The European Central Bank selects BCE for advanced live streaming

Following a European Invitation to tender, the European Central Bank selected BCE for handling the webcasting of live and on-demand monetary policy decisions press conferences.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro. The ECB was looking for a video partner to ensure the coverage of the Governing Council press conferences and other event webcasts.
BCE was selected for its advanced webcasting platform allowing content reception, transcoding, packaging and worldwide distribution.

 

This project benefits from the recent acquisition of Freecaster, combining expertise and know-how of both companies to perfectly answer the needs of the ECB.

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Connected to RTL City, its headquarters, via dark fibre, the teleport of BCE will ensure the downlink of the ECB production feeds. With its advanced IP-based infrastructure, BCE can transcode the live content and repackage the streams. BCE’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) will then ensure the worldwide stream distribution.

“For this project, BCE will rely on three pillars, its teleport, allowing content reception from anywhere in the world, its 1000 square meters datacenter with IP connectivity and transcoding platforms and its CDN with a worldwide connectivity,” explains Baptiste Fosséprez, Products & Services Development Director at BCE. “The software technology layer will be a mix between BCE’s existing streaming solutions and Freecaster advanced solutions.”

The live streaming expertise of Freecaster grants access to new solutions such as an advanced video player. Besides the stability of the player and its classical features such as adaptive streaming and multiplatform compatibility, the system will be completely customized to ECB’s needs and will integrate a video teaser with a countdown before broadcasting and multilingual selection during the live stream.

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The videos will be distributed as live stream and as Video on Demand (VoD) on the ECB website as well as on social networks including Periscope, Twitter and YouTube. The live stream workflow will be monitored from BCE’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) during each production and the ECB will have access to advanced statistics tools to both measure the audience and monitor the quality of service.

“Acquiring Freecaster was part of BCE strategy to develop its Total Video offer. The ECB project reflects perfectly the new dual expertise of BCE (linear and non-linear), with the combination of live broadcast and a VoD portal.” Concludes Frederic Lemaire, CEO at BCE.

Leighton Broadcasting Streamlines Audio over IP Transport with GatesAir Intraplex Ascent

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, announces that Leighton Broadcasting—a St. Cloud, Minnesota-based radio station group—has replaced hardware-based, point-to-point IP STL systems with its software-defined Intraplex Ascent Audio over IP transport platform. The project represents the first commercial implementation of Intraplex Ascent for software-based transport, as well as the industry’s first application of Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) for broadcast audio streams.

Intraplex Ascent delivers several immediate and long-term benefits for Leighton Broadcasting. The architecture leverages common off-the-shelf servers at aggregate studio and transmitter sites, consolidating the transport of audio and program-associated data over IP for five radio stations serving the St. Cloud market (KCLD-FM, KCML-FM and KZPK-FM, plus two FM translator signals).

The SRT application strengthens reliability and security as a low-latency open source media streaming protocol that provides packet encryption and re-transmission capabilities, along with browser-based monitoring and control tools. Intraplex Ascent’s built-in Dynamic Stream Splicing (DSS) application further protects each station’s signal integrity by diversifying SRT data across redundant networks.

Intraplex Ascent reduces cost and complexity for Leighton Broadcasting by eliminating five separate hardware codecs at the receive end to serve five distinct transmitters. Ascent’s high-capacity configuration will support up to 16 distinct audio programs in one rack unit, providing plenty of room for additional Leighton Broadcasting stations moving forward.

“The scalable nature of the Ascent architecture gives us the flexibility to first simplify program transport for our St. Cloud stations, and gradually transition our entire group of stations across Minnesota and North Dakota as we see fit,” said Tony Absalter, Director of Engineering for Leighton Broadcasting. “The ability to control and monitor Audio over IP transport for multiple stations at once from a centralized hub is one of Ascent’s greatest attributes. We also appreciate that we can configure the system to send signals to our main and auxiliary transmitter sites, as well as to boosters and/or translators, with the ability to re-route signals on short notice.”

 

“GatesAir has long taken an aggressive approach to migrating broadcasters to IP networks for program audio and data transport, consistently bringing new innovations to market that help our customers lower costs, streamline connectivity and add services,” said Keyur Parikh, Vice President and General Manager, Intraplex Product Group for GatesAir. “Intraplex Ascent amplifies these benefits by providing a quicker path to all three, without the need to buy new hardware as each new radio station is added.”

Over IP and higher education

While « Over IP » is the new trend on the media technology market, the number of companies adopting this technology evolves sluggishly. Following the latest IBC, the technology is clearly there, but there is a lack of knowledge on the system integrator side to provide both IT and Broadcast expertise in environments with are evolving towards the perfect blend of both technologies.

Two years ago, Broadcasting Center Europe set the ball rolling, with the first over IP headquarters including the broadcast centre, the production and postproduction platforms as well as the ingest and news workflows.

IP-based platforms allow us to rapidly setup new channels,” comments Costas Colombus, Technology Projects & Support Director at BCE. “Whereas it is for continuous or ephemeral channels, we are able to give a fast answer and start broadcasting the content worldwide.”

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Playout over IP at Broadcasting Center Europe

“We recognized a strong consumer demand for pristine content but need to also provide for that demand in the most cost-effective and efficient manner,” said Julian Ankiah, Head of Technology Engineering at MultiChoice Support Services. “We needed to take advantage of the benefits of IP signal reticulation, while ensuring tight integration with our existing platforms, and particularly our business services.”

Multichoice moved to an IP playout platform thanks to Imagine Communications, Megahertz started to work with major US broadcasters for the implementation and tests of IP, CCTV renovated its platforms with NDT and RadioFr and La Télé, both swiss private broadcasters, upgraded to an all IP broadcast centre with SLG Broadcast AG.

“MEDIAParc is the first all-IP mediahouse in Switzerland, and as such it represents the successful realisation of an ambitious vision encompassing cross-media workflows,” said Marc Straehl, CEO of SLG Broadcast AG. “RadioFr wanted all-IP infrastructure for both radio and TV sides of the house. They wanted to virtualise the production environment, so that editorial PCs could contribute programming directly via the network.”

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Studio at RadioFr

What about audiovisual education and high schools? It is paramount to make the roots evolve as soon as possible, in order to have qualified employees in our next generation media companies. Of course, it is part of our job to train the actual staff to meet the new technology, but it would be much more effective to change the student curriculum and include immediately over IP knowledge.

Recently the BTS Audiovisual Henri Martin, in the City of Saint-Quentin in France, decided to upgrade to IP SMPTE-2110 its infrastructure. The school decided to keep both SDI and IP technologies, in order to be sure that their students will be well prepared for any type of infrastructure. The choice is quite smart, since there is still a lot of media players that are not equipped with this technology, but it will be an undeniable asset for the companies to have employees which can evolve easily with future upgrades.

Jacques Tabary, the headmaster of Henri Martin High School told us that they were looking forward to evolving to IP for a long time but that they did not know themselves how to start such a transition. To do so they were helped by Boite à Outils Broadcast which helped them draft a specification and publish a tender. Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) was selected and worked hand in hand with the teachers and the students to answer all their needs in technology and training.

“We have fifteen teachers on the technical part at the BTS. You must rely on teachers who have been able to take this type of training, but also on professionals – for example we have a chief editor who comes from Canal+. As part of this project, we had not sized the importance of training on the hardware and related new technologies such as IP. BCE has trained our teachers so that they can acquire the skills necessary to use the equipment,” comments Jacques Tabary.

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Production control room over IP at the BTS Henri Martin

A few weeks ago, we heard that Orange Business Services, a network operator and a digital services integrator teamed up with BCE for the Radio France project. The massive French radio group has announced that it will transform the media infrastructure of its headquarters, Maison de la Radio, to next generation, full IP technology.

“The combined expertise of Orange Business Services and BCE, complemented by the professionalism of Maison de la Radio’s project teams, will allow us to innovate and facilitate the production and broadcast of programs while meeting the highest standards required by the media sector,” comments Patrick Fasso, Technical and Information Systems Director at Radio France.

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Radio France headquarters

Embrionix Enables High-Density J2K IP Processing With Miniaturized emSFP

At IBC2019, stand 8.B37, Embrionix will unveil a miniaturized J2K IP processing emSFP™ equipped with two J2K encoders and two J2K decoders. The new emSFP allows users to create a direct path from J2K to SMPTE ST 2110 for contribution feeds. By eliminating the need to convert incoming signals first to SDI and then to SMPTE ST 2110, the gateway empowers users to streamline signal flow in remote production applications while saving on power, space, and equipment costs.

“Our newest emSFP offers many benefits, ranging from J2K encoding/decoding capabilities to an innovative and incredibly compact SFP-based design,” said Renaud Lavoie, Embrionix president. “We look forward to showcasing this exciting new functionality at IBC2019, and we’re confident that visitors at our stand will quickly see the tremendous value it brings to handling J2K feeds.”

As with earlier additions to the emSFP product line, the emSFP with J2K-to-SMPTE ST 2110 functionality is based on a small form factor (SFP+) that can either be installed inside a standard 10GE or 25GE IP switch, inside third-party cages or inside the company’s emVIRTU all-IP processing platform. The software-defined emSFP can accept up to two independent J2K contribution feeds (in the format ST 2022-1/2, VSF TR-01) and run SMPTE ST 2110 encapsulation. The module features an extended buffer — up to 2 seconds per J2K feed — to support WAN applications. Fully COTS-oriented, it plugs quickly and easily into a switch for hassle-free installation.

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Radio France transforms Maison de la Radio with next generation IP technology with Orange Business Services and BCE

Following a public tender, this project was entrusted to Orange Business Services, a global digital services operator and integrator, and to BCE, a European expert in media services, and is the largest of its kind in the European media sector to date. The migration to the latest generation of IP infrastructure is key to facilitate the development of audiovisual broadcasting and production tools. This project is part of Radio France’s ambition to invest heavily to modernize its production and broadcasting tools for all radio and radio-related content by 2022.

The transformation program led by Orange Business Services and BCE involves the infrastructure of all Maison de la Radio’s studios. The new audiovisual production facilities will rely on a robust, next generation IP infrastructure based on Cisco technology for the transport and broadcast of voice and video.

“The combined expertise of Orange Business Services and BCE, complemented by the professionalism of Maison de la Radio’s project teams, will allow us to innovate and facilitate the production and broadcast of programs while meeting the highest standards required by the media sector,” comments Patrick Fasso, Technical and Information Systems Director at Radio France.

To ensure perfect convergence of the IT and media broadcast worlds, Radio France’s project teams are supported by Orange Business Services, the market leader for solution integration. Orange Business Services will ensure that all of Radio France’s needs are met, including mastering its next generation tools. The SMPTE 2110 standard, a specific protocol for the media industry, has been retained.

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Radio France / Christophe Abramowitz

Radio France’s teams are supported by BCE France because of its recognized expertise in the customized integration of media ecosystems, apparent at many European radio and television stations. BCE has in-depth knowledge of the sector and the needs of the media, and is a master of IP workflow infrastructures which it has demonstrated to Radio France in the past, for example, during the transition of France Info to the Maison de la Radio premises.

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Just Add Power Introduces New Instant Install Application

Just Add Power (J+P), a leader in Ultra HD over IP video distribution, announced today that the company has expanded its Just OS firmware ecosystem with the addition of the Instant Install application. Making its debut in booth 1817 at CEDIA Expo 2019, the application provides fast auto configuration for any gigabit switch.

With the Instant Install app, installers can easily incorporate any gigabit switch that supports jumbo frames — managed or not — into their J+P matrix. They simply connect their devices anywhere on the switch and click a single button, and their devices are found and configured, and a driver is built — all in less than two minutes.

“Installers have been asking for an app that would take the guesswork out of any project, and we’re proud to announce that it’s here,” said Taft Stricklin, sales team manager for J+P. “With the Instant Install app, one click is all that’s needed to configure all the devices connected to the gigabit switch. A few lucky integrators have already seen it in action, and they’ve been blown away by its speed and reliability.”

In addition to the Instant Install app, the Just OS ecosystem comprises J+P’s Plug-Play-Present logic control for intuitive and reliable connection and switching of sources; the Switch Please web application for matrix switching of any J+P device from any web browser; and the Every Switch Supported firmware, which allows integrators to build any size 4K matrix on an existing network without having to change switches.

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HUBER+SUHNER launches optical switching system for improved transmission performance at IBC 2019

With combined expertise in radio frequency and fiber optics, HUBER+SUHNER offers comprehensive customised solutions for broadcasters around the globe. The latest innovations from HUBER+SUHNER include Polatis optical switches in the broadcast environment, combined with further capabilities as fiber optics and RF-over-fiber (RFoF) systems to reliably transfer high volumes of data. The HUBER+SUHNER broadcast portfolio ensures high-quality performance, reliability and longevity to provide broadcast operators with a complete package to address the increasing industry demands.

“With the advance of IP video and the increasing video resolution like 4K, 8K and beyond, among other challenges, we understand that a high-performing fiber system is crucial to broadcast performance,” says Giovana Labegalini, Application Engineer at HUBER+SUHNER. “Working with the HUBER+SUHNER team, our broadcast customers benefit from our expertise in integrating both fiber optic and radio frequency technologies to offer a holistic and customisable approach for their individual broadcast needs.”

With vast amounts of data to be transferred, the performance of optical systems has to be heavily relied on to ensure high-quality signal transportation every time. In indoor and outdoor environments, HUBER+SUHNER cables and components are resilient and can withstand many environmental conditions to transmit the necessary high-quality signals.

For critical broadcast performance such as live transmissions, it is key to transfer data signals with reliability and flexibility. Attendees at IBC 2019 will be able to witness the innovation of the broadcast portfolio first-hand with a live demonstration of the HUBER+SUHNER Polatis Optical Switches. Our switches provide fiber layer automation and management of high-bandwidth audio, video and data signals for broadcast, post production, and outside broadcast applications with the ability to add further functionality according to the customer needs, such as Optical Power Monitors for monitoring signal power levels, Automatic Protection Switching to avoid equipment failure in case of fiber breaks and Variable Optical Attenuation for attenuating system power levels.

With the many fiber optic cables needed to manage large volumes of data, an effective fiber management system is critical to broadcast performance. HUBER+SUHNER fiber management systems simplify the challenge of managing cables. Comprising of LISA cross connect systems and IANOS® systems the management systems support high density connectivity, modularity and the appropriate cable handling. The systems enable fiber to seamlessly combine data rates from 1G to 400G, tailored to each broadcaster’s needs with a pay-as-you-grow flexible approach.

“HUBER+SUHNER has been providing solutions to the broadcast industry for a number of years and over this time we have come to understand the ever-increasing demands and challenges our customers have to face,” added Labegalini. “We are excited to provide broadcast operators with a complete package to address these challenges and look forward to showcasing them at IBC.”

Attendees of IBC 2019 (Hall 5, B14) can watch the complete HUBER+SUHNER broadcast portfolio in a life demonstration during the event.

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