VGL Group’s TJC pioneers flexible remote broadcasting for teleshopping

COVID-19, Pandemic, TV, Streamimg, Live show, Broadcast, Satellite, Youtube, Transmitter, 5g

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The Jewellery Channel (TJC), a subsidiary of Indian electronic retailer of jewellery and lifestyle products, VGA Group, is taking its live auction-style programming outside of the studio, ushering in a new era for the production and broadcasting of teleshopping shows.

British home shopping channel TJC is using Dejero’s technology to produce some of its live shows on location around the world, with its content available to view live on a number of cable and satellite channels aired in the UK. TJC also streams on YouTube and is available through the Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku apps. The Dejero equipment has also been key to the success of the broadcaster’s business continuity plan during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our teleshopping audience is so used to seeing products being showcased in a studio setting, but are now captivated by our new ability to bring products to them live from outside,” said Martin Willingham, technical director at TJC. “Now, we can engage our audience in different locations in ways that are fun and unique, and this makes us very flexible. It no longer takes a day and a half to set up a studio; we can go from nothing to being ready to broadcast from anywhere in less than 30 minutes thanks to Dejero.”

TJC is a live television and web-based retailer launched in 2006, offering more than 15,000 varieties of luxury products along with an inspiring selection of gifts for every occasion and budget. For the UK and Republic of Ireland alone, TJC broadcasts to more than 30 million homes, making them a well-known household name.

Challenge

On TJC, the products are key but giving the viewer a lively, engaging demo of a product is just as important. That’s why in recent times, the broadcast team decided to try out a new style of broadcasting. In what has become a pioneering move within the teleshopping space, TJC has moved some of its shows outside the studio, filming them on-location around the world. Before taking this leap however, TJC wanted to be sure that it could create exciting on-location programs that maintained the same high quality of video and content its audiences were accustomed to.

The team needed a broadcast transmission solution that would provide flawless, reliable connectivity as a main priority, but also wouldn’t require days of set up before a broadcast. As a falling-price auction-style home shopping channel, TJC also knew that low latency would not only be crucial to the program director, but to the producer as well. Dynamic graphics and pricing updates for example are being uploaded and changed live on air, so producers need to see what is going out before it’s transmitted, to correct mistakes and graphics quickly and efficiently.

Another important consideration for TJC was the ability to guarantee business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the broadcaster to set up secondary broadcast locations and be ready to broadcast from home if necessary, as ordered by the government.

Solution

Using a mix of Dejero EnGo mobile transmitters, a Dejero WayPoint receiver, a Dejero CuePoint return feed server and Dejero LivePlus mobile apps, TJC can film and transmit content from anywhere in the world within 30 minutes of arriving on location.

Dejero’s EnGo transmitters use Smart Bending Technology to aggregate multiple network technologies from multiple operators. The transmitter dynamically and intelligently manages fluctuating bandwidth, packet loss, and latency differences in real-time, meaning TJC doesn’t have to worry about the state of local cellular or data coverage when it is shooting on location. EnGo is combined with the Dejero LivePlus mobile app, downloaded to a smartphone, tablet or notebook, allowing TJC to produce top quality content in any environment.

“EnGo can use Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/5G cellular and Ethernet, and provided there's a stable connection it can use a combination of all three,” said Willingham. “This gives us a backup, we have that comfort the video will continue to go through. Our reputation is paramount, we can’t be seen to be having technical problems.”

The Dejero CuePoint return video and teleprompter server allows TJC producers to see what goes out before it's transmitted, allowing them to correct mistakes and graphics quicker than ever before. This can be done whether TJC is broadcasting on location or from home. When researchers and script writers send updates to the teleprompter feeds in near real-time, CuePoint’s low latency—as low as 250 milliseconds—allows the on-screen talent to read updated text as it flows, ensuring the audience is receiving the most up to date information. It also lets them see their counterpart in the studio, or their counterparts in other remote locations, so they can have a genuine interaction with their colleagues during in-programme conversation. Finally, a Dejero WayPoint receiver allows TJC to reconstruct video transported over multiple IP connections from Dejero transmitters, to decode HEVC or AVC, and to output to SDI or MPEG-TS workflows.

Results

In 2020, TJC successfully hosted its first live US broadcast, featuring Shelby Mustang products. They showcased six limited edition Mustang cars lined up in the studio car park and demonstrated their product on an actual car, rather than on a generic car bonnet in a studio.

“The Dejero EnGo transmitters allowed the presenter and audience to get a close-up view of the inside of the car wheel as it was cleaned. You can’t get that close with alternative RF solutions. I was so impressed with the flexibility of the EnGo,” said Willingham.

The channel also conducted a live broadcast from the desert in Tucson, Arizona, where the presenters were selling products whilst walking amongst giant cacti. Even in this remote location, connectivity was no issue for TJC thanks to Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology. In fact, the viewers assumed the background was a green screen because of how clear the transmission was. The presenter and guest had to walk through the landscape to prove it was real and were able to answer text messages live, on a different time zone.

“Previously, even on our own set, we needed to lay a lot of cables,” said Willingham. “Now, we don’t have to spend a day and a half building a studio, bringing equipment such as vision mixers on-site. It’s brilliant.”

The technology also acted as a comfort blanket for TJC during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it opened up the possibility of moving production from its main studio in Surrey House in London to broadcast from alternative locations, including from home, at short notice, if required by government policy. The broadcaster plans to do more on-location shoots once the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease, with the help of its Dejero equipment. A live test of the 'broadcast from home' scenario was a great success and resulted in not only a high number of sales for the time of day, but a great response from TJC customers saying they were impressed with the channel's technical expertise and professionalism.

"I’m very impressed with Dejero, not only with the technology but with its amazing, responsive support team," concluded Willingham. “The company’s ethos is all about reliable connectivity anywhere – and the technology they have to offer with regards to business continuity and remote production is fantastic. As one of the main TV shopping channels in the UK, we broadcast 24/7, 365 days a year and our reputation depends on us not having technical problems. The reliability and sturdiness of the Dejero workflow has really impressed us and has enabled us to engage with our audiences on a different level."

TJC’s parent company, VGL group, is a professionally managed fully integrated electronic retailer of jewellery and lifestyle products. VGL has its head office as well as its main manufacturing facility in Jaipur, India, which employs approximately 1200 people. VGL also has sourcing offices in China, Hong-Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. VGL owns Jewellery TV shopping channels in the UK and USA broadcasting 24/7 it’s live programming in over 116 Million homes. VGL group also offers its products through the web in the US and the UK .

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