Friday, August 15, 2014

Tactical Fiber: 3 Reasons why you Should be Using it

We have come a long way since digital video began in the 1990's. Today, lighter weight cables, the increase in outdoor broadcasts and the need to transport signals at greater bit-rates over longer distances all play an important role in cable design.

Electronic news gathering (ENG) vehicles, for example, are always looking for ways to keep the weight of their trucks to a minimum and emergency communication systems rely on products to to hold up under the harshest conditions.

Since emergency communication systems are an essential part of broadcast, having a cable that is durable is our first reason you should use a tactical fiber assembly.

1. Military Grade for Hostile Environments - Tactical fiber cables should use a rugged polyurethane outer jacket, an aramid strength member, and high strength fiber coatings and buffers. This will significantly improve flex-life, crush resistance and tensile strength when compared to typical permanent installation multi-strand fiber cables.


2. Lighter Weight - Because tactical fiber cables are lighter weight than traditional cable, they are a perfect choice for mobile or ENG applications.

3. Increased Bandwidth - Perhaps the most important attribute of any fiber optic cable is the increase in bandwidth. Traditional coaxial cable is limited in both bandwidth and length. Fiber cable not only offers greater bandwidth over longer distances, but also has a better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as well as greater immunity to interference.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THANK YOU for a Wonderful 25 Years!

In 1989 Clark Wire & Cable opened its doors to the broadcast industry.  Being a leader in cable and connectivity technology, Clark has been first-to-market on many products that have evolved to become industry standards. 


As broadcast and AV technologies evolved, Clark has continued to innovate with products such as gas-injected coax, hybrid fiber and tactical fiber cables for use with the latest HD video standards and applications.


As part of our solutions based service model, Clark also offers customized interconnect products. From cable assemblies and custom manufactured cables to metal fabrication and custom wired patchbays, Clark can deliver connectivity products built specifically for each system.


As Clark continues to grow and innovate in our markets, we continually strive to deliver leading edge products with our distinctive personalized service. We recognize the value and support of each and every customer, and look forward to continually earning your business.
Clark has been providing quality products to the broadcast and professional AV industries for the past 25 years! 

1989: Clark Opens its Doors


  • Pay-per-view cable TV service reaches about 20% of all wired households.
  •  Time Inc. and Warner Communications announce a $14 billion merger
  • FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service set up a testing schedule for the proponents of what were then several analog NTSC-compatible advanced television systems looking to be considered for approval.
  •  Baseball signs $400M deal with ESPN.

1994:

  • The Winter Olympics sets ratings records, becoming the most-watched event in TV history with 204 million U.S. viewers, or 83% of the country, watching at least some of CBS's coverage.

  • The World Cup audience from 52 televised games reaches up to 33 billion people. Univision, the Spanish-language network, anticipates $24 million in ad revenue. ABC gets a 4.7 rating and 15 share for the 10 games prior to the final.



1999-2000: 

  • Sony releases Digital 8 video formatand the world prepares for Y2K.

  • The year of the Digital Video Disc


2007: 

  • Organic LCD TV's (OLCD) are Introduced and revolutionize flat panel displays.
 
  • Time Running Out on Analog TV's as the FCC deadline approaches. By 2009 all broadcasts are to be in Hi-def digital format.  Oh, we've been ready! Check out our line of HD cables.


2009-2010:


  • All manufacturers release high definition TV's and monitors. 1080 is considered the standard in the industry. 

  • HDMI digital output allows a connection from your TV or monitor to a hi-def cable box, satellite receiver and/or Blu-ray player. It delivers true 1080 picture quality as well as stereo audio all through one multi-pin connector.   Yep, that's right, Clark offers HDMI cable too!

  • 3D movies and 3D television sets arrive.  Once again Clark is ready with their one-of-a-kind 3D cable CD7506

Do you have a Clark story to share? Post it on Facebook or Twitter #ClarkWire25

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top 5 Reasons to use CAT5e in Place of Coax

At the end of last year I posted a blog on the Top 5 Reasons to Use Good Quality Durable Category 5 Network Cable (Read Here).  This month we'll add to that thought with the top 5 reasons to use CAT5e or CAT6 for video.
   

1.  Video over CAT5e or CAT6 is cost effective as it eliminates the need for additional coaxial cables.  As I wrote in the previous piece, the price difference between traditional coaxial cable and Category cable can be significant.  An integrators cable cost can be reduced, especially with long cable runs, by choosing to run CAT5 rather than coaxial cable. Cable weight (Category cable weighs approximately 23 lbs. vs. 54lbs for coaxial cable) also plays a role in reducing labor costs (it generally takes longer to install heavier cable).

2.  Configuration of video over CAT5e or CAT6 is much easier than having multiple splitter taps and amplifiers.
 

3.  A high quality signal is maintained by the use of a hub based RF video distribution systemThe use of twisted pair cable such as CAT5e or CAT6 can provide high quality images for the common frame speeds.

4.  The video distribution system of CAT5 or CAT7 can carry out voice and auxiliary signals simultaneously i.e. there is no interference between voice and video data.

5.  A system with video over CAT5 or CAT7 allows video streaming from the computer and it is made possible through a broadband video system.


Following the link for a full list of network cables (Network Cables).  
 
Clark Wire & Cable is dedicated to technological innovation and their products have always been developed to exacting standards. Since its inception in 1989 Clark has been first-to-market with a number of key products and the innovation continues today. For additional information, contact Clark Wire & Cable at 800-222-5348 or visit our web-site at www.clarkwire.com.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Streamlining the Meeting Process: Clark and FCTV


Engineers often have to work under less than optimal conditions. From time constraints to durability issues, engineers have to come up with unique methods for combating obstacles that are sure to arise in any installation.

Freeport Community Access Television (FCTV), a public access and government facility channel, had multiple issues to address.  Among the concerns were, overcoming a difficult routing path, aesthetics, labor costs and the ability to pass HD/SDI video.

Rick Simard, director of Freeport television offered this synopsis: by providing easier, better and more efficient access to community information, along with better sound reinforcement in the community center facility, we think we have greatly streamlined the whole meeting process.  Freeport enlisted the help of Clark Wire & Cable to take on the challenge.

Streamlining the Engineering Work Process

Difficult Routing Path/Aesthetic Concerns

Several video monitors and HD cameras were strategically positioned allowing easy access to meetings. Due to the unique positions of several camera and monitor locations, maintaining a clear path to run cable proved to be difficult.

Since a portion of the cable would be exposed, it was important to have a product that was particularly low profile. At .159” O.D. and a weight of 18 lbs. per 1,000 feet, Clark’s CD7523 miniature HD video cable made it easy for Freeport to pull cable to the required locations and provided a low profile option for an aesthetically pleasing environment.

Saving Labor Costs/Product Able to Pass HD-SDI Signals

Initially Freeport had questioned whether “miniature” video cable could stand up to the rigors of both the installation and long term wear and tear. Learning that the crush resistance and aging characteristics of the CD7523 surpassed industry standards made it an easy choice for Freeport. CD7523’s flexible outer jacket made it quite manageable during the installation process and was easy to strip with either manual or powered cable strippers saving labor time.

Clark’s CD series coax features specifications that meet or exceed SMPTE 259M, 292M and 424M standards for high-definition digital video interconnect applications.

About Freeport:

Rick Simard has 25 years of experience in the broadcast industry and is currently the director of Freeport Cable TV. He is also technical director of multiple access sites. He may be contacted at rs@freeportmaine.com.

About Clark Wire & Cable:

Clark Wire & Cable is dedicated to technological innovation and theirs products have always been developed to exacting standards. Since its inception in 1989 Clark has been first-to-market with a number of key products and the innovation continues today. For additional information, contact Clark Wire & Cable at 800-222-5348 or visit www.clarkwire.com.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Top Three Attributes of a Digital Video Cable

One of the most common questions we come across when dealing with connectivity products is: what attributes make a good digital video cable? Since digital signals operate in a wide frequency band, it only makes sense to have a video cable that can support this. With so many important questions to consider when deciding to purchase products for digital video, we thought it would be helpful to shed some lights on product attributes that make up a good digital video cable.

1. Solid Copper Center Conductor – If you are dealing with signals above 50 MHz, a center conductor made of copper clad steel (designated CCS) is acceptable. This is because at frequencies above 50 MHz the signal will migrate to the outer portion of the center conductor. At higher frequencies there is no need for a solid copper center conductor so a CCS cable is appropriate. The problem is that since a good portion of a digital signal extends below 50 MHz, a cable with a 100% copper center conductor should be used.

2. Effective Broadband Shielding – When it comes to cable shielding, more of the same isn’t necessarily better. Often times customers are understandably under the impression that a cable with two braid shields is a good option. Although braid shields offer up to 95% coverage, this is only the case at higher frequencies. You can achieve maximum protection at all frequencies by using a cable that offers a 95% braid shield plus a foil shield (100%).

3. Gas Foam Injected Dielectric – There are many choices of dielectric material for coaxial cable but in the digital realm we should chose a dielectric material that offers a good high frequency response, is fairly flexible yet relatively firm to prevent center conductor migration. Gas foam injected dielectrics have a good frequency response and is the best option for a digital cable.


Recommended Digital Video Cables:
CD7523 High density wiring applications in racks, studios or trucks, short runs
CD7559 General purpose, studio, facility, field, medium runs 
CD7506 General purpose, studio, facility, field, medium to long runs


About Clark Wire & Cable Clark Wire & Cable, a leader in broadcast and professional AV interconnect technology, is celebrating over 23 years of business. With a focus on quality and innovation, Clark Wire & Cable delivers unique and reliable solutions dedicated to the markets it serves. From precision engineered bulk cable and cable assemblies to connectors, tools and custom panels, Clark Wire & Cable has remained committed to delivering comprehensive interconnect solutions. Contact Clark at (800) 222-5348.
 

About the Author: Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable. Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top Three Products to Help AV Installers Save Time

Anyone who has worked in the AV industry understands the frustration of having to complete a project only to be bogged down with tedious tasks that take up way too much time.  Product attributes that may seem trivial end up being a godsend when time is a factor. 

We've put together the top three time-saving products that significantly reduce labor time and offer a bit of relief for the AV technician.  

AUDIO CABLE

Preparing audio cable to be terminated takes some time.  The outer cable jacket has to be stripped and the conductors properly tinned.  Using an audio cable such as SPA22GS with a bonded foil shield (shield bonded to the outer jacket) allows the engineer to strip outer jacket easily and avoids the tedium up separating the jacket from the foil.  

Engineers should also use a product with low-wick Insulation.  The high melt temperature of such a cable minimizes insulation reduction when soldering.   

The last thing to look for are  tinned copper conductors.  This provides low loss, corrosion resistant protection that is easy to solder. 

COMBINATION AUDIO/VIDEO CABLES

I can't count the times that I've heard the question, "I need to run a couple audio lines and two or three coaxes, do you have anything that will work?".  The answer is undoubtedly yes.  If fact, it's easy to find manufacturers who offer such cables but it's really quite another to incorporate the product attributes mentioned above with a high quality, HD video coax.  

Too often, manufacturers "throw" a bunch of cables together, loosely jacket it and offer it up as a viable solution.  The problem is that bundled cables, especially those with varying diameters, need the sub-cabled group (audio cables for example) to be layed in a specific manner.  The cables are twisted together about a longitudinal axis.  This prevents the individual cables from being easily pulled from the overall bundle.

Finding a cable such as the RCC series saves labor time (installer doesn't have to pull individual audio and video cables) as well as provides a high quality solution for HD cable runs.

ADC PROAX® TRIAX GAUGE

This last product may be small in stature but really is a time saver when it comes to preparing a triaxial cable for termination using ADC connectors.  Placing the triaxial cable in the appropriate slot allows the installer to determine exactly where to cut the outer jacket, outer dielectric, inner braid shielding and inner dielectric.

This tool has proven to be a most useful addition to and installers tool box.  For more information on terminating a triaxial cable using ADC connectors please click here



About Clark Wire & Cable
Clark Wire & Cable, a leader in broadcast and professional AV interconnect technology, is celebrating over 23 years of business. With a focus on quality and innovation, Clark Wire & Cable delivers unique and reliable solutions dedicated to the markets it serves. From precision engineered bulk cable and cable assemblies to connectors, tools and custom panels, Clark Wire & Cable has remained committed to delivering comprehensive interconnect solutions.  Contact Clark at (800) 222-5348. 
About the Author:

Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable.  Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy.
 

      
   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Technical News You Can Use: RS-232 Pinout

RS-232 is a serial digital interface originally used to connect a PC to a printer or other peripheral device and is still in use today as an interface for embedded computer development systems and industrial control equipment. 

RS-232 defines three types of connections: electrical, functional, and mechanical. 

The most commonly used interface, RS-232 is ideal for the data-transmission range of 0-20 Kbps/50 ft. (15.2 n). It employs unbalanced signaling and is usually used with 25-pin D-shaped connectors (DB25) to interconnect data terminal equipment DTEs (computers, controllers, etc.) and data communications equipment DCEs (modems, converters, etc.). 

Serial data exists through and RS-232 port via the Transmit Data (TD) lead and arrives at the destination device's RS-232 port through its Receive Data (RD) lead. RS-232 is compatible with these standards: ITU V.24, V.28: ISO IS2110. Following are the common or standard wiring pinouts for Serial Data Transmission cables.

1 Protective ground 6 Data set ready 11 N/C 16 Secondary received data 21 Signal quality detector
2 Transmitted data 7 Signal ground/common return 12 Secondary received line signal indicator 17 Receiver signal element timing 22 Ring indicator
3 Received data 8 Received line signal detector 13 Secondary clear to send 18 N/C 23 Data signal rate selector
4 Request to send 9 Positive voltage 14 Secondary transmitted 19 Secondary request to send 24 DTE transmitter signalling element
5 Clear to send 10 Negative voltage 15 DCE transmitter signal element timing 20 Data terminal ready 25 N/C


 

Clark Wire & Cable, a leader in broadcast and professional AV interconnect technology, is celebrating over 23 years of business. With a focus on quality and innovation, Clark Wire & Cable delivers unique and reliable solutions dedicated to the markets it serves. From precision engineered bulk cable and cable assemblies to connectors, tools and custom panels, Clark Wire & Cable has remained committed to delivering comprehensive interconnect solutions.  Contact Clark at (800)222-5348
About the Author:

Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable.  Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Why the Rental and Staging Industry Needs Product Durability

According to InfoComm's January 2013 Economic Snapshot, the Performance Index of the Rental & Staging segment is expected to increase 1.9% from 74.3% to 76.2%.  We thought it would be interesting to test the rental & staging market to determine whether or not there is an unfulfilled need for a cable to withstand stage and field abuse.

It goes without saying that a high quality product is essential, especially when dealing with digital video signals.  What about a product offering that combines quality and durability? Is there a need for this?  We think so.


Although it's assumed that rental and staging engineers work in a harsh environment, we can only truly embrace the marketing concept of discovering and addressing customer need through market research. 

In addition to the severity of the environment, to what extent cables are affected and how important durability is versus quality of signal, price and other attributes are all questions that will help answer our question.   

Our first course of action was to make sure that our target market is in agreement with our assumption that the environment in which they work is indeed considered a harsh environment. Furthermore, we should also consider what specifically the target market considers their environment to be. By asking questions about their environment, as well as questions about the importance of certain salient product attributes, we will have a better idea of the viability of our offering.  

According to our survey, approximately 55% of rental and staging engineering claimed they worked in either an outdoor environment or an hectic work environment where equipment, in particular, cable was prone to abuse.  In addition, 60% of respondents surveyed indicated that a cable with high tear resistance or tensile strength was the single or second most important attribute in a cable product (40% thought it was the number one most important attribute, 20% the second most important). 

Using the survey as a backdrop, we can now turn our attention to a product offering that fits the bill. 

Clark Wire & Cable:

Quality:  HFC Series hybrid fiber cables feature precision specifications that meet or exceed SMPTE 311M-2009 requirements for optical and electrical loss, mechanical strength, and environmental performance.

Durability: Tactical-grade tight buffers and HFCTP fiber elements have three times the tensile strength for added ruggedness. Outer jacket of the HFCTP utilizes a TPE jacket compound that is abrasion resistant and exceptionally flexible, even in low temperature environments.


About Clark Wire & Cable


Clark Wire & Cable, a leader in broadcast and professional AV interconnect technology, is celebrating over 23 years of business. With a focus on quality and innovation, Clark Wire & Cable delivers unique and reliable solutions dedicated to the markets it serves. From precision engineered bulk cable and cable assemblies to connectors, tools and custom panels, Clark Wire & Cable has remained committed to delivering comprehensive interconnect solutions.  Contact Clark at (800)222-5348

About the Author:

Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable.  Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Top 3 Reasons to Use Star Quad Mic Cable

Clark Mink4 with Built-in Drain Wire
1.   Greatly Reduces Labor Cost - Standard Star Quad mic cables require a certain amount of prep time before one is able to terminate a connector on the end.  Mic cables that have braid shielding are especially time consuming to prepare because the braid has to be "unwoven" in order to make a drain wire which is ultimately connected to ground.  This is accomplished by a process known as combing out the braid.   

Using a Star Quad type microphone cable with a built-in drain wire, like Clark Wire & Cable's Mink4, avoids the time consuming process of combing out the braid


2.  Reduces Inductive Reactance of the Cable -  Simply defined by Wikipedia, inductive reactance is an opposition to the change of current on an inductive element.

The important thing to remember in relation to microphone cables is that inductive reactance acts as a low pass filter progressively reducing high frequencies.  To make the situation worse, the longer the cable run the more inductive reactance is added. 

By using a Star Quad type microphone cable on low impedance microphones you can greatly reduce inductive reactance of the cable.  

3.  Noise Cancelling Effect - As suggested by its name, common-mode signals are signals which appear on both wires of a 2-wire cable.  Furthermore, these signals are in-phase and have equal amplitudes. If we have a mic cable with 4 conductors and twist two of the conductors together (repeating the process for the second pair), we reduce what is called the "loop area". The effect is that noise and interference encountered will be the same on each wire providing noise cancellation or common mode rejection at each pin.

About Clark Wire:



Clark Wire & Cable (www.clarkwire.com) has been a leading supplier of cable products and solutions covering a wide range applications for the delivery of audio/visual content for the past 20 years.  For more information please contact at (800)222-5348.  


About the Author:Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable.  Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy.
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AV System Project Managers & Using Force Field Analysis

AV System Project Managers & Using Force Field Analysis

In a previous blog entitled: Conflict Management Model, I made the point that although change is often met with ambivalence...it is inevitable that at some point change will occur. It may not necessarily be the magnitude of the change itself but rather how we manage change.  Although this was referring to change in the workplace, it's also perfectly relevant for changes that occur in a project.  

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles in managing an AV integration project, or any project for that matter, is the ability to manage change.  Project managers must plan for maintaining effective communication, not only between the client and themselves but also the project manager and the install team, account manager, technical support, product support and any other relevant person involved in the project.  In addition, the ability to allocate and secure resources in a timely manner is essential.

As we know, the tasks can seem quite daunting but arriving at solutions in the planning stages preempts troubles that may surface.  Contingency planning, risk management and, thanks to Kurt Lewin, a pioneer in social psychology, Force Field Analysis, helps tackle the problem of managing changes that occur.  

Lewin's concept, Force Field Analysis, is based on what he calls driving forces (forces that promote change) and restraining forces (forces resisting changes).  Issues that arise, according to Lewin, are held in a state of balance by opposing forces.  By identifying each issue we can evaluate both the driving and restraining forces and assign them a power or strength number.  

How to Use Force Field Analysis - There are a number of ways to plot and evaluate the results but one of my favorites is taken from the Mind Tools web-site (see diagram 1).

  1. Define the Problem at Hand - All good decision-making plans start with defining, and sometimes re-defining the problem.
  2. Make Note of the Issue.  I like the method used by Mind Tools to draw a box in the middle of a piece of paper and write the issue in the box.
  3. List Driving Forces - On the left side of the box, list the driving forces (forces for change)
  4. List Resisting Changes - On the right side of the box, list resisting changes (forces against change).
  5. Quantitative Analysis - Assign a number 1 through 10 (0 being the weakest) to each force, both positive and negative. 
  6. Add up Each Side - Total the numbers for the positive forces and do the same with the negative forces.
  7. Make your Plan - Notice which side has more points and determine which choices can be made to bring the problem to equilibrium.  Make your plan based off of what changes will take place to help solve the problem. 


Diagram 1: Force Field Analysis http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_06.htm
    

About the Author:
Dan Collins - Dan has worked as an audio system design engineer, director of marketing and currently director of business development for Clark Wire & Cable.  Mr. Collins holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and specializes in strategic planning, integrated marketing communication planning and organizational strategy