Lawo Commentary Unit

Claiming a ‘world first’, the Lawo Commentary Unit (LCU) has been co-developed by Lawo and Host Broadcast Services (HBS), a Swiss company specialising in producing multilateral video and audio feeds for TV and radio from world-class international sports events. The fully digital system is based on the Ravenna Audio-over-IP networking protocol, which allows the use of standard IP networks for interconnecting venues and devices, resulting in significant savings in cabling and increased system flexibility.

‘Good commentary plays a key role in the success of global events. The Lawo Commentary solution was developed in the very best interest of the Rights Holding Broadcasters of these events’, says HBO CTS, Jörg Sander.

The LCU is designed to be easy-to-use for commentators, ‘freeing them to focus on their tasks rather than managing the technology’. It provides an intuitive user interface for up to three commentators per LCU; Lawo mic preamps and uncompressed real-time Audio-over-IP (24 bit/48kHz). All activity is indicated in a backlit LCD, showing each control’s label and its current setting. The unit also features three coordination lines, again with individual volume and pan settings. A Help key completes the user interface, giving fast access to a support engineer. For emergency operation, the device provides an analogue Mix Out and an analogue input to feed the headphone monitor mix. The Aux In can also be used to feed external sources (such as audio recorders) locally to the LCU.

The LCU is complemented by the Lawo Commentary Control Software, which replaces the commentary control units usually associated with two-part commentary systems, providing an integrated user interface to operate a complete commentary installation. The software is optimised for touchscreen operation, offering support for up to 20 commentators per screen. It shows the real-time status of all connected devices and manages all LCUs within the network, as well as the system’s Dallis frame – Lawo’s modular I/O system for interfacing the commentary installation to the outside world. The software also allows a support engineer to listen to any signal of any LCU, while its remote control facilities mean that most help requests can be resolved with a mouse-click.


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