125 miles out with perfect picture quality-double the distance it was able to achieve using analog technology, Ms. Hobbs said.
Cost: $46,000.
Target market: Broadcasters, TV stations and news organizations with helicopters and other news-gathering aircraft. Ms. Hobbs also expects Tandberg to expand into new market areas. The encoder could be used in military planes and helicopters and in law enforcement applications, she said.