ITV News makes sound investment in Sony wireless audio at eleven regional studios

ITV has upgraded its UK regional news studios with Sony’s DWX Gen 3 digital wireless audio family, including microphones and beltpack transmitters for presenters and guests.

Monitors and switchers television studio at the ITV
How we helped
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The Challenge
  • Broadcaster needed wireless audio solution for eleven UK regional news studios
  • Required upgrade from analogue UHF to latest digital wireless technology for high quality sound and stable multichannel operation
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The Solution
  • Sony DWX Series Gen 3 digital wireless microphones, transmitters, receivers, battery chargers and antennas, totalling over 350 units
  • DWX Wireless Studio control software
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The Outcome
  • Excellent audio quality with wide frequency response, low noise and extremely low latency
  • Convenient remote setup, adjustment and monitoring of wireless transmitters and receivers

Can we help with your wireless audio needs?

The latest digital systems have matured in terms of battery life. The Sony transmitters’ green credentials stack up very well against analogue, and we can get even longer battery time using reduced transmitter power

Steve Teague,
Head of Technical Services, ITV

Wireless audio supports news studio operations

ITV News operates eleven regional studios across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Wireless audio features extensively in all of its studio operations, including radio mics for presenters and guests as well as in-ear monitoring (IEM) and radio talkback.

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Desk with switchers and monitors. Female reporter with mask speaking into red microphone

Upgrading from analogue

The UK telecoms regulator OFCOM’s commitment to clear the 700 MHz radio frequency band for 5G services gave ITV the opportunity to review its ageing analogue wireless audio estate. Switching from UHF to a spectrally efficient digital system allowed the broadcaster to realise the benefits of crisp low-latency sound with easy configuration, remote operation and appealing operating costs.

Critical evaluation of quality and durability

Before making its decision, ITV conducted an extensive evaluation and testing programme based on Digital TV Group (DTG) standards. This included asessment of several critical considerations including RF performance and efficiency, audio quality and latency plus physical equipment size, durability, ease of operation, battery life and cost.

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Family shot of DWX products

DWX handles audio for presenters and guests

After exploring other solutions, ITV selected Sony’s DWX Gen 3 family of digital wireless technology to provide six wireless channels per studios. Presenters and guests wear light, compact DWT-B03R bodypack transmitter teamed with an unobtrusive lapel mic. These are supplemented for on-camera interviews with DWM-02N handheld wireless microphones. Signals are transmitted to DWR-R03D receivers that are rackmounted on the main studio floor or in a central equipment room.

Low-latency digital sound

“One of our initial concerns with digital equipment was codec latency” notes Steve Teague, Head of Technical Services, ITV. “However with Sony this proved to be very low, allowing us to mix signals from the audio mics with analogue IEMs and real-time talkback without any delay or synching issues.”

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Energy efficient operation

As Steve remarks, DWX Gen3 also allayed ITV’s concerns about the energy efficiency of digital wireless systems: “The latest digital systems have matured in terms of battery life. The Sony transmitters’ green credentials stack up very well against analogue, and we can get even longer battery time using reduced transmitter power.”

Simple centralised management

Centralised operation and system management was another decisive factor for ITV in choosing Sony. DWX Wireless Studio control software allows engineers to monitor system performance, configuration and diagnostics of all transmitters and receivers from a networked PC.

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Several monitors on the wall

Smooth, speedy set-up

Sony delivered around 350 items of DWX wireless technology to provide radio mic facilities in all eleven regional studios. Partial system configuration was performed at ITV’s Bristol studio under the supervision of Technical Support Engineer Nigel Millichap, making use of DWX Wireless Studio control software to assist quick set-up. Installation was completed at each site by ITV’s local support engineers, with nominated ‘Super Users’ cascading training through to staff at each site.

Reliable, easy to use and great sound

“Above all we wanted a reliable, easy to use system – something you can just switch on and know it’s going to stand up to the daily grind of being dropped or sat on by presenters” says Paul Boardman who supervises audio in ITV’s newsroom at Media City. “What’s more the Sony mics sound great, as you’d expect.”

ITV logo on the wall
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