Detroit Pistons Go Wireless at the Palace With ABonAir

When Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E)/ Detroit Pistons were looking for a top-of-the-line wireless broadcast transmission system for live game productions at the Palace at Auburn Hills, they tapped ABonAir wireless broadcasting. ABonAir’s AB420 wireless broadcast system combined with its Fiber Coverage Extender enables the PS&E production team to reach all points of the arena, delivering reliable and stable wireless coverage of Detroit Pistons games.

Live basketball coverage requires agility and creativity. Basketball is challenging due to the speed of turnovers, breakaways, last minute full court shorts, and plays that spill out-of-bounds. Sports fans don’t settle with simply watching the game anymore; they want to experience it. They want to see the players as they exit the tunnel; they want to see what goes on behind the scenes in the dressing rooms, special angles for dunks, and even warm-up sessions. PS&E needed the camera to have access to all the points of the arena – Floor, Lower Bowl, Upper Bowl, without a tethered cabled camera. They also required a wireless system with full control over the camera, an integrated intercom, and access to all parameters from OCP/CCU.
One of the challenges of the arena is the antenna location, which is usually installed close to the control center, where the receiver is. However, the Palace’s control room sits deep inside the arena, surrounded by concrete and metal and without a line-of-sight to the bowl where the cameras are. The antenna install point was far from the control room. Therefore there was a need to connect the receiver to the antennas far from the antennas efficiently and without signal loss.
ABonAir’s AB420 wireless broadcast system, attached to Ikegami HDK-95c, enabled the PS&E production team to reach all points of the arena, delivering reliable and stable wireless coverage of the Detroit Pistons games.
The ABonAir Fiber Coverage Extender (FCE) provided flexible antenna deployment through fiber optic cables without complex RF cables or signal attenuation. It enabled installing the receiver at the control center, far from the antenna array in the bowl, at a 4th floor mid-court location. The AB420 integrated Camera Control Units (CCU or RCP), Tally Light and Intercom allowed the production team to perfectly control the games’ multi-camera broadcasts. The MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) radio and modem architecture allows for simultaneous transmission of two data streams via two radio transceivers. Combining signals into one signal in the receiver produces better coverage and link stability.