Big Centre TV (BCTV), Birmingham’s new local TV station, has gone live with a combination of aQ Broadcast’s QNews newsroom system, aVS video server and aPS production suite.
BCTV is licenced for Birmingham, the Black Country, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Available from the Sutton Coldfield and Brierley Hill transmitters on Freeview Channel 8, and shortly also to be on Virgin Media cable, the new station covers an area that includes approximately 1.2 million homes.
BCTV’s licence is the second-largest after that held by London Live and was awarded by UK communications regulator Ofcom to Kaleidoscope TV, the holding company for Big Centre TV. The license was awarded on the condition that the new channel would be on-air by 28 February 2015, and at the time the license was granted, it had no staff, no office or studio space, and no technology in place. Drawing on its experience of getting previous Local TV projects such as Mustard TV and Latest TV on air, plus other work with small-scale and tightly-integrated operations, aQ Broadcast was able to deliver and install BCTV’s system three weeks before the on-air date.
aQ Broadcast designed, developed and installed a complete solution for BCTV that allows for all aspects of the channel’s operation, including shared media storage for all users and programme teams, ingest and playout ports for news and transmission operations, newsroom computer system scripting and rundown handling, automation for news playout, video and audio handling for the production studio, file processing and upload handling for delivery to Comux (the operators of the digital transmission infrastructure for the LTV licence holders) and hardware down-conversion for the station’s ultimate SD output.
“We were the single supplier for all of the video and network infrastructure involved in the project, including PC server and workstation hardware, network switches and hubs, video routing, teleprompter hardware, ingest VTR, off-air receiver and monitoring,” said aQ Broadcast MD Neil Hutchins. “This meant that we could build and test much of the system before delivery in fact the majority of the system is housed in a single 18U wheeled rack, which was prepared off-site in advance and simply rolled into position. This approach ensured that a reliable solution could be installed extremely quickly.”
BCTV channel director Chris Perry added, "aQ has been involved with launching several local TV stations and they were an obvious first choice to design and build our infrastructure. The training and on-site support has been tremendous. It's no exaggeration to say that they are key technology partners of Kaleidoscope TV moving forward as we build and equip more studios."