Video / Hands-on Review

DSI RF NewsShark Portable New Transmission System


DSI NewsShark systems are portable transmission devices that attach easily to ENG (Electronic News Gathering) cameras and use the H.264 (MPEG4 AVC) video compression and ACC audio coding. Available in a combination of Wi-Fi and cellular transmission combinations, there is certain to be a DSI NewsShark that works ideally in your area, providing the best connectivity options for your particular local broadcast needs, while avoiding the type of RF inter-modulation distortion that often burdens multi-modem systems. NewsShark systems offer an ideal way to transmit real-time video and audio from the field to the studio without having to rely on satellites, cell phones or wired connections.

One of the advantages of using a Wi-Fi or 4G enabled NewsShark is the greater throughput and higher picture quality than a comparable 3G connection, though there are times, particularly when covering breaking news in a remote location, when 3G is ideal. To get the most out of your Wi-Fi connection, it’s recommended that you use a dedicated carrier or microwave Ethernet link with a static IP, which would provide more consistent connectivity and also allow you to have more control of your network configuration settings.

By using NewsShark you’ll have the ability to reach an area quickly and start covering breaking news while still setting up your main news truck. NewsSharks can also work while in motion, and can be set up virtually anywhere there is Wi-Fi or cellular service. Each NewsShark encoder has a 3 dBi gain antenna and a 6100 mAh battery. The encoder can be powered by the camera’s external battery or a 12-36 volt DC power source.

Overview of How the NewsShark Works in the Field

The DSI NewsShark can be factory-configured to be mounted directly on your ENG camera with either a standard mount or V-mount, or it can be carried with a shoulder strap. The NewsShark weights just 2.5 pounds and is a compact 4.25 x 7.5 x 4.75 inches (W x H x D) in size. The NewsShark’s controls, display and connectors are easy to access when the camera is mounted, and the encoder itself won’t add a lot of bulk to your camera or throw off its balance.

Depending on what you’re looking for, you can choose from among 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi enabled encoders that are designed to work with wireless networks from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon or Wi-Fi. DSI offers their encoders in a wide variety of configurations, from units that work with just Wi-Fi to models that support single or multiple wireless cellular networks.

Communication between the NewsShark encoder and decoder is seamless, with the decoder automatically "pinging" the decoder to see if it is available on the same IP address. Configuring the decoder simply requires setting the IP address, net mask and gateway.

When using the NewsShark encoder on the field there’s also no worry about losing your network connection when you power down the camera or need to change the camera’s battery, since the NewsShark encoder is equipped with an internal Lithium-ion battery that can keep the encoder powered for up to five hours. NewsSharks systems also use DSI’s Robustivity technology to adjust image quality and compensate for varying bandwidth capacity over your dedicated network.

Choose an Analog or HD Decoder

Since DSI NewsSharks give you the option of using 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi technology, you also have the option of sending SD or HD feeds to your decoder. By using the NewsShark encoder and decoder with a 3G configuration, you’ll be able to take advantage of a variety of cellular options that may work better than Wi-Fi or 4G in remote locations, while also cutting down on the use of more costly satellite time. If, however, you broadcast in an area that has experienced the expansion of 4G cellular networks, you’ll also be able to use a 4G system to take advantage of that increased bandwidth by pairing a 4G encoder with the HD NewsShark decoder. If 4G is not available in your market, however, or if you get more coverage with 3G systems, or just want to keep costs down, you still have the option of pairing a 3G NewsShark encoder with the NewsShark Analog Decoder.

Regardless of whether you go with the HD or analog decoder, the NewsShark decoder is designed as a single RU system with similar controls and connectors to what you’ll find on the encoder. The decoders use common audio and video connectors, so you’ll never be stuck trying to source a specialized cable for your news broadcast. The decoders consume just 3 Watts and can be used with 12-36 volt DC power source. Either decoder takes just 50 seconds to boot up, and is equipped with illuminated push-button controls. The decoders also have adjustable IFB audio inputs and outputs for two-way communication with the camera operator and a one-way line to the on-site news reporter. A single RU NewsShark decoder can receive several NewsShark video transmissions (one at a time) via an Internet connection.

NewsSharks for 3G Wireless Networks

DSI NewsShark 3G SD encoders are available for Verizon, Sprint and AT&T cellular networks including options that combine transmissions via units equipped with two cellular networks, a network as well as Wi-Fi, or a cellular network and a modem. The SD units with two cellular networks are configured with 1-3G from both Verizon and Sprint, 1-3G from Verizon and AT&T and 1-3G from AT&T and Sprint. The NewsShark 3G SD encoders that use only one cellular carrier combined with Wi-Fi include: 1-3G Verizon and Wi-Fi, 1-3G Sprint and Wi-Fi and 3G AT&T with Sprint Wi-Fi.

If you would prefer to use only one network with a modem combination for your SD news feed, you can also opt for a NewsShark SD Encoder that combines a cellular carrier with a modem, such as a Modem/Sprint unit or a similar unit with AT&T and a modem.

3G and 4G Combinations

In addition to the NewsShark encoders developed around 3G, you also have the option of a three units equipped with both 3G and 4G transmission services from difference providers. The combinations available include an encoder equipped with 1-3G Verizon and 1-4G Sprint, 1-3G Verizon with 1-4G AT&T, and 1-3G AT&T with 1-4G Sprint. These combinations of 3G and 4G cellular connections on a single unit could help you take more advantage of the types of wireless cellular options available in your area, freeing your news teams up to use 3G in more remote areas while switching to 4G for high-definition feeds when the expanded cellular network is available.

4G NewsShark Units

As with the 3G encoders, DSI offers their NewsShark SD in 4G models that offer a combination of two cellular carriers, a singular cellular provider with Wi-Fi capability, and models with a single cellular provider and modem functionality.

The 4G NewsSharks with multiple cellular providers includes units with 1-4G from Verizon and Sprint, 1-4G from Verizon and AT&T and 1-4G AT&T and Sprint. The 4G encoders with a singular cellular carrier and Wi-Fi are available with Verizon and Wi-Fi, Sprint and Wi-Fi and AT&T with Sprint Wi-Fi. Similarly, the modem combinations cover the big three cellular providers and are available in Sprint/Modem, AT&T/Modem and Verizon/Modem models.

Wi-Fi Modem NewsSharks

If you do not have need for a cellular connection, there is also a Wi-Fi modem NewsShark available as well. As with the other units equipped with Wi-Fi, using the Wi-Fi NewsShark requires a dedicated Wi-Fi LAN connection and should not be used on an open Wi-Fi network. By using a dedicated, closed system with a bit rate of up to 5.5 Mbps, it is possible to achieve broadcast quality full-size D1 images at 30 fps. It’s worth noting, however, that video quality transmitted through the Internet is subject to typical network connectivity issues such as packet loss and traffic congestion.

The rugged modem used in a NewsShark is FCC approved and compliant with the Federal Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). By having the NewsShark mounted on the back of the camera, with the antenna farther away from the camera operator, the system also helps reduce exposure to potentially harmful Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) levels.

  DSI RF Systems NewsShark Encoder DSI RF Systems NewsShark Decoder
Impedance 75 ohms 75 ohms (terminating)
Connector BNC female chassis BNC female chassis
Level Digital: 800 mV peak to peak / Analog: 1 V peak to peak Digital: 800 mV peak to peak / Analog: 1 V peak to peak
Program Audio Configuration Mono analog Mono analog
Program Input Level Switchable mic/line-in N/A
Program Output Level N/A  -10 to +4 dBu
Program Frequency Response 50 Hz to 7.5 kHz 50 Hz to 7.5 kHz
Program Connectors Neutrik combo XLR-F (balanced) or 1/4" phone (unbalanced) Phoenix captive
Line Levels Input: -10 to +4 dBu (bridging) / Output: -10 to +4 dBu (Lo-Z) Input: -10 to +4 dBu (bridging) / Output: -10 to +4 dBu (Lo-Z)
IFB Audio Configuration Mono analog Mono analog
IFB Audio Frequency Response 50 Hz to 7.5 kHz 50 Hz to 7.5 kHz
IFB Audio Connectors 1/8" (mini-plug) Phoenix captive
IFB Reporter Headphone only N/A
IFB Camera Operator Microphone & headphone N/A
Compression Protocol H.264 (MPEG4 AVC) with AAC audio coding H.264 (MPEG4 AVC) with AAC audio coding
Video Bit Rate Range 25 kbps to 1.1 Mbps (3G), 25 kbps to 5 Mbps (4G & WiFi) 25 kbps to 1.1 Mbps (3G), 25 kbps to 5 Mbps (4G & WiFi)
Audio Bit Rate Range 16 kbps per channel 16 kbps per channel
Overall Bit Rate Range 75 kbps to 5.5 Mbps 75 kbps to 5.5 Mbps
Video Frame Rate Range 1 to 30 fps 1 to 30 fps
Audio Sampling Rate 16 kHz 16 kHz
Resolution NTSC/525 variable/720p NTSC/525 variable/720p
Robustivity Presets User adjustable - from front panel User adjustable - from front panel
Latency (End to End) 1 to 4 seconds (subject to transmission conditions) 1 to 4 seconds (subject to transmission conditions)
Codec Settings Variable GOP & frame-rate (set by Robustivity) Variable GOP & frame-rate (set by Robustivity)
IP Protocols RTP, UDP, IPv4 N/A
FCC Compliance Part 15 compliant N/A
Antenna Type Low-profile gain antenna (vertically polarized) N/A
RF Impedance 50 ohms N/A
Gain 3 dBi N/A
Diversity Receive diversity available N/A
Diversity Connector SMA (female screw-on type) N/A
Network Requirements Most major US wireless providers N/A
Network Types EVDO, HSDPA+, 4G LTE, WiMax N/A
Wi-Fi Protocols 802.11 b/g/n N/A
FCC License No end-user license required N/A
Display Graphic backlit LCD - 0.77 x 1.28" (1.96 x 3.25 cm) 20 characters x 2 line backlit LCD
Item Select Illuminated push-button Illuminated push-button
Status Indicators Multi-function LCD & status LEDs Multi-function LCD & status LEDs
Menu Select Digital rotary encoder Digital rotary encoder
IFB Volume Individual controls for both camera operator & talent N/A
Headphone Control N/A Front panel volume control
Headphone Connector N/A Front panel 1/4" headphone jack
Power Voltage 120V AC 12 to 36V DC
Power Consumption 3W 3W
Power Connectors Coaxial (screw-on type) Coaxial (screw-on type), phoenix captive
Power On/Off 5 seconds (on/off push-button) 5 seconds (on/off push-button)
Boot-Up Period 50 seconds 50 seconds
Internal Battery Lithium-ion N/A
Typical Run Time Approx. 3 hours N/A
Configurations / Mounting Camera-back style (industry standard battery mount) 1RU rack mount
Material / Finish Powder coated aluminum & protective urethane sides Powder coated aluminum
Environmental Durability Weathertight with recessed connector protection N/A
Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.25 x 7.5 x 4.75" (10.8 x 19.1 x 12.1 cm) 19.0 x 1.75 x 8.75" (48.3 x 4.45 x 22.2 cm)
Weight 2.5 lb (1.13 kg) N/A

Discussion 1

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I saw this article on your site about the News Shark by DSI.

I happen to own a News Shark by DSI.  Unfortunately I haven't had it in my posession for almost a year.  

When I did have it, it never worked for longer than a couple seconds then it would either go out of a/v sync or freeze.

When we initailly told DSI that the unit wasn't working they way they claimed, they had their "engineers" come down, on our dime, for 2 days to try and figure out what the problem was. 

That was last winter.  Since then, one of the "engineers" has left the company.  So they have had our unit that we paid ten of thousands of dollars for.  We keep asking when they will have it fixed.  They keep saying "next week, next month, we are testing it in the field"...etc...

So my question to B & H is why would you put your reputation on the line by writing this article and selling this product?  Did you guys even test it out first?

I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't respond back, again, because I did email you guys a couple months ago in which I never heard a reply.

Thanks for your time.