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UK Parliament chooses Techex for Westminster system

Techex is to design, build and install a new annunciator TV head-end system across the UK’s Parliamentary Estate in Westminster

Techex is to design, build and install a new annunciator TV head-end system across the UK’s Parliamentary Estate in Westminster. The new system comprises encoding/decoding, multiplexing, logo and sound insertion, EPG aggregation, subtitle distribution, modulation and monitoring equipment. Seventy-five channels will be distributed to more than 2,500 receiver points across the Estate and 20 Government departments.

Division bells, used to call PMs to vote in Parliament, are required to be mixed with every channel whilst retaining all standard DVB-T features. The new platform will allow MPs and staff to watch live Chamber, Select Committee and devolved administration feeds, regional channels, and international news. The addition of live Select Committee channels is designed to enhance the scrutiny of government and proceedings by Members and officials, and is hoped to save time by officials across Whitehall not needing to travel to Committees that affect them. All services are delivered with accessibility and usability features where available, such as subtitles and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) data.

The platform includes Techex’s Spotlight software to provide on-site operators and Techex’s service centre with live telemetry data. Spotlight is a distributed monitoring service that collects data from a multitude of vendor devices and collates it in logical views, allowing operators to see the status of the network from one screen, and identify and remedy faults.

Richard Bailey, technical director, Techex said “The annunciator service plays an essential part in Parliament’s daily business, displaying the live, daily business of both Houses, showing the live Parliamentary proceedings and notifying members when a division is taking place. Techex is proud to be working with the Palace of Westminster in ensuring the continued supportability of this service.”

Both the old and new systems will be run in parallel for several months, and the full system is to be built and tested off-site before being re-constructed on-site by Techex.