The Teradek Spark 4K is a wireless transmitter with near zero-delay, high quality transmission. Spark 4K was made to simplify A/V workflows by helping you cut the cable and eliminate the need for hundreds of feet of HDMI cable while transmitting video for presentations, live events, and more.
Spark 4K was made with minimal complexities, and an easy set up that includes built-in automatic channel selection for the best frequency. But in order to make the most out of your Spark 4K, we wanted to share our top seven best practices to help you get the cleanest and most stable signals without dropouts for all of your wireless video transmission needs.
1. Plan Ahead!
As usual with anything, planning makes perfect, and we don’t need to remind you that pre-production is crucial. With Launchpad – Spark 4K’s free mobile and desktop app – you can easily find your signal range map before production starts and avoid that signal drop. Know the limits of how far you can go without breaking the connection and easily monitor and configure your Spark system at your fingertips.
Launchpad allows you to:
- View detailed statistics of signal strength, frequency, range, and more
- Move around with your transmitter to find the signal boundaries before production begins (view tutorial here)
- Pair and unpair transmitters and receivers
- Customize the names of your Spark 4K devices
- Update firmware to continuously enhance product performance
Download Launchpad on iOS or Android to plan ahead for better streams!
2. Give it Some Space
Keep your Spark 4K transmitters and receivers at least six feet away from each other, as well as from other wireless transmitters and receivers.
This is important even if the other wireless systems are on different frequencies.
Wireless video uses powerful signals, which means that having two wireless video devices in close proximity to each other can cause interference. While it would be common to use multiple Spark 4Ks at the same time and near each other, interference due to inadequate spacing can negatively impact performance.
3. Clear the Path
Make sure your Spark 4K transmitter and receiver are in direct line of sight of each other, without obstructions.
While ideal placements aren’t always possible, do your best to place Spark transmitter and receiver where there aren’t large objects, building structures, walls, or people in the line of sight. While 5Ghz technology offers the strongest signal when line of sight is clear, unlike a 60Ghz signal, 5Ghz still has the opportunity to reflect off surfaces, making it flexible even in an unideal scenario. Which leads to our next top best practice…
4. Keep it High
We recommend keeping the Spark 4K transmitter and receiver at least six feet off the ground for maximum wireless transmission and reception. This helps get the signal over most people and other physical obstructions that may cause video dropouts.
Mounting the Spark units on light stands with the help of the ¼-20 threads on both sides is a great way to achieve this. Additionally, although the Spark 4K receiver can be placed flat on a table in horizontal position, you wlil achieve better transmission results when the receiver is vertically mounted.
5. Keep the Airwaves Clean
To avoid any connection or signal stability issues, turn off all unnecessary wireless devices in the area. Having powerful wifi routers, cell phones, hot spots, cell towers, and power lines close by can cause a lot of radio noise and potentially lead to video signal dropouts.
Even rain may cause range loss or video dropouts, so be mindful of your location and weather conditions. This is why the Launchpad app is so useful for monitoring fluctuations in the video signal that are invisible to the human eye!
6. Don't Stray Too Far
While the Spark 4K can transmit video at up to 500ft of distance, pushing their distance to the maximum can make the connection more prone to interference if the conditions are not optimal.
If your video source and video destination are far away and you want to ensure signal strength and stability, consider running a longer HDMI cable from both source and destination to help position the transmitter and receiver closer together.
Mounting the Spark units on light stands and repositioning them with the help of a long HDMI cable can make the difference between experiencing video dropouts and a stable, constant video feed.
7. Keep it Cool
One of Spark’s great benefits is its compact size. It is meant to disappear and blend into its surroundings to be barely noticeable, with a small built-in fan to keep noise at a minimum.
This makes Spark 4Ks susceptible to getting hot while in use, and thus we recommend keeping the units uncovered in an open area. While the Spark 4K units are designed to dissipate heat and will not damage the product, be mindful when handling your Sparks near the metallic parts after an extended period of usage, for this is where the heat is most concentrated.
Following these best practices will help you get the most out of your Teradek Spark 4K. By planning ahead, keeping the units high with ample space between each other, turning off other unnecessary wireless devices, and not pushing your Spark’s range to its maximum limits – your Spark should be all set to transmit your next event with reduced interference and reduced signal drops.
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