The LEMO Group to serve 5 billion fans
Qatari stadiums (caption showing Stadium 974) have all been equipped with LEMO connectors and NORTHWIRE cables.
Launched in 1930 in Uruguay and held every four years, the Football World Cup has missed only two editions (1942 and 1946 because of the Second World War).
So, this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be the 22nd edition. It is the first one to be held in an Arab country and, for climate reasons, the first one organised in winter.
FIFA estimate a record number of 5 billion television viewers will follow the tournament. No need to tell you that any broadcast interruption would create quite a stir around the world. It is out of the question to miss out on a decisive moment. LEMO is among those who keep watch.
The eight Qatari stadiums have been equipped with permanent broadcast infrastructure, which was installed by system integrators assigned by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and supervised by local broadcaster BeIN and Al Kass. All of them will use LEMO Group solutions : the stadiums have received an average of several hundred LEMO 3K.93C connectors terminated to thousands of metres of SMPTE cable. A significant amount of this SMPTE cable being supplied from NORTHWIRE, the Swiss group’s US cable factory.
This is of course not a simple trial : LEMO has been a leader in interconnect solutions for the broadcast industry for several decades. It is the creator of the 3K.93C Series, adopted as a global standard for HDTV television (read more in “ 1995 - How the TV Revolution Started ” in CONNECTED 17). Today, the Group’s solutions equip most TV studios in the world as well as major entertainment and sports infrastructures.
AVC Doha-Qatar, one of the integrators in charge of guaranteeing the zero-defect broadcast of this World Cup, in cooperation with LEMO Middle East, has equipped three of the eight Qatari stadiums. We have asked its Managing Director Tom Smider about this special mission.
You are working for billions of “ end customers ” … does this put any particular pressure on you ?
Tom Smider : This broadcast installation should be reliable all the way – from the camera position to your TV screen at home. Every single detail of the system requires specific attention and care.
What measures guarantee the system’s reliability ?
All the positions, especially the primary camera locations will have at least one spare connection point for redundancy. The reason for this is the absolute rule in broadcasting “ The show must go on ” ! At home you will never get the feeling that anything is wrong or missing.
How many cameras are there in each stadium ?
For the coverage of the game, 44 camera positions are provided. This number does not include the cameras for press conferences, those in mixed zone areas, VIP areas, drop-off, presentation studios, interview positions, media tribune, VAR (video assistant referees) and others… If we include all these positions, the number can rise way above 150 cameras per stadium.
This must imply a large number of people as well. How many will be participating in shooting the images and broadcasting them towards the rest of the world ?
From cameramen behind the main stadium cameras, those with a camera on their shoulder, the cable-cam operators, the drone operators, the sound engineers, producers, directors, and editors, all the way to on-site technicians, and many more ; hundreds of people are involved in the process of making the show. Broadcasting is a huge operation.
Why did you choose LEMO Group solutions ?
LEMO connectors are a standard in the broadcast industry. The quality level of the product is amazing, and customer support is absolutely on the highest professional level.
How about NORTHWIRE cables ?
They are quite “ young ”, since they were developed in 2017 by LEMO’s US factory and the World Cup is their first major application. It is true that other brands of SMPTE cables are better known and established in the Middle East market. However, based on unquestionable LEMO quality, we decided to go for NORTHWIRE cables. We made a great effort – with LEMO’s help – to present them and convince the client with technical data and other proofs of quality and reliability. Our decision was the right one : their quality is excellent, they are sturdier, easier to pull and much easier to terminate. All of this has been well proven by the testing and usage during the inauguration of Lusail stadium, the biggest of the World Cup 2022.
You work with LEMO for the maintenance as well
Yes, indeed. After the installation, testing, certifying and handover of the system, maintenance is the most critical part. Maintenance of a broadcast system – especially of the SMPTE connection points – require precision, skills, proper tools, and test equipment. So, trained personnel is the biggest challenge. Connector manufacturers are the ones who have the best know-how about these components, thus working with the LEMO team for the maintenance plan is a must.
Did the choice of a complete LEMO interconnect solution also make your work easier ?
We got everything as a single package, from cables to connectors, interconnection elements, fully assembled boxes, all tested and certified. No headache with different suppliers, different sources, multiple forwarding, products collection, transport, etc. This is a big advantage. Moreover, it saves on the cost of labour, in-house assembly, certification, and delay in material delivery.