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Rogers Sportsnet NHL Hockey Comes Through Loud and Clear with Clear-Com Intercom Systems


Eclipse HX and 1.92-1.93GHz CellCom as the “only possible solution” for crowded Toronto spectrum
Clear-Com®, a global leader in real-time communication solutions and services, has met Rogers Sportsnet’s need to produce three live hockey broadcasts simultaneously, thanks to the Eclipse HX digital matrix system and CellCom wireless intercom solution.
Rogers Sportsnet uses the Eclipse HX at CBC Toronto’s downtown studio to produce Hockey Night in Canada and other NHL games, for distribution over a number of Canadian TV channels. Sportsnet has built a stunning, 11,000 square foot open concept TV set in Studio 41, which it is leasing from CBC.
Rogers Sportsnet hired RP Dynamics Inc. as their broadcast audio consultants for its “NHL Studios Project”. RP Broadcast and Wireless Specialist John Christie designed, installed and integrated the Eclipse HX system into the project intercom with support from Clear-Com’s Canadian distributor, GerrAudio.
The Eclipse HX-Delta digital matrix frame is central to Sportsnet’s wireless intercom system. “Not only does it allow us to interconnect with the CBC’s legacy intercom, but the integrated Eclipse HX E-Que wireless cellular card lets us connect 17 Clear-Com CellCom wireless beltpacks to one easily configurable system, providing the flexibility of having a Matrix Intercom station on your belt,” said Geoff Maurice, GerrAudio’s product manager.
The Sportsnet installation also includes a Clear-Com HX-MADI and HVX-A16 card as a trunk to their existing intercom, six CellCom Active Antennas, two CellCom antenna splitters, and a 1RU V-Series lever-key control keypanel.
RP’s John Christie describes the Eclipse HX and CellCom as “the only intercom solution for this space.” The reason: Sportnet’s NHL intercom system is connected to three control rooms – one for each broadcast. In addition, there are various dressing rooms/backstage areas that serve the broadcasts. “Clear-Com’s CellCom wireless beltpacks work in the license-free 1.92-1.93GHz frequency band,” said Christie. “The 2.4GHz band is jammed in downtown Toronto, while CBC-TV already uses 900MHz intercoms in its many other studios here. Without access to the 1.92-1.93GHz band, we could not connect the many behind-the-scenes personnel wirelessly.”
“Setting up Sportsnet NHL’s CellCom intercom system was straight-forward and simple,” continues Christie. “Whenever they wanted to extend the coverage into other areas of the studio, we just put up another antenna and connected it back to the HX E-Que card.”
The Eclipse HX Delta is a three rack unit (3RU) matrix intercom system frame that comes with two Central Processing Unit (CPU) cards and two external power supplies. It has slots for four I/O interface cards and three interface modules. The HX E-Que card provides connectivity between the Eclipse HX-Delta system and the 17 CellCom beltpacks. The HX-MADI card connects the Eclipse HX Delta to wired intercom positions, such as those in Sportsnet’s three control rooms. The A16 analog card provides a switchable analog backup system in case of MADI network failure.
“Since going live with CellCom on October 8, 2014 – the first broadcast from the new NHL studio – the system has worked without a hitch,” continued Christie. “CellCom does what we need it to do, without us running into the interference issues on the 900MHz and 2.4GHz. The client is happy with the results, and so are we.”