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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on December 03, 2013

I was talking to a friend of Belden's at a recent trade show. We were discussing using Category cable for audio, something we have discussed at great length in this blog. "I never use that cable for audio," said the customer.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Well, all the install Cat 5e or 6 or 6a is solid conductor," he replied. "And we all know that solid conductors break."

He was especially insistent that those solid conductors, when soldered into an XLR, often break. This is called 'work hardening'. Do you believe that? If you do, it probably means that you've been using some very cheap cable, because wires that break are not annealed correctly. One of the things you get with good quality cable and good quality manufacturing is annealing. Annealing is a process where the conductor is put into a hot oven to let the molecules come in contact with each other after the drawing process (big wire drawn into smaller wire), but not hot enough to melt the copper. Cheaply made cable sometimes rushes this process or does not anneal at all, creating a brittle wire that will break with just a few flexes. Everyone remembers bell wire from the hardware store. Probably not annealed at all.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on November 19, 2013

While I was recently in Amsterdam, the home of IBC, the European version of NAB, someone handed me one of our European competitor’s catalogs. It showed the distance their cables can go at HD and 3G (2K). Funny thing though, they didn't mention anywhere about the SMPTE formula (-20 dB at half the clock) which is the formula by which we at Belden determine the recommended distance of our cables. In fact, we can generate these numbers before we even make the cable. These are "safe distances" and are about half way to the digital cliff. I say "about" because, as chips improve, the effective distance keeps getting longer and longer. It is a common complaint we get, that you can go twice (even close to three times) the distances we show. Yes, those "recommended" distances are intended to keep you safe. Slap on connectors with the same bandwidth and return loss and you're good to go.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on November 12, 2013

If you work with any kind of cable, certainly audio and video cables, then you are familiar with the shields in these constructions. Some are braid shields, good at low frequencies, starting at 1 kHz and slowly deteriorating around 400 MHz. (The openings in the braid structure begin to look bigger and bigger at shorter wavelengths.) Then we have foil shields. These are superior at high frequencies, starting around 10 MHz and going as far up as we can go. (Up to 20 GHz in some designs.) The foil is too thin and fragile to use it as a connection point, so, if you only have a foil shield, we give you a drain wire, a bare wire touching the foil that is your connection point. The ideal shield is a combination of foil plus braid. And the best of those is the highest braid coverage (around 95%) with a foil underneath.

You can even improve on that. A tri-shield, with an outer and inner foil, and a 95% braid in-between, is even better shield effectiveness. We have one digital video cable like this, Belden 1794A. Quad shields (foil/braid/foil/braid) would probably be even better, but I don't think it has even been tried with two copper 95% braid shields. It would require special connectors since the cable would be much bigger. If you know quad shielding, it's probably in the broadband/CATV world, where the two braids are 40% and 60% coverage, and are made with aluminum wires. This low braid coverage makes a huge difference in shield effectiveness.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on November 08, 2013

Do you do theatrical lighting? Are you going to be in Las Vegas for the LDI (Live Design International) show? (November 21-24, at the Las Vegas Convention Center). Well, arrive a day early and join us for Belden's Sixth Annual "Ethernet Day". It's all day from 9 AM to 5 PM. Just come to Room N251 in the North Hall. We have four presenters and four tables. You'll have to reach down deep for a questions these four cannot answer about wire and cable, fiber optics, Ethernet switches, or all of the above used in theatrical lighting installations. You can spend as much time as you want at any table. All day, if you feel the need!

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 29, 2013

I know the title of today's blog: 83......60.....51.....31 sounds like a long snap call from a quarterback, but, no, these numbers have nothing to do with football.

I remember growing up in the 1950's. We had a giant TV in the living room, a Packard-Bell. On it, I could watch Superman or, on Saturday morning, Marshal J (a local show) in glorious black-and-white. I had an official badge and a cowboy hat to wear for Marshal J, my hero. And, when I got bored (which was often), I would lie on the floor and stick my head under the TV. What did I see? This mysterious 6 x 9-inch oval speaker. Of course, I was probably irradiating my brain, which is why I went into broadcasting, but to me it was magic and I was hooked.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 22, 2013

Back in the 1890's, cars started to be imported into the USA. (The first domestic car was designed by Selden in 1895.) In 1896, most states had a speed limit on the books. These newfangled contraptions were noisy and disturbing and dangerous. So the speed limit was set at two miles an hour in the city (a leisurely walk), and four miles per hour outside of town (a brisk walk). And you had to have a man walk in front with a red flag warning others that you were coming.

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Tags: 4K

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 15, 2013

I was talking yesterday to the outgoing CEO of a large stock fund. He wanted to know how Belden fit in to the rapid change of technology. I gave him my usual schpeal about how we're looking to the future, how networking with revolutionize the way TV stations are built and operated, how this will empower the "little guy" so we will see tens of thousands, even millions, of streaming video stations on the internet, with the same quality as what we're already used to.

Even my friends at Miranda offer a TV station-in-a-box. And couple this with the rise of 4K video and 8K coming after that, and we have a landscape as alien as any world outside our own. I also mentioned that the only thing that really mattered was "compelling content". You've got that and you have everything!

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Tags: Media, Audio, Network

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 08, 2013

I remember at Belden when we started to work on a new data cable around 1993-94. Its secret "in-house" name was DATA-X. This was during the four years in lived in Richmond, Indiana, the location of Belden's biggest factory. (Our corporate offices have since moved to St. Louis.)

When I saw the test data for "DATA-X" I got very excited. Clearly this was a breakthrough cable. So much so that I realized it had potential to carry lots of other signals besides just 10BaseT or 100BaseT Ethernet. So I begged our marketing folks NOT to use the word "data" in the name of the product. (The previous product was DataTwist 350.) If it was called DataTwist all people would use it for was data.

Instead, I came up with the name MediaTwist. (One other Belden sales guy, Mike Masucci, will argue with me on this. He says HE came up with the name.)

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Tags: Data

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