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Italy’s Serie A employs IP in new broadcast centre

Imagine IP infrastructure helps deliver improvements in efficiency and picture quality, including up-, down- and cross-conversion between HD/UHD and SDR/HDR formats

Italian communications and broadcast transmission specialist EI Towers has built its new International Broadcast Centre for Italian football league Serie A on next-generation IP technology from Imagine Communications.

The new hub provides centralised contribution and distribution of audio, video and data in Italy and around the world for broadcasters and rights holders.

Located in Lissone, north of Milan, the IBC collects 12 primary signals and 12 backups, from each stadium in the country for all matches in Serie A TIM, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa.

Graphics, replays and branding are added at the IBC before being distributed via fibre links to Italian broadcasters. EI Towers also provides international feeds, with commentary in English and Italian, as well as with Arabic language for international satellite and fibre distribution to all rights holders spread all over the world.

To support the varying facilities at each stadium and the requirements for international and multiplatform distribution from the new IBC, EI Towers selected Imagine’s Selenio Network Processor to (SBP) support legacy SDI content and IP signal processing using both SMPTE ST 2022-6 and ST 2110.

Imagine Communications’ Magellan Control System

SNP also supports 4K UHD and HDR, as well as 3G-SDI (1080p50), and delivers content in different frame rates to meet the needs of international customers, said Imagine.

The 1RU SNP is able to handle conversions between ST 2110 and SDI, including 12G SDI as required; up-, down- and cross-conversion between HD/UHD and SDR/HDR formats; and automatic changeovers to maintain a consistent on-air output. SNP also offers a low-latency, HDR-capable production multiviewer personality, SNP-MV, which enables content from different video formats and HDR systems to be integrated into a consistent display environment, added the company.

Fabrizio Falcini, head of systems engineering at EI Towers, said, “Imagine Communications has provided us with signal routing and management for some time, but their Selenio Network Processor delivers a whole new level of elasticity and scalability that we needed to meet the complex requirements of EI Towers’ mission-critical sports content.

“Imagine demonstrated to us that we would be able to reliably manage complex routing and workflows and efficiently meet all our operational requirements — without costly over-provisioning of equipment today and into the future.”