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TV Globo Taps Imagine Communications for Next-Gen Facility Upgrade

CALA broadcast giant opts for IP routing at core of recently opened facility in Northeast Brazil.

Imagine Communications has supplied the key components of a studio transfer and modernization project at the Recife facility of TV Globo, one of the largest broadcasters in Latin America.

The new hybrid SDI-IP facility, which is anchored by IP-capable processing, monitoring and control solutions from Imagine Communications, is designed to assist TV Globo in long-term cost reduction, minimizing operational complexity and helping the company to keep pace with evolving market demands through the easy integration of future standards and technology upgrades.

The requirement to move operations to a new facility in Rua da Aurora, Brazil, opened up the opportunity for TV Globo to take the first steps toward transitioning its broadcast centers from SDI to IP. By shifting the core of the new infrastructure from baseband routers to standard Ethernet switches from Cisco Systems, and surrounding those switches with SDI-to-IP gateways from Imagine, TV Globo was able to make the move to IP while still preserving the original SDI endpoints (cameras, processors, etc.).

“Although the project was approved way before the new IP open standards release date, it was clear that we didn’t want to build the new infrastructure on a baseband foundation and that it made sense to take advantage of some of the efficiencies of IP in conjunction with the move,” said Thiago Abreu, Project Manager at TV Globo. “The result is a hybrid facility with IP at its core — an approach that enables us to futureproof our network while at the same time support an incremental and self-paced migration to an all-IP future.” The first set of SMPTE ST 2110 standards was ratified in September 2017.

At the heart of the new hybrid facility are Imagine’s processing, monitoring and control solutions. TV Globo is using the Selenio™ MCP3 equipped with Uncompressed Over IP (UCIP) modules to provide SDI/IP on- and off-ramps to the Cisco switches, which support both 10Gb and 100Gb ports using a leaf-spine configuration. The Selenio MCP3 modules act as SDI/IP gateways, enabling TV Globo to preserve the existing SDI infrastructure on the edge of the network and saving the broadcaster the expense of making a wholesale replacement of its infrastructure. TV Globo’s staff is further shielded from operational disruption though the installation of Imagine’s Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator, a management platform that masks the underlying complexity of IP and hybrid routing by simultaneously controlling both SDI and IP domains.

The installation also included Imagine’s EPIC™ MV, the industry’s only mixed signal SDI-IP multiviewer. In addition to enabling TV Globo to monitor its hybrid infrastructure with a single multiviewer solution, the UHD-ready EPIC MV positions TV Globo to migrate toward UHD and other picture-quality enhancements as soon as market conditions dictate.

The network conforms to SMPTE ST 2022 standards for SDI over IP, which were widely deployed when the project was started a few years ago, as well as technical recommendations from the Video Services Forum (VSF) that allow audio to be handled separately from the video and data streams. The UCIP cards within the Selenio MCP3 provide the SDI-to-AES67 conversion of audio. These same SMPTE ST 2022 and VSF standards formed the basis for the recently ratified SMPTE ST 2110 standards, allowing TV Globo to migrate to the latest IP transport standards though simple software upgrades.

Imagine Communications’ early recognition of the importance of standards played a major role in the selection process. At the time of the initial deployment, Imagine was a vocal supporter of industry standards, in contrast to other technology suppliers still pushing proprietary solutions.

“Imagine recognized from the start that adherence to widespread interoperability for next-gen architectures was vital to the best interests of our customers in Latin America — and around the world,” said Leonardo Emilio Gañán, Vice President of CALA, Imagine Communications. “The work we’re doing with an established industry leader in TV Globo is validating that approach. The company is now positioned to provide its audience with the best television experience available and eventually interconnect its remaining facilities through an IP fabric that will deliver unprecedented agility and flexibility.”

According to Abreu, TV Globo is already realizing substantial benefits from the decision to deploy IP at the core of its new facility. The new Recife broadcast center began operations in early 2018.

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