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OPINION: Systems integration in a fast-paced media world

Traditional broadcasting has proved its ability not just to survive competition from the internet but to embrace it, says Russell Peirson-Hagger, MD, ATG Danmon

The broadcast media business is a fast-paced technological environment and we are very sensitive of the need to provide our customers with the latest technology. As a systems integrator, we need to ensure we are tuned to new developments and ready to act on those which deliver real operational or economic advantages. Our customers rely on us to make the right technological choices for them in order to gain maximum benefit from their investment.

At least as significant as the introduction of 4K, and even 8K, over the next few years will be the increasing use of Internet Protocol across areas of broadcast infrastructure that are currently dominated by SDI.

We maintain an ongoing dialogue both with suppliers and customers. One factor emerging from these discussions is the realisation that IP-based systems will not necessarily be more cost-efficient than their SDI equivalents.

IP clearly has some benefits on offer but there are still plenty of reasons why we will see the continued use of SDI for the foreseeable future. Rather than IP completely replacing SDI, it is evident that a hybrid approach will offer the best of both technologies.

The majority of broadcast systems integration projects we are currently delivering continue to be predominantly focused on HD. In recent months these have included the expansion of the playout facility for the Stockholm headquarters of Ericsson Broadcast Services, a quality-control system for one of Europe’s largest state broadcasters and a 50-channel broadcast media compliance system for a Middle East transmission service authority.

In the UK, we have provided transcoding and file-delivery resources for Arqiva and a number of companies in the post production sector. We also recently completed the second of two projects at the London studios of Trinity Broadcasting Network. Equipment supplied and integrated included a four-channel ingest and playout server with storage, router control, video waveform rasteriser, picture monitors plus audio equipment.

Product choice was a combination of client specification and our own recommendation. We were asked to work to a specific timescale and everything went to plan, with the complete system fully tested and commissioned on schedule.

Traditional broadcasting has proved its ability not just to survive competition from the internet but to embrace it. Many channels now offer catch-up television services as a routine element of their activity, along with web-based news, programme guides and over-the-top supplementary programme feeds.

A key element of our role as a systems integrator is to support our customers with these new delivery options and to ensure they can operate as efficiently as possible in an industry which demands high productivity as well as creative efficiency.

Whether your projects relate to studios, post production, content management, playout, transmission, or any other aspect of the media business, we can turn ideas into reality.